Elliptical Laser Cut Boxes

Using Inkscape plugins to round out those boxed corners 

laser-cut-elliptical-box

We all agree that laser cut boxes are handy to use as enclosures for DIY electronic projects and for storing little keepsakes. Adding your own personal touch gets a whole lot more interesting when you can break away from the traditional rectilinear form to create elliptical laser cut boxes.

Once again, the magic happens thanks to some clever programming in the form of a freely available Inkscape plugin. Instructables user Bas van der Peet has compiled an extensive guide to using this plugin, with a number of fun examples of what you can achieve when you round off a few corners here and there.

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If breaking out of the box sounds like fun to you, head over to Instructables and follow Bas’ guide, then let us know how you go with the plugin in the comments below.

Make your elliptical laser cut boxes using the Ponoko Personal Factory.

Elliptical Box Maker via Instructables

 

Laser Cut Iris Clock

Time to reveal with mechanical precision

Laser Cut Iris Clock

There is something quite magical about the reveal that is the hallmark of a mechanical iris. Watching those leaves glide apart with smooth precision to neatly frame the circular opening is indeed interesting, but what about finding an application for the iris?

Over on Thingiverse, Joseph took inspiration from an existing iris and incorporated it into a laser cut clock. When you want to see the time, a small lever is depressed which activates the iris mechanism, revealing a laser cut clock face. Keeping the physical components of the iris exposed adds a layer of visual interest that invites interaction. Click through to see a short clip of the clock in action.   (more…)

Ideas for Creative Agencies & Brands – #17

Laser cut changes in scale: How small can you go?

tinysaur

We have seen how taking and everyday object and making it big can really change your perspective. The same thinking can be just as effective going the other way – when large objects become interesting and engaging by making them tiny.

No-one does this better than the clever makers at Everything Tiny. As we can see in the tinysaur example above, miniaturisation is an easy way to encourage a fresh, light-hearted response to your brand. Considered use of layering and materials can also help to create more impact, and also remember that small items tend to be fragile or easily lost – so a display case of some kind would be a handy addition.

How would you use the Ponoko Personal Factory to go really small? Let us know in the comments below. For more ideas for Agencies and Brands, see the other posts in the series.

 

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How To: Design a Laser-Cut Interlocking Box

Build your own custom enclosures 

boxmaker screenshot

Boxes! Everyone likes putting things in boxes, and there is something so satisfying about making your own enclosure to neatly round off a DIY project. It’s something that electronics enthusiasts have been doing for a long time – and with the handy Box Maker web app and plugin, making a custom enclosure is easier than ever before.

Existing as an online calculator and also a laser cutter-friendly Inkscape plugin, you should be well covered to fit Box Maker into your workflow.

The Box Maker interface on Inkscape is very straightforward to use. Once you have set the size of your box, you then have control over the tab size, the material thickness and the all-important kerf (the amount the laser cuts away).    (more…)

Laser Cut Credit Cards

Amex Plastic Re-Imagined

WoodenSculptedAmericanExpressCards2-900x600

With a rich history in highly refined laser cut art pieces, French design agency Future Marketry were the right guys to bank on for American Express. The financial giant commissioned them to create interpretations of the three classic credit cards – Green, Gold and Platinum.

The results are a dynamic sculptural interplay of light and shade as the contoured laser cut surfaces replicate the holographic sheen of the actual cards. All this is achieved in multiple layers of poplar ply, brass and acrylic. This is a fantastic example of how to create a sense of depth and visual complexity using 2D laser cutting. Click through to the source for more detail images from the series.

WoodenSculptedAmericanExpressCardsCombo

What other clever examples of laser cut light and shade have you seen? Let us know in the comments below.

Future Marketry via Inspire Me

Ideas for Creative Agencies & Brands – #16

Going BIG: Changing the way we see everyday objects

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Every day we interact with hundreds of objects, barely giving them a second thought as they perform their designated functions. The transformation that happens when you dramatically upscale an item can be a real conversation starter, as is demonstrated by the giant comb bike rack pictured above.

This clever design was a response by Know How Shop LA to the question: “What would I lock my bike to if I were really small?”

Changes in scale can be a simple way to create an eye-catching impact, where often the more ubiquitous the item, the stronger the reaction will be. See how using laser cutting to go big can help your clients stand out from the crowd! Let us know about your ‘big ideas’ in the comments below.

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Ponoko designs & makes promo products from scratch for event marketers.  Hit us up for a free quote.

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How To Make Custom Bokeh Lens Filters

Give your photography a boost using laser cut filters

Techniques for taking dramatic photos often rely on fancy (ie expensive) equipment, but as this little project from Jin Tsubota very effectively demonstrates, you can achieve some impressive results on a tight budget thanks to the Ponoko Personal Factory.

Watch the video above to see Jin’s step-by-step walkthrough of the remarkably easy process he used to make custom laser cut Bokeh Filters for a friend’s wedding.

“…I thought it would be fun to surprise him and his bride by shooting their wedding with these DIY bokeh filters.”

For those not familar with Bokeh, it refers to the aesthetic quality of the blurred elements that are captured through a camera lens. Bokeh filters take advantage of this, by controlling the shape of these areas using a physical filter attached to the front of the lens.

Inspired by these results, we had a quick go using the Ponoko logo! While our outcome isn’t quite as impressive as Jin’s, it is still fun to experiment with this technique.

Ponoko-Bokeh-lens-filter

You can see a photo with no filter on the left, then the filter with laser cut Ponoko logo, and the effect it creates on the right of the above image.

DIY Bokeh Filters make for a great low-cost laser cutting project, and the results can give your photography a unique, eye-catching personal touch. Have you made your own laser cut camera filters? Let us know in the comments below.

Laser Cut Bokeh Filters via YouTube: Jin Tsubota

 

Ideas for Creative Agencies & Brands – #15

Laser Cut Mobiles

laser cut robot mobile das wood

While there are some people who don’t give the humble mobile much thought outside of a baby’s nursery, for others the transformation that takes place as an object floats delicately through the air can be quite mesmerising.

Mobiles can take on many forms, as is demonstrated by the playful examples pictured here from Diana Jess aka daswooddesign. Hand-made from low impact eco-plastic, she used the compositionally friendly arrangement of four floating elements (pictured above)… but you can also have just as much impact with five, three, two or even one lone pendant suspension. It all comes down to how interesting your individual items are, and how well they balance when suspended.

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Many of our favorite laser cutting materials are ideal to use in this application, as the silhouette of the object and the negative space around it contribute to creating a dynamic visual impact. The designs from daswood achieve this particularly well, using the strengths of laser cutting to make the most of the chosen material’s physical characteristics.

Where can you suspend an eye-catching promotional laser cut design from? Going beyond the standard ceiling mount, there are opportunities around us all the time. How about something dangling from the rear-vision mirror in a car, or clipped to the edge of a computer monitor? See what else you can come up with, and use the Ponoko Personal Factory to create a ‘space modulator’ that leaves a lasting impression.

Let’s Talk Ideas

Ponoko designs & makes promo products from scratch for event marketers.  Hit us up for a free quote.

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Ideas for Creative Agencies & Brands – #14

High contrast laser cut layers

Laser cut and etched wood has a striking impact all on its own, but as this example from San Francisco creative duo b-spired shows, adding in a backing layer of bright colored card really makes things pop.

Enhancing the crisp lines and bold negative space that is such a strength of laser cutting, the layered card creates a high-contrast visual impact that completely transforms the natural tone of the timber. The same effect will be equally impressive when applied to other popular laser cutting materials such as acrylic and metals.

These greeting cards and invitations by b-spired also have a sturdy backing and a neat little pop-out stand, because when something looks this good, chances are high that people will want to display them.

Imagine how this technique would look when applied to corporate identities and company artwork. How can you use the Ponoko Personal Factory to create promotional laser cut layered items, inspired by b-spired?

Let’s Talk Ideas

Ponoko designs & makes promo products from scratch for event marketers.  Hit us up for a free quote.

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DIY Laser Engraver can be made for just $20

Build your own 3D printed laser engraver

With the smooth geometry of a classic arcade machine, the Photon Printer 3D printed laser engraver is a tiny technological wonder. Built as a DIY project by New Zealand engineer Stephen Brockett, the fully functional etching machine was put together using selected DVD burner components and just a few purchased items to fill in the gaps that could not be 3D printed at home.

In part, the project was made possible by salvaging the impressive innards of a standard optical drive, but don’t let Stephen’s modesty fool you… there are a lot of other clever design decisions that kept the total build budget at just $20.

“Optical media drives are actually pretty amazing, they have linear rails, stepper motors, lead screws and even end stops inside them… They’re pretty much an entire axis of a CNC machine ready to go!”

Keeping a healthy respect for the laser at the heart of the machine, a number of safety features were built into the Photon Printer. Nifty inclusions made possible by 3D printing like a roller shutter and angled rear vents (to stop reflected laser light escaping) can be seen in the video below.

The whole journey is fully documented on Thingiverse where it has sparked up a spirited discussion from other makers using the detailed instructions and downloadable files to print out their own versions. Perhaps you could even build on this design further using the Ponoko Personal Factory…

via 3Dprint