The T-Shirt Issue by Mashallah Design and Linda Kostowski

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The T-Shirt Issue by Mashallah Design and Linda Kostowski combines a variety of digital fabrication tools and traditional fabrication methods to create a unique visual aesthetic.

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The creators of this project digitally scanned the human figure and then deconstructed it into polygonal form with a 3D modeling program. From there they took the model and deconstructed it into faces. These faces were then sewn together similar to the pattern making process. Below are images of the faces apart and the inside view of them sewn together.

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For further details about this project found on yatzer see the original post here.

For information about PePaKuRa Designer, a program one could use to achieve a similar effect of unfolding a 3D model, visit our post on it here.

feYerwerks

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Robert Feyereisen is an accomplished model maker who graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor's degree in architecture. Recently the Pioneer Press wrote an article about Robert and some of his projects including a laser cut cardboard model kit he has been making of the Stillwater Lift Bridge. The article provides an interesting insight on how an artist can turn a profit off of a laser cutter and it can be read in further detail here.

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To see more of Roberts projects or even buy one of his models you can visit his Etsy shop here.

The Battle of Everyouth by Jenny Schmid and Ali Momeni

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The project "The Battle of Everyouth" by Jenny Schmid and Ali Momeni showcases how the laser cutter can be used in a variety of mixed media applications for visual and functional purposes. In the video below you can see caricatures and scenery that have been cut, by the laser cutter, out of thick heavy weight paper. In addition to the visual components of this project you can see that some of the custom equipment was fabricated out of laser cut masonite.

Battle of Everyouth- long version from jenny schmid on Vimeo.

laserbits

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Laserbits is another great place to find materials to laser etch and cut. They have many different products on their website including; acrylics, woods, stone, leather, rubber and chemicals for mark making on metal.

Some of the products they sell that may not be common elsewhere include their laser etchable rubber and other stamp making products, which can be found here. They also sell a variety of CerMark products that allow you to leave marks on metal and ceramics. In addition to these more do it yourself from scratch products laserbits also sells prefabricated items such as clocks, key chains and plaques.

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These are just a few things of note, it is encouraged for anyone interested in the laser cutter to check out their website, not only for their raw materials, but also for their technical tips and application information.

McMaster-Carr

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McMaster-Carr Supply Company is a great resource for purchasing a variety of things with over 510,000 products listed in their catalog. They have a huge range of raw materials that include many varieties of fabrics, plastics and woods, to name a few.

A great aspect of their catalog is their extremely detailed product descriptions, generally speaking they can provide some insight as to how a material will react to the laser cutter.

You Fab 2013 Laser-Cut Paper Design Competition

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You Fab is hosting a laser-cut paper design competition. There are three categories for the competition; Toys ("Play"), Greeting Cards ("Communication"), and Party wear/accessories made with paper ("Surprise"). All the submitted designs can utilize etching and/or cutting and can use any type of paper as the substrate. The due date for submissions is July 15th. Further information about competition, including prizes, can be found here.

Twin Cities Maker and The Hack Factory

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The Hack Factory is a maker space created and ran by the group Twin Cities Maker located at:

3119 E 26th St.
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55406

The Hack Factory is a great place for people interested in fabricating things or connecting with others who do. They have a lot of great resources including tools, machinery and group knowledge. The group has open work time and space and also hosts classes for a variety of interesting subjects. In general the group and space is great for artists who are graduating and looking for continued access to a lot of tools and knowledge found here at the University.

Here is a great video that briefly shows some of their space.

lucitelux

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Lucitelux is an excellent source for specialty acrylic. They provide a great range of colors and different types with special properties.

Here are a couple videos showing how you can backlight and edglight some of their products.

Laser Cut Record by Amanda Ghassaei

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Amanda Ghassaei, after creating a 3D printed record, has recently created a laser cut record. Amanda took a digital audio file and wrote some custom code to convert that file into a series of vector paths that the laser cutter can use to vector etch into almost any material to create a playable record.

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This image shows a record etched into wood.

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Because the width of the laser beam cannot achieve the microscopic detail of a vinyl record there is some quality loss in the final playback and the full record can only hold three minutes and ten seconds of audio. Despite these technical limitations you can still make out the songs played with amazing clarity as seen in the video below.

And to make this project even better Amanda has written an extremely well made instructable that can be seen here, detailing all the steps you need to take to make your own record from any source audio file.

Custom Turntable Enclosure by Anthony R. Kling

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This is a repost from my website anthonyrkling.com

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I was recently commissioned by my stepsister to build an enclosure for her turntable to keep it from getting dusty. I took the opportunity and used it as an avenue to both explore and blur the lines between synthetic and natural materials.

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The enclosure utilizes the element of nesting in its design. The nested layers and transitions from dark wood to light to metallic and silver plastic help to elevate the sense of preciousness in the ritual of playing a vinyl record.

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The Pause Play buttons were streamlined into the surface of the wood for a more preferred tactile and visual experience.

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Here is an image of the enclosure with the lid on.

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Here is a close up of the 45 adapter that is laser etched onto the top surface of the enclosure.

Project created by Anthony R. Kling.

Rollware by Altered Appliances

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Rollware by Altered Appliances is a project created by Joanne Choueiri, Giulia Cosenza and Povilas Raskevicius. The idea behind the project is to create a set of eatable plates patterned and then cut out with two sets of rolling pins.

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The patterned set of rolling pins were created with a laser cutter, utilizing a rotary attachment. (A rotary attachment is a device that sits in the laser cutter that rotates an object around as the laser cutter etches the surface, it allows for curved and cylindrical objects to be etched in a continuous and consistent manner here is a link to a video of one in action)

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Here is an image of the finished product.

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This project is particularly interesting with respect to the laser cutter because it shows how one can use the rotary for alternate uses besides just etching glasses and bottles. It also shows how you can re-purpose existing things via the use of a laser cutter. Potentially this idea could be taken a step further and someone could make a continuous patterned stamp with a rolling pin type object.

Here is a great video demoing how the project works.

Edge Lit Laser Etched Acrylic

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Here is a beautiful example created by Artifacture of edge lit laser engraving on acrylic.

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By shining a light (like an LED) on the edge an acrylic sheet the laser etching will appear to be almost holographic and lift off of the surface of the acrylic. Here is a link to the original article.

Shadow Projections by Sam Berg

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Samantha Berg, a student here at the department, used the laser cutter to create a wonderful shadow projected image by etching clear acrylic and shining a light on the image (as seen in the photo below).

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The image below shows what the acrylic looks like after it is etched (the clear acrylic was photographed behind a black background to show up in the photo better).

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When etching acrylic for shadow projecting purposes it is important to make sure your original image has high contrast with relatively few midtones from there the image should be halftoned with relatively few dots or circles per inch; this creates more clarity in the projected image because when the dots are too tight they etch more surface blocking light from passing through the acrylic.

Knife Template by Paul Linden

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Paul Linden a member of the Technical Staff here at the department used the laser cutter to create templates that were used for tracing onto metal (for the blade) and wood (for the handle). After he traced the template he cut the metal and wood out using traditional methods. Paul also used the laser cutter to design a template for the silhouette of the knife handle. Once all the pieces were cut he assembled, sanded and sharpened the final product as seen in the photo below (the final knife show was made from a similar but differently dimensioned pattern).

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Sun Cutter

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The Sun Cutter created by Markus Kayser is a naturalistic alternative to conventional high powered laser cutters. The original video can be found here.

Markus Kayser - Sun Cutter Project from Markus Kayser on Vimeo.

Stamp Making Tutorial

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Here is a link to a great primer on how to create your own rubber stamps with the laser cutter. This tutorial was created by Limor Fried creator of the equally useful and interesting business Adafruit Industries (where lots of useful information on DIY electronics projects can be found).

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Her tutorial is based off of the Epilog laser cutter but the same stamp making features can be found on the Universal Laser Systems cutter as well. In her tutorial she utilizes rubber which can be purchased here on LaserBits Inc. a great source for purchasing different materials to laser cut and etch.

Constructable - Direct drawing with the Laser Cutter

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Stefanie Mueller, Pedro Lopes, and Patrick Baudisch at Hasso Plattner Institute have created an "interactive drafting table" by allowing the user to draw directly onto an object with a hand held laser pointer. The laser pointers movements and gestures are captured by an overhead camera and translated into commands for the laser cutter, eliminating the need for a drafting program.

More detailed information on how the system works can be found here. But in short the overhead camera captures movement and gestures which are translated into previously configured commands that can be used to generate specific types of actions such as rounding corners, creating points, removing material, etc. The overall effect is a much freer way of working with the laser cutter that affords a more step by step iterative design process.

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Chicago Style Laser Cutting

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"Here's a great example of what you can do with the laser cutter if you put your mind to thinking outside the standard box. This project was created by laser cutting 256 frames and syncing them up to a read poem." -Axis of Output


Our laser friends at SAIC are a busy bunch:

Go to SAIC's Service Bureau and
Advanced Output Center Blog


James Piatt

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James Piatt is an American designer that has incorporated use of the laser cutter into his whimsical handbags featured below and sold on his website.

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The Pursuader

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Tinkerbell

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These examples do an excellent job in highlighting how the laser cutter can be used for working with leather and it's potential for commercial applications.

Promotional Pieces

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In this post we will take a look at three projects that relate to self promotion, all of which were found on Behance. The first project discussed is by Christine Johnson and can be seen in further detail here.

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This Promotional piece is representative of a way to create a higher quality three dimensional leave behind. It can be recreated at relatively low cost monetarily and time wise and showcases creative ability, three dimensional knowledge, graphic design skill and experience with laser cutter fabrication.

This next project showcases a promotional business card of sorts created by Tsay Tzong-Lian. Below is a photo of her project and a video of it in action can be found here.

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This project does a great job of marrying content and functionality. Tsay is a Mechanical Engineer, which complements her use of the Geneva Wheel mechanism to creatively display her contact information. For further information on different types of gears and mechanisms see our previous post here.

This last example was created by the Industrial design Department at SCAD as part of a promotional tool, distributed to prospective students. For further information visit the original post here.

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This project is another good example of making promotional pieces that have functionality to them, making them a constant reminder to those who choose to use them. The info graphic explaining how to assemble and use the pieces is a nice touch that is both informative and a good use of time saving vector marking.

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Voyage by Fred Larson

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In this project Fred wanted to etch onto a brick for his assignment. He wanted the word to wrap around the brick. To do this we cut the letter forms up and etched two separate files (one for the front of the brick and one for the side). By aligning the edge of the image with the previously etched side of the brick he was able to create the illusion of a continuously etched surface.

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Many different materials react differently when etched. For instance some synthetic fabrics will change different colors when etched. In this case the brick turned a dark grey color.

s.phy.180.76 by Casey Mahon

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The project s.phy.180.76 created by Casey Mahon found on Behance is a great project not only for the beautiful three dimensional light fixture created but also for the technical qualities of its redesign.

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This project shows yet another way the laser cutter can be used to create things that go beyond the two dimensional with the exploiting the bendable nature of certain woods via the the use of smaller cut out pieces and pivoting fasteners.

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Whats also interesting is how Casey took previous plans for an earlier version and was able to make his redesign more efficient in terms of reducing cut time, number of unique parts and reducing assembly time (2 hours cutting/4 hours assembly vs. 47mins cutting/1 hour assembly).

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Redesigning LED Packaging by Bryant Lee

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Redesigning LED Packaging is Bryant Lee's Senior Thesis at the School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan and is a project featured on The Die Line.

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Bryant utilized the laser cutter to create different design iterations for the packaging, some of which can be seen in the image below.

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Ultimately the final design utilized laser cutting perforation to create a collapsible structure that was used for protective padding and perforation to create a hexagonal prism for the outer packaging container. This project illustrates the importance of revision iterations in the design process.

The Fox with the Golden Fur

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Ultra Creative has designed this wonderful piece of packaging that includes some whimsical use of the laser cutter.

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The Fox with the Golden Fur, as blogged about by The Die Line, is a creative set of packaging for a box of four chocolate bars and accompanying story book.

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The imagery on the wrappers of the chocolate bars interacts with the laser cut vignettes and as you pull out the chocolate bars the wrappers and the vignettes correspond to the progression of the short story that comes in the box.

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Cut Laser Cut and Wood Veneer Inlays

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Cut Laser Cut is a laser cutting service based in the UK. They have a great blog showcasing things related to the field and their projects they are working on. One such project was a wood veneer inlay project. Here is a link to the post which contains some good pointers in how to setup a project.


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CULT Moon Cake Packaging

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This packaging project was created by Brandon Sim. The project highlights a unique way to create packaging that allows the viewer to see the package contents through a cutout screen that has a geometric floral pattern cut out of it. The project is featured in further detail on the dieline and on lovely package.


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The coaster shows how the design element of the cut out screen can be extended into other brand elements.

OUTLET Magazine Stand

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OUTLET magazine sourced the creation of this low waist interlocking wood magazine point of purchase display. This project illustrates other ways create box like structures other than using finger joint systems such as BoxMaker. The design also highlights the importance of thinking about how to minimize waist of material, a problem that is important to think about regarding the material dimension limitation of laser cutters. Here is a link to the source article on Behance.


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University of Minnesota College of Design

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Ellen Schofield, currently working on her MFA at the University of Minnesota College of Design, has created an interesting blog geared towards helping Graphic Design students at the college. The College of Design offers many great tools including laser cutters, 3D printers and CNC machines to name a few. More information can be found on their facilities at the DigiFabLab.

I would like to highlight one of Ellen's posts about Connor Murphy who incorporated the unique application of the living hinge in his glasses case featured below.

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Samples

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This post contains samples created with the ILS12.150D Universal laser cutter (Big Red). All the samples were created at 100% speed with different degrees of power for each grayscale strip.


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This is the digital image used to print each of the samples. The difference in darkness of each of the horizontal grayscale strips in the samples is due to the different degrees of power being incrementally applied to each strip.


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Bamboo


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MDF


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Birch Veneer MDF


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Masonite


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Masonite With Layer Of Gesso Paint


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Whiteboard


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One Sided Frosted Acrylic


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Synthetic Fabric


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Transparencies


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Kozo Paper


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Velum


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Felt


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Canvas


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Vinyl


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Foam Pad


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Coark


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Blotting Paper


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Cardboard


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Linoleum


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Glass

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Masonite With Layer Of Black Gesso Paint

The Mill

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The Mill is a facility located at:

2300 Kennedy Street NE
Suite #130
Minneapolis, MN 55413
(612) 259-7509

With membership to The Mill you are given access to a variety of fabrication machines including a laser cutter, CNC machine, plasma cutter and 3D printer to name a few.

The Mill is a great resource for students who have graduated and no longer have access to University of Minnesota facilities. It is also a great location to take specialty workshops or even teach your own class.

Engrave

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Engrave is a very interesting small laser cutting firm. They have created some interesting products that illustrate how a small business might be created around a laser cutter. Here is a link to their flickr account.


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SNIJLAB

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SNIJLAB is a young and innovative laser cutting company in Rotterdam, Netherlands. They have been working on some interesting laser cutting techniques such as the flexible wood "living hinge" featured in the image below. Here is a link to their flickr page for other projects by them.


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Bridgette Meinhold has written a very interesting article oh how the laser cutter has been used to create guerrilla marketing promotional material via the use of laser cut leaves. You can find her article here.


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Laser Cutter at the Parsons The New School for Design

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A course at Parsons "Art for the Internet" has been using the laser cutter to help fabricate many of their projects. On the course resource page you can see many interesting student projects.


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The project featured above was created by Yu-Hsiang "Shaun" Chung.

PERF Laser Cut Apparel

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PERF creates unique laser cut patterned t-shirts for men and women. This example shows how the laser cutter can be a powerful tool for apparel or textile design.

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Laser Cut Dollar Bills by Scott Campbell

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Scott Campbell has used the laser cutter in a unique way by layering laser cut dollar bills to create three dimensional imagery within the boundaries of the bills.


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PePaKuRa Designer

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Pepakura Designer allows you to create paper craft models from 3D data. Pepakura Designer is developed in Japan and has been translated to English. This software is open to the public as shareware so you can download and try it freely although some advanced features are limited until you purchase a license key.

Note: Pepakura Designer does not contain software to create the original 3D models, but instead translates them to a 2D printable format. Pepakura supports some 3D file formats from software such as 3D Studio, LightWave and Softimage. Pepakura also supports files in the freeware format from "MetasequoiaLE".


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The above project was made by VisualSpicer and here are some more images related to that specific project.

3-D Model, Positive For Ceramic Mold Making by Anthony Kling

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The laser cutter can be used in a variety of different ways other than creating two dimensional work, it can also be used to create three dimensional works via the layering of slices of material.


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In this example the layering material that was chosen was acrylic (for its smooth edges and surfaces when cut), this material works well for creating plaster molds off of. The acrylic discs were cut with holes in them so that they could be threaded through a rod and repositioned so that one set of discs could make an infinite amount of variations.

Other materials could be held together the same way (with a threaded rod) or glued or screwed together.


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Here is an image of the first casting from the plaster mold. There were some technical issues with the first cast, additional images will be posted as the piece comes along.

Project created by Anthony R. Kling.

Kerf-Bending

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Make Magazine has posted a short article about kerf-bending and how a CNC router could be used to create this process. Perhaps this same method could be used via the laser cutter etching process.


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TLC

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TLC, The Laser Cutter - devoted to all things laser cut and etched
TLC is an amazing visual blog of laser related projects. TLC has hundreds of posts of unique projects that illustrate different ways to use the laser cutter. TLC also has many useful links to tutorials and different laser cutter artists and design groups.


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Wax Resist Test by Anthony Kling

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This project was a test to see if the laser cutter could be used in the application of the wax resist technique on ceramic bone dry ware. In this test ceramic bone dry ware was coated, with a brush, in a layer of wax with a low melting temperature commonly used for traditional wax resist applications. Two sets of images were etched into the wax just deep enough to burn away the wax allowing for a ceramic wash to stick to the ceramic surface and for the wash to resist the adjacent wax. Both sets of images were black or white with no grey tones. The arrows were solid black shapes and the image of a person was halftoned.


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The above image shows (from left to right) a bone dry piece with wax resist on it, a bisque piece with the wash fired and a fired piece with a semi clear cone 10 glaze over the wash.


The test reviled a couple of notable results. First application of the wax needs to be extremely even so that variations in its thickness do not prevent the laser cutter from etching all the way through the wax. To achieve a more consistent coat a spray gun could be used to apply the wax. The second useful piece of information discerned was that there is a limitation to the amount of detail that can be etched into the wax. Because the wax has a low melting point, when a lot of etching takes place in a small area, heat builds up and destroys the detail in the etching of the wax. Despite this heat sensitivity a fair amount of detail can be achieved (as seen in the picture).

Project created by Anthony R. Kling.

J-Shots by Anthony Kling

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The J-Shots project illustrates how the laser cutter can be used for ceramics applications and creating packaging.


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The laser cutter was used to cut contact paper to create stencils that could be applied to ceramic bisque ware. This photo illustrates how the laser cutter can save a tremendous amount of time by cutting multiples.


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Contact paper works well on flat bisque ware surfaces and creates crisp lines when glaze is applied and the stencil is removed.


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This photo illustrates how the laser cutter can be used to create professional looking packaging. The packaging was created by first printing the image along with registration marks onto the paper substrate. A corresponding vector file was created (to cut the packaging out) with registration marks that aligned with the printed image. The printed piece of paper was manually aligned with the vector file in the laser cutter print control panel before it cut the packaging out. The registration technique can be very precise but to minimize the appearance of registration errors it would be more effective add a little bit of a bleed in the printed image around where the laser cutter cuts the package.

Project created by Anthony R. Kling.

Midwest Maps by Alix Nichols

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Alix utilized BoxMaker in conjunction with Adobe Illustrator to fabricate this box.


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Alix used etching and the vector line cutting technique to create the imagery on the box. The laser cutter can create hairline continuous line work by using the vector cutting settings on the machine and turning the power settings down (this allows for a line to be made without cutting through the material, providing a different line quality than the those created through the etching settings).

Vikuiti Rear Projection Film developed by 3M

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There are many unique ways of utilizing the laser cutter in new media installations. 3M has developed an adhesive backed film that can be applied to glass or acrylic surfaces, allowing for the projection of video from behind to appear extremely clear and visible in brightly lit conditions. When used in conjunction with the laser cutter on acrylic surfaces the unique forms of images can appear super realistic such as the person depicted in the video below.



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The Lasersaur

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The Lasersaur is an open source laser cutter designed by NORTD Labs.


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NORTD Labs provides open source documentation in addition to a parts and vendor list so that you can both purchase and assemble the parts necessary to create your very own machine. The designs are still in the beta testing stage but NORTD Labs reports multiple success stories from early adopters.

Custom Guitar Pickup by Frank Haehnel

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Frank utilized the laser cutter to fabricate a custom guitar pickup with an image of Earl Scruggs and his signature etched into it. This examples how the laser cutter can be used to fabricate parts in addition to creating art.


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Stamps For Ceramics by Tom Lane

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Tom used the laser cutter to fabricate wooden stamps. When making stamps for ceramics it is best to use hard wood with the grain going vertically, to ensure more durability.


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Ceramic Bottles by Colleen Krick

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Colleen etched toothpaste logos onto leather hard slip cast porcelain bottles.


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When aggressively etching on high settings the laser cutter will actually fire a thin layer of clay that can stick on the surface of the clay.


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If you etch on lower settings the the clay turns into powder and does not stick to the surface.

Tim Rooney

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Tim created one large image of a forest from hundreds of images digitally stitched together. He then etched them on a large slice of wood.


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In addition to etching wood Tim experimented with replicating the image in different mediums, he created a photographic print, pressed clay slabs into the wood to create a ceramic relief and also created textured paper using the slice of wood.


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Topographical Map by David Reimann

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David created a three-dimensional model from an existing map of an Indian burial ground.


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Dantela 2011 by Diane Katsiaficas

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This project was created by one of the art departments faculty, Diane Katsiaficas.
This project consists of six silk organza curtains each with laser cut patterns that resemble traditional 'dantela', (lace threadwork).
Each pattern symbolizes one of six important environmental issues today.
1. Climate Change
2. Water
3. Renewable Energy
4. Waste and the necessity for reuse and recycling
5. Biodiversity
6. Protection of endangered species
Each curtain measures: 91.4 cm x 122 cm
The curtains were exhibited in the show, Design 2011: Ecology - Modern Technologies, in the Municipal Gallery of Athens, Metaxourgeio Building, Athens, Greece
Dec.15, 2011- Feb 8, 2012.


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Light is shown on the curtain to create a shadow doubling the appearance of the image creating depth.

Cut to fit

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Check out this entry on MAKE's blog: CNC Joinery Notebook. If your interested in laser cutting 3D structures this is another excellent visual guide.

BoxMaker

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BoxMaker is an excellent website where you can input dimensions and tolerances and they will generate a PDF you can edit in Illustrator to cut a notched box on a laser-cutter.


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Example Images

Tested Materials List and Laser Kerf Adjustments

3/16" white maple veneer press-board
Hand Pressure, Cut Width = 0.0125
Hammer Pressure, Cut Width = 0.015

1/4" and 1/8" Harboard
Hand Pressure, Cut Width = 0.015

Make your dream machine

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Robives provides a library of simple flash animations that illustrate various kinds of kinetic motion. If you're interested in laser cutting parts that move and transfer power, this place helps you visualize the forces that be.

Puppet Stage by Karen Haselmann

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This project was created by one of the art departments technical staff Karen Haselmann for puppeteer Anne Sawyer-Aitch. The project that the stage was designed for was awarded a 2012 grant by The Jim Henson Foundation. Laser technicians CĂ©lestine Pueringer and Anthony Kling facilitated in the operation of the laser cutter for this project.

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Beginning design and fabrication process.


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The finished piece painted and in action.


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Closeup of illuminated screen.