Laser cut vibrating mirror

Fuzzy reflections for the New Year

As another calendar year clicks over, you may find yourself reflecting on the past 12 months and pondering what the New Year will bring.

Staring into the mirror is one way to indulge in some serious contemplation… and with this interesting project from Instructables user Wolfgang Kahler, gazing at your reflection can have some surprising results.

The mirror has an array of laser-cut discs at its centre, right where the viewer’s face is likely to be positioned. Each disc is connected to a tiny motor that vibrates under the control of an Arduino Uno, with visually compelling patterns achieved in what could be seen as a simple animation.

As you can see from the video after the break, this results in a dynamic interactive experience that is considerably more high-tech than the traditional fun house novelty mirror.   (more…)

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DIY Laser Cutter

Discover what a home-built laser cutter can do

There are a few examples out there of DIY laser cutters, with people sharing info and tips on how to make your own laser cutting device at home.

One such project comes from Jens Clarholm, and he has put together a neat overview of just what his home-built device is able to achieve as it cuts and/or engraves various readily available materials.

The laser cutter that Jens constructed boasts a 300mW laser diode sourced off eBay mounted in a wooden frame with drawer runners facilitating movement on both axes. Controlling the mechanism is a breeze thanks to an Arduino Nano and Easy Driver combo.  (more…)

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Showing personality with a hint of leather

Laser cut leather accessories to keep you looking sharp

If you’re out there struttin’ your stuff in the world of high fashion, there is a chance that you have seen some pretty fancy laser cut clothing and accessories on the catwalks.

Providing plenty of inspiration to draw on, designers and makers continue to show us that it’s easier than ever to create interesting looking laser cut leather accessories. Artists who work with leather comment on the versatility of this material, with variations in the supple qualities further enhanced by the colour tones brought out in the tanning process.

Pictured above are just a few examples of what can be achieved once you know your way around laser cutting in leather.

The first four laser cut leather items are from Polymath Design Lab, with images thanks to Shannon Henry on Flickr. Below that are two of Colin Francis’ leather cuffs from Cuffmodern in the Ponoko Showroom.

Have you ever wanted to give leather a try? Explore your creativity with leather in the Ponoko Personal Factory.

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Elegant laser cut clocks

Taking inspiration from ornate European public timepieces

There is a lot to see at the Renegade Craft Chicago Winter Market in 2013. For those lucky enough to be in town on the 7th and 8th of December, one of the designers to look out for is Chicago native Sarah Mimo.

Over the past few years, Sarah has been building on a body of work that is inspired by an earlier visit to London and Prague. While on these travels, she found the beauty of Europe’s public clocks particularly memorable and has incorporated this influence into her artwork.

The result is an exceptional collection where she brings her own flavour to the idea of an ornamental timepiece. Laser cut and then finished and assembled by hand in her Brooklyn studio, these clocks are sure to pass the test of time.

See more from Sarah and other creative artists at the Chicago Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market on December 7-8, or for those who miss out, there is plenty of laser cut eye candy on her website.

Sarah Mimo via Renegade Craft

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Laser cut flute

Sweet sounds from a musical student workshop

Using technical expertise to explore – and indeed change – the way that people interact with and experience music is Yale student Lamtharn Hantrakul’s passion. Deep in the midst of a double major in Applied Physics and Music Composition, this latest project is playing a sweet tune.

In a process that goes from raw materials to fully resolved instrument in just 2 hours, the making of a laser cut flute forms the basis of a student workshop that gives new meaning to the concept of being hands-on with your music.

Referred to as a ‘fluterecorder’, the design is modelled on a traditional Thai flute called the Khlui.

The decision to use a laser cutter was made because it is a workflow that is easily accessible to students, as opposed to power tools that require a greater learning curve and level of supervision. An added bonus is that the laser cutter can be used to create custom etchings, enabling each student to individualise their design.

Click through to learn more and see a brief clip of the flute being played, with considerable prowess.   (more…)

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The Chart of Hand Tools

Over 300 illustrated tools of the trade

We may be immersed in the digital workflow of laser cutters and 3D printers, but there are still dozens of hand tools that makers are using every day.

The experts of laying it all out, Pop Chart Lab, have put together a wonderful collection in their print The Chart of Hand Tools.

“Meticulously illustrated tools celebrating the tinkerers and the doers: those who build, repair and create.”

Whether it’s the finely tuned measuring devices that ensure every dimension is just so, or the brute force of over 20 different hammers and mallets, somewhere on this illustrated panel will be the tools that enable you to realise your creativity.

Click through for a detailed view. (more…)

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The Kelpies: Giant laser cut horse sculptures

Towering over the Scottish landscape

Here is a treat for lovers of laser cutting on a grand scale. Celebrating the horse-powered heritage of Scotland, Andy Scott’s The Kelpies is a monument to both the past and the future.

Representing two dynamic Clydesdale horse heads rearing up from the landscape, this colossal laser cut sculpture is nearing completion after 7 years of development. It has taken some serious engineering to pull the project together, and the results will be awe-inspiring for visitors to the site when it opens in 2014.

Continue reading for more info and images of the construction process, engineering and design development.   (more…)

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2Plex Laser Cut Construction Kit

Archimedean solids made easy

Benjamin Schaeffer likes to build things, and his latest foray with a laser cutter has resulted in a neat little collection he calls the 2Plex Construction Kit.

It’s all about having fun with form, building modular structures out of lightweight cardboard pre-cut shapes. As you can see from the image above, the variety of objects you can create from the simple geometric elements is quite open ended.

Don’t let terms like stellated octahedron throw you. As Ben says in his video construction walkthrough:

“This is mathematics. Not all mathematics is about numbers. Some mathematics is about form and shape.”

Available on Thingiverse in handy files that are ready for the laser cutter, the modular geometric forms have been optimised for construction using standard corrugated card.   (more…)

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Mesmerising kinetic wind sculptures

Combining CAD and a plasma cutter with traditional hand techniques

Anthony Howe is a veteran sculptor whose mind never stops turning… and the same goes for his stunning works of art.

Conceived entirely in his head, the intricate patterns in Howe’s works are resolved using a series of CAD programs before being sent to his own plasma cutter where the components are all cut from sheet material.

The final shapes are hand formed and hand finished using traditional metalworking techniques. All this is achieved in his Eastsound, WA studio.

“I develop a design on computer because it allows me to animate it and see it moving…

…then when I’m making things by hand, my intuition and subconscious plays a lot into the final object.”

Click through to see a revealing video interview with The Creators Project, where Anthony talks through his methodology and explains a little more about the thinking behind these kinetic objects.   (more…)

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Animated laser-engraved wood

The New America – is this the future of film making?

Two years in the making and consisting of over 800 individual laser etched wooden panels, The New America is an animation spectacular from film maker Nando Costa.

No stranger to the digital realm, Costa has created a unique bridge between the digitally produced physical object and the moving image. The largely abstract animation is pieced together from 8×4.5 inch panels of laser etched maple, resulting in an interesting visual effect as the wood grain changes from frame to frame.

The final production was made possible following a successful Kickstarter campaign, where contributors were rewarded with (amongst other things) actual panels from the film. Is The New America an insight into our future? Aside from any messages secreted within the animation itself, it certainly is interesting to see how laser cutting can be utilised in new ways. When reflecting on the process, Costa acknowledged that it was “a lot of hard work and stress” to bring The New America to life.

Click through to discover what the fuss is all about! See the clip after the break. (more…)

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