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Laser Cutter Intro

This week’s intro to fab assignment was to make something on the laser cutter. My first idea (inspired by Paula and Ella’s work from last week) was to make a psychedelic mobile.

I went to Canal Plastics to get some material and found a reflective paper. The idea was to make the paper double sided, cut it into shapes on the laser cutter, then hang it from fishing line from a wire structure that would have a set of Christmas lights on top. I was going to try to make it wide enough that someone could stand among the pieces of paper with the lights turned off and get lost in the sparkles.

I bought some samples of the paper and brought it back to test out on the laser cutter. The paper was unmarked in the store, so I didn’t know what it was made out of. I unfortunately found out that it was made of vinyl and I couldn’t cut it on the laser. Whomp whomp.

I tried to think of another material to make my mobile out of, but nothing was coming to mind and I didn’t want to spend a lot on materials for this project. I decided to just grab some cardboard and start playing around with patterns. I ended up making some bracelets out of cardboard.

Laser cut cardboard bracelet.
Laser cut cardboard bracelet. The back laces up with twine.
A slightly different design of a laser cut cardboard bracelet. The back laces up with twine.
A slightly different design of a laser cut cardboard bracelet.
The back of the bracelets laces up with twine.
The back of the bracelets lace up with twine.

It took me several hours to get the laser cutter to print properly. First I was having a problem with my Illustrator file, so I had to redraw quite a bit of it. Then my settings weren’t properly cutting the cardboard.

In the end, I think I have a fun early prototype for some paper jewelry. Obviously the cardboard won’t hold up long on its own. I could shellac it if I wanted to take the idea further. Or I could look into using tyvek on either side of the cardboard to toughen it up.

Ben, you’ll be happy to hear that, although it was fun to use, I have not yet fallen in love with the laser cutter.

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