Rope-O’Matic Kickstarter closing soon

Last chance to get your hands on a laser cut rope braiding machine

When we first came across an earlier version of this laser cut mechanical marvel, it had our heads in quite a spin. The 21st century makeover of an 1890’s industrial artefact is a fantastic example of how laser cutting can enable accessibility to broader technological possibilities.

Ever true to his word, David from Mixed Media Engineering has refined the design and launched a Kickstarter campaign for what is now known as the Rope-O’Matic.

With a diverse range of applications it is hardly surprising that this very unique laser cut product has eclipsed its modest campaign funding goal.

Check it out before you miss your chance… don’t tie yourself in knots, there are only a few days left to secure yourself one of these novel devices.

Rope-O’Matic via Kickstarter

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How to etch mirror acrylic

Laser etched impact made easy

As the Festive Season approaches and we become more and more enamoured with all things shiny, here are our tips on how to use laser etching for some serious impact on mirror acrylic.

People love the combination of crisp laser definition with the reflective sheen of mirror acrylic, and to create these effects there are a few key points to remember. The main one is that you’re not etching into the surface of the acrylic, but rather through the reflective coating on the rear of the material.

Another tip that may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often it can sneak up on you – remember to reverse the artwork so that it reads correctly when viewed from the other side of the sheet.

For an informative collection of examples including vector and raster engraving, as well as different approaches to filling the etched designs, head over to the Ponoko Support Forums for the full scoop.

Ponoko presents: Laser Etched Mirror Acrylic

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Laser Cut Portable Chair

Put your tired legs up and relax in style

For Kyoto Institute of Technology student Ryo Kosaka, every leisurely bike ride should finish up with a relaxing cup of coffee. And what better way to put your feet up, than to bring along your own portable chair?

The laser cut plywood chair disassembles, with all the structural elements – including a bonus side table – neatly tucking away inside the seating surface for storage on a bike. Assembly instructions are etched onto the underside, making it quick and easy to pop together when you need to rest your legs and take in the view.

Click through for a neat little clip of the chair components being laser cut, and then put to good use out in the countryside.   (more…)

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How to make a laser cut greeting card

Send your loved ones a card they will genuinely cherish

The pleasure of giving a custom greeting card is something many of us lose touch with beyond our pre-school years, but it needn’t be that way and Ponoko is here to help mark those special moments.

This informative post from the Ponoko Support Forums walks through two examples of laser cut greeting cards, and adds further inspiration on ways to make the most of the cost effective (and also quite versatile) options for laser cut card in the Ponoko Materials Library.

With Ponoko’s last-chance holiday deadline almost upon us, there is still enough time to dazzle your loved ones with a laser cut masterpiece.

Remember the all-important first step of doing some ‘free prototyping’ at home by printing your design out at 1:1 scale. If it all looks right, then fire up your Personal Factory and send through a file for laser cutting before it’s too late!

via Ponoko Support Forums: How To Make A Laser Cut Greeting Card

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Laser Etched Thanksgiving

Pumpkin pie becomes a tasty canvas for the Holidays

Bringing back a little history to the Thanksgiving celebration table, the guys at Quirky used their festive pumpkin pie as a canvas for a laser etched replica of the Mayflower.

“This Thanksgiving, we’re thankful for pumpkin pie. We’re also thankful for the laser-cutting machine we used to burn the image of the Mayflower into our pumpkin pie.”

It’s educational, it’s artistic, and we assume it was also delicious.

For those of us who don’t have a laser cutter in the kitchen, consider this other option that can create a similar outcome. Fire up your Ponoko Personal Factory to laser cut a holiday-themed design from cardstock or acrylic, then use it as a stencil. Sprinkle over some sugar, chocolate, or perhaps sesame seeds to turn your own pie into a conversation piece that your guests will remember for more than just its flavor.

via Gizmodo

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Laser Cut Terrarium inhabitants

Miniature wooden forest creatures liven up tiny landscapes

With the holiday season fast approaching and Ponoko’s laser cutting deadlines closing even faster, here is a very cute gift idea that can be whipped together quite quickly.

Terrariums have a whimsical otherwordly feel to them, whether they are dangling in antique glassware at your local hipster café or nestled in the corner the Science lab at school. Instructables user Jodi Lynns posted a tutorial on how to make mini terrariums complete with teeny little laser cut critters that help give a new narrative to these snapshots of the natural world.

The Instructable starts off with handy advice on how to prepare and maintain the terrarium itself, which can be quite useful if you’ve never done this kind of thing before. Laser cutting the forest creatures is a straightforward process – source images, create the simple vector artwork for laser cutting and then turn that patch of nature into a living storybook.

via Instructables

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Mobile laser cut planter chases the Sun

Turning your house plants into autonomous cyborgs

For many people, keeping indoor plants happy is a task they just can’t get their heads around. The mysterious fine line between care and over-indulgence; occasional attention and neglect… the simple truth is that we don’t all have a green thumb.

With this laser cut arduino-driven project from Instructables user 10DotMatrix, some of the guess work is taken care of. An array of solar panels mounted on 3D printed brackets track the direction and strength of the sun, and then navigate the unit into the optimal position for maximum sun exposure.

Combine this with the clever Plant Friends moisture sensor and you could be well on the way to creating an arboreal cyborg.

A lot of thought has gone in to how to achieve this, so if your indoor plants could do with a techno-makeover, check out the project page over at Instructables.

via Hack A Day

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Laser Cut Scales

Fabric-inspired pattern knits together like a 21st century chainmail

Here is an interesting way to use laser cutting to produce a dynamic, malleable surface. Inspired by the structure and physical characteristics of certain fabrics, Scales from Japanese designer Shino Onodera is beautiful in its simplicity.

An intricate woven material is constructed from laser cut repetitions of a single simple wiggly pattern. Onodera experimented with a number of different materials to test the structural integrity of the design, with these images showing the version made from tracing paper.

Demonstrations of the laser cut Scales were featured in an exhibition at Japan’s prestigious Keio University, including sheets suspended from the ceiling and examples of the pattern applied in different materials.

What would you make if you could laser cut your own fabric?

See how to make your own Scales on Instructables.

via Instructables

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Javascript Laser Cut Lamp Shades

A few lines of code to brighten your day

When Maxime Beauchemin set out to design a pair of laser cut lamp shades, he decided that it would be fun to make use of his coding skills. Already familiar with d3.js, he used Javascript to generate the vector artwork that would then be sent to the laser cutter.

This was much easier than it may otherwise appear thanks to the interactive setup at jsfiddle.net, a fantastic resource that some refer to as a ‘playground for developers’. Here is a screenshot of the number crunching that makes Maxime’s lamp possible:

This looks like an interesting way to approach design for laser cutting, with the interactive preview keeping the outcome right there on screen. Of course, a little coding knowledge would be handy to get started… but for those who just want to play, you can head over to jsfiddle and tweak Maxime’s code to make further iterations of his Javascript Laser Cut Lampshade.

via Maxime Beauchemin

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Sweet dreams thanks to Sleep Sensei

Ponoko laser cut Kickstarter trains you to fall asleep. Eyes closed, now breathe…

Chasing those Z’s is about to get a whole lot easier thanks to this nifty innovation from Jeremy Wilson on Kickstarter. The Sleep Sensei sits on your nightstand and gently guides you towards a deep, restful sleep.

How does it do this? To some insomniacs, such an achievement may sound like pure magic, but there is some serious science behind the device. Jeremy’s own insomnia saw him trial numerous sleep aids before he set out to use his Arduino skills to sort out their collective shortcomings.

The functional laser cut prototype pictured above is at the core of this Kickstarter campaign, with the final design yet to be revealed. The key technology has all been sorted out already, as can be attested by an overwhelmingly positive outcome from product trials on real sleep-challenged volunteers.

“The Sleep Sensei primarily helps those with sleeping problems caused by stress or an overactive mind at bedtime.”

If you are one of those creative over-achievers who just can’t stop their mind racing at the end of the day (we probably all know at least a few people who fall into that category!) then head over to Kickstarter to discover more about The Sleep Sensei.

via Kickstarter

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