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

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Laser cut closure

The Laser Cutter Roundup — a weekly dose of laser-cut love: #159

Hey, Sam here collecting the post from The Laser Cutter.

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Above are laser cut red maple wood puzzle piece buttons from Timber Green Woods.

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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

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Laser cut fingers

The Laser Cutter Roundup — a weekly dose of laser-cut love: #158

Hey, Sam here collecting the post from The Laser Cutter.

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Above is a laser cut and etched cherry blossom ring from Under The Shade of a Bonsai Tree.

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Win a free copy of LEO the Maker Prince, the first 3D printing book for kids!

LEO the maker prince

This week, Ponoko has partnered with author and designer Carla Diana to give away five free copies of her new book for kids (and adults!), LEO the Maker Prince.

The first book about 3D printing for children, LEO follows the adventures of Carla and her friend LEO, a 3D printer. Chancing upon each other during a New York hurricane, Carla and LEO traverse the fascinating new world of 3D printing and all of the creativity and common sense solutions that it offers. LEO is a machine; Carla is an accountant who had always dreamed of being an artist. Together, they discover how personal fabrication can, has, and will continue to change the world. It certainly changes Carla.

Published by Maker Media, each creation featured in LEO can be downloaded for free and produced on your home 3D printer. 3D printing isn’t magic, but LEO the Maker Prince is. Written for anyone who wants to learn more about 3D printing, this book explores today’s emerging technologies in a way that makes it understandable to readers of all ages.

How to Enter:

Leave a comment telling us what character(s) from which favorite children’s story book you’d like to 3D print—and why.

Details:

You may enter as often as you like between Jan. 13-17, 2014, but each submission idea must be distinct from your last. Repeat or similar entries from the same applicant will be disqualified. Author Carla Diana and a representative from Maker Media will choose the top five suggestions from your comments. And yes, creativity and smarts do matter.

Prizes:

Five winners will each receive a free copy of LEO the Maker Prince either as a PDF or hard copy, depending (the vagaries of shipping constraints outside the U.S. may determine).

Deadline:

Sweepstakes closes at 10pmPST on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014. Winners will be notified by Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, and announced in an update to this post.

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Laser cutting time

The Laser Cutter Roundup — a weekly dose of laser-cut love: #157

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Above is a laser cut birch plywood cuckoo clock from Pedromealha.

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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…)

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A laser cut hive mentality

The Laser Cutter Roundup — a weekly dose of laser-cut love: #156

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Above is a laser cut rubber BOLERO HEX (jacket) and COLONY pencil skirt from Ego Assassin (may be NSFW).

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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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New years laser cuttting

The Laser Cutter Roundup — a weekly dose of laser-cut love: #155

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Above is a laser cut wood veneer calendar from Curious Doodles.

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