Laser Cut Parabolic String Lamp

Wrapping up that retro style with a laser cut wooden frame

At some stage, we’ve probably all done a little parabolic line art. Whether it was in the back cover of a school textbook, or with a series of nails and string on a piece of plywood… there is something about the way those curves and straight lines work together that draws people in. Particularly if you are a fan of 1970’s decor.

Audrey Love has given this retro geometric art form a digital twist by laser cutting a wooden frame for her Parabolic String Lamp on Instructables.

I examined closely and figured out how the illusions of curves appeared in the string art. I was curious if the same principle could be applied to a curved dimensional object.

The laser cutter was handy because it enabled her to quickly produce the numerous notched holes that the string feeds through. All in all, it only took five minutes to cut all the parts out. Here is the laser cutter in action:

Check out the Instructables post to see Audrey’s step-by-step process, where you can also download the pattern to make a Parabolic String Lamp of your own.

Instructables: Parabolic String Lamp

Related posts:

Laser-upcycle your wardrobe

Using a laser cutter to give old denim a new kick

When he’s not building laser cut wooden hexapods and other robotic wonders, Queron Williams likes to discover new ways to get creative with a laser cutter.

In this recent exploration, he gives an old pair of jeans a fresh makeover – and even managed to remain true to the Robot theme!

Laser cut clothing is something we’ve seen before, but using the laser cutter to etch fabrics takes a little more fine tuning. There isn’t a lot of room for error, as Williams found out when he began with a ‘leather etch’ setting on his laser cutter. Etching patterns into denim requires a more delicate touch, and here’s what it looks like when you get the settings right:

The robot designs are from illustrator mattcantdraw, and they appear to transpose quite nicely onto the denim material.

“I’m actually very pleased with how this turned out, the effect produced looks like natural fade, but only in specific areas. I love that these jeans have gone from boring ‘off the shelf’ to something interesting and individual.”

via Qbotics

Related posts:

Get to know your laser cutter better

DIY Kerf measuring tool refines your laser cutting precision

Although it isn’t critical on all laser cut projects, for anything with parts that fit or slot together, kerf is something that is worth paying attention to.

It may sound like a Jim Henson creation – but kerf is in fact a very real technical term. Kerf refers to the gap that is left by the cutting device – in our case, the laser beam in a laser cutter. It’s usually more of an issue when laser cutting in wood, but will also come into play when laser cutting acrylic and other materials.

Open source enthusiast Dave Chamberlin has come up with a nifty device that can be used to accurately measure the kerf of a laser cutter. The simple cutting pattern has been uploaded to Thingiverse, and includes instructions on how to measure your kerf etched right onto the device itself. Here is what it looks like:

Follow the source link below to download the file and try it out on your own laser cutter. You can also discover what else Dave is up to in his open source maker crusade over at Takeaway 3d Tech.

Thingiverse: Laser Kerf Measuring Tool

Related posts:

Laser Cut Cupid

Flying straight to your heart on Valentine’s Day

Did you make something special for a loved one this Valentine’s Day? For those with a laser cutter handy (that includes Ponoko users, too!) here is a cute little Laser Cut Cupid from Rob Ives that is sure to win over more than a few hearts.

All of the parts for this romantic automata are available for free over at Instructables and on Rob’s blog. Assembly is quite straightforward, and made even easier thanks to the detailed instructions provided. With the laser cut parts, some thin dowel, and wire from two paperclips, your Cupid will be flapping away in no time.

Turn the handle, and watch as the laser cut wooden gears work their magic.

There are also a few small neodymium magnets to keep the wings in place. Click through to see images of the laser cut parts and assembly process.   (more…)

Related posts:

Exploded hardware wall art

Creative inspiration as products are exposed in all their glory

We all know the story… the kids who spend hours pulling apart every product they can get their hands on will grow up to become tomorrow’s designers, engineers and creative geniuses. Well, the offices of Bolt in downtown Boston show that this is more than just a cliché.

Building a great hardware product is brutally hard work and our walls remind us of that everyday.

Set with a relatively small budget for decorating the office space in an inspirational way, the Bolt team made a list of their favourite hardware products of all time and purchased each item from eBay. The products were then disassembled, cleaned, and mounted on the walls in all their exploded designer glory.

This can be seen as merely an ‘art project’, with all the innards of the products exposed and neatly knolled into place. But as the exposed products become more and more a part of the every day, they have become valuable tools to educate, inspire and remind of how important exquisite design and meticulous engineering are to the success of a business.   (more…)

Related posts:

Geeky Alphabet Blocks

Dedicated dad creates laser etched block set for his newborn son

Ensuring that his son’s education starts off on the right path, Jonathan Guberman tinkered away for almost a year to create this fantastic set of wooden alphabet blocks.

Decorated with the things he and his wife are looking forward to sharing with their son, the collection contains 134 laser etched images and icons from some of their favourite movies, TV shows, books, video games and popular culture.

Across the 26 English letter and ten digit blocks, the featured decorations were selected to maintain an even gender balance. Having originally started with each letter showing one movie, character, game etc; it soon became clear that this would be too limiting and the selection process was broadened. Apparently cats were included at his wife’s insistence.

The hardest part was having to cut certain images because there wasn’t enough space; I guess it’s incentive to have another kid so I have an excuse to make another set.

There is a neat little breakdown of the development process and a few other insights over on Jonathan’s blog. You can also see the full list of iconic items, and it’s well worth heading to the flickr set that showcases each block in all its detail.

Regular readers may remember the rather clever Automatypewriter, another fun project from Jonathan.

Alphabet Blocks via Laughing Squid

Related posts:

MicroSlice laser cutter now on Kickstarter

mini Arduino laser cutter & engraver kits

There was plenty of excited chatter when Greg Holloway posted his MicroSlice laser cutter on Instructables last year. Much of this involved people asking “where, when and how can I get one?” Well, the good news is that this diminutive digital manufacturing device is now the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, and the pledges are coming in fast.

The MicroSlice is a nifty little unit. Once you take a closer look, it is easy to see why it won the 2013 Instructables Radioshack Microcontroller Contest. Imagine a laser cutter that sits on your desktop. Not impressed? Consider that it sits on your desktop, and takes up less space than a bowl of cereal. Less space than a takeout container. Less space than a burger with the lot. In fact it takes up less space than the power supply from a regular sized laser cutter.

The MicroSlice is a Build-It-Yourself kit, uses Open Source Software, and can be easily assembled at home by just about anyone.

The MicroSlice can cut paper, and engrave wood & plastic. Kits include an Arduino UNO R3 as well as 97 laser-cut parts and all necessary hardware to get up and running. The laser diode is a 100mw red laser, similar to what you’d find inside a DVD-RW drive. An option is available to supercharge the MicroSlice with a 200mw laser.

With a truly miniature work area of 50mm x 50mm (2″ x 2″) users will be choosing their projects carefully.  For bigger projects, there is always Ponoko.

Learn more, watch videos of the MicroSlice in action, and make a pledge over at Kickstarter.

MicroSlice on Kickstarter

Related posts:

Laser cut Marble Machines

Demonstrating the impact of changes in scale for laser cutting

Those two guys who just can’t help adding their own magic touch to laser cutting have been at it again. Martin Raynsford and his enthusiastic colleague Dominic Morrow kicked off the New Year by revisiting an old favourite project: the laser cut Marble Machine.

This time around, they gave the scale a twist – first sizing things up, and then scaling right down to something definitively cute and tiny.

As you can see in the following videos, the Marble Machines are a neat example of how easy it can be to resize an object for laser cutting.

“I’ve been telling people that one of the joys of CAM is that if you want a different size you just scale everything to 200% and recut it, so I did just that… and it works perfectly”

Just be sure to double-check before cutting! Martin and Dominic were careful to take into account all parameters including material thickness and the size of the marbles. For the Massive Marble Machine, two layers of 3mm MDF were laminated to create the required 6mm material thickness. It uses a 20mm ball bearing from another past project.

Going in the other direction, the Mini Marble Machine is so small that you need an implement to turn the teeny little winder that activates the mechanism.

Watch those marbles go round and round in a few short videos after the break. (more…)

Related posts:

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…)

Related posts:

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…)

Related posts: