June 2012 Archives


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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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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".


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.



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.


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.


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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, 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.


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.


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.


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



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.



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.


The Lasersaur

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


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.


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.


Ceramic Bottles by Colleen Krick

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


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.


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.


Topographical Map by David Reimann

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