One of the great things about laser cutters is mass customisation, you can make lots of the same thing but customise them all to be personalised. This was just a standard bird box we bought from a store (because I didn't have time to make a whole one) but we were able to engrave names and dates on it quickly for a diamond anniversary present. The Z axis on the laser cutter drops down low enough to get the whole box under the cutting head so the process was relatively simple.
Sunday, 30 April 2017
It’s our sad news to announce that we did not successfully attract enough backers to go forward with further development and production of the vanillabox laser cutter. We’d like to thank all those who did back us (you’ve been emailed separately) and to everyone who has supported us through emails, tweets and interest during this project. As of right now, we are unsure what future the vanillabox has.
Dominic Morrow, Martin Raynsford , Ian Dickinson
Wednesday, 26 April 2017
To celebrate making 1000 different things on my blog, I made 1000 sharks in a big shark tank, we took it to Derby Maker Faire and now we're not sure what to to with it. If you would like to own the project it can now be yours, you will need to come and collect it from Nottingham and you will need a transit van to put it in (or you could just take the sharks). Please email me if you would like it, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, 23 April 2017
There are a lot of interesting floor tiling patterns that I thought it would be fun to recreate for model makers. This parquet flooring pattern is neat and efficient. All the 'planks' can be lined up and cut together from a single sheet of material ensuring all the grain runs the same way before being cut and that just adds to the effect once they have been placed. I drew the pattern on the base plate to ensure everything was lined up squarely as it was glued in to place.
Saturday, 22 April 2017
Another vanillabox sample, this time a fancy box. I wanted it to be different to all the other boxes I've made, I didn't want any visible finger joints and I wanted a fancy pattern on the sides. It's effectively a two skin box, the inner holds the finger joints and the out has the decorative panels, the lid overlaps the inner to make it stay in place. The inside of the hex pattern was engraved to make it appear to be cut from a different material (although with the two skins it could actually have been cut on the inner layer). Low power lines complete the knot work appearance. I'd be tempted to make it again as a hexagonal box so I'm going to hold the files back for the time being.
Wednesday, 19 April 2017
Another vanillabox sample piece, this time I wanted to demonstrate what could be done with a little bit of imagination. The large block of oak was cut by hand and the pattern cut into the top surface. Each ring was made by putting multiple low power cuts next to each other, this left a gap that was large/deep enough to accept a strip of metal which was hammered into place. The whole thing was sanded, varnished and polished within an inch of its life.
I was intending to write an instructable about how to do this but somebody else beat me to it so if you want to make your own inlays I would suggest you read this instead.
Monday, 17 April 2017
While making samples for the vanillabox I was keen to experiment with new/cheap materials. I modelled this vase in 3D and sliced it with 123D make (which now appears to have gone), I cut each layer in corrugated card. I actually started life as a lampshade but it didn't let enough light through so when it was flipped upside down I realised it would make a nice vase. The petals for the flowers were all cut from crepe paper using a very low power so as to minimise the burning around the edges. The petals were wrapped with floral tape and wire to create the flower shapes. At the maker faire we had to label the item because people didn't realise the flowers were laser cut.
Wednesday, 12 April 2017
A lot of work has been done to use a wax infill on engraved items to provide a high colour contrast. For this cat image I achieved the same effect using acrylic paint instead. The process is relatively simple, the acrylic was engraved and cut with the protective layer still on the sheet. The engraving was done through the cover which left some texture in the dent. The whole thing was painted black afterwards and when the paint had dried I peeled off the protective layer, essentially making my own stencil for the item I had just cut. It's a rather effective technique I'm sure you'll agree. (svg here)
Friday, 7 April 2017
My web stores have been down for some time while I've been working on other projects but I'm finally bringing out some new products (and old ones back up to speed). I've been working on a lot of game trays for the different board games we play. These Caverna trays hold all the buildings in their appropriate places making it quick and easy to set up the game. Next step is to rejig my older meeple trays to better fit the box.
Tuesday, 4 April 2017
I made a number of OpenSCAD scripts for parametrically generating boxes using the living hinges. The scripts are capable of modelling the boxes as flat pieces or assembled items and then able to export them as 2 dimensional drawings suitable for laser cutting. You can find the scripts here on github
These boxes were designed as sample models to coincide with the launch of our new vanillabox lasercutter, which hopefully explains why this blog has been a little empty over the last month.
Saturday, 1 April 2017
The vanillabox laser cutter is finally ready and we've opened up for ordering,
It's a project we've been working on for a very long time and it's consumed pretty much all of the last month but we're proud to have a full metal vanillabox laser cutter and we're currently demonstrating it at the UK Maker Faire this weekend.
If you would like more information then head over to the website and check it out.
Wednesday, 1 March 2017
I've seen a couple of wireframe lamp designs recently, they all cleverly fit into an illuminated base so you can easily change the artwork over. This was just a simple case of finding a wireframe render of a dinosaur and engraving it onto perspex. With a bit more effort I could have rendered my own wireframe from any 3D model giving this style of light lots of possibilities. (svg here)
Sunday, 19 February 2017
The digital version of Tigris and Euphrates keeps track of how much power each token has connected to it. I wanted to make similar counters for the physical version of the game, they needed to be the same size as the existing tokens but able to display the numbers 0-19.I've made gaming counters previously and I didn't really like the deep recess down to the numbers so I went back to the drawing board when designing these.
The top layer has to be as thin as possible so it's made from 0.8mm birch. The magnet has to be stuck into a layer underneath and the numbers have to be drawn on a ring attached to a third layer to bring it back up to the same height. The tokens were painted in the appropriate colour and then engraved lightly which left the wood slightly stained in the right colours. (svg here)
Saturday, 18 February 2017
While looking up the original monuments for the Tigris & Euphrates game I discovered the game is due to be released again with slightly different monuments. I made a series of Aztec style monuments for the game instead. The walls for the steps were made using 0.8mm birch and the steps from 6mm poplar (svg here)
Thursday, 16 February 2017
With a range of new pieces all that was left to do was play a game. The counter tokens work surprisingly well you just have to remember to modify them each time you lay a new tile but it quickly becomes habbit. The aztec temples go well on top of the existing tiles and quite literally add a new dimension to the board.
Wednesday, 15 February 2017
We bought the Tigris and Euphrates board game for a friend but it was missing the monuments, move forward 14 months and I finally got round to laser cutting a replacement set that look like the originals. These were cut from 12mm ply and painted to the right colours, they're functional but I should have done a better job on painting. (svg here)
The laser is useful even for silly little things like this lampshade adaptor. It's an ikea lampshade and I've totally failed to buy an adaptor on my last two visits, this time I finally got one and it disappeared in the car on the way home. 2 minutes of drawing and cutting later and I've solved the problem. Should have done this ages ago :)
Sunday, 5 February 2017
I have alluded to being pretty busy recently but I have now finished and here are the fruits of my labour. I have done the fulfilment for the Hex Terrain Toolkit for the very successful kickstarter campaign. 260 sheets of Poplar plywood cut into toolkits ready for shipping to backers. Changing the wood over every 15 minutes for the last 3 weeks has been long and tedious but there is quite a sense of accomplishment when you complete something like this.
Wednesday, 1 February 2017
I was quite taken by this Heng Balance lamp I saw on kickstarter so I decided to make myself one. I wrote an instructable about the process and sharing the files. It's pretty straight forward and now it sits happily on my wife's desk.
Saturday, 21 January 2017
Here is my first shot at a Raspberry Pi case, I took the mechanical drawings from the Pi website and used it to calculate the positions of the mounting holes and overlapping items. The Pi is held into the case with some screws (that aren't really necessary) I put some nice rounded corners onto the top and the whole top cover just clips into place so no screws.
The HDMI holes could be smaller and the power connector hole could be smaller too. It doesn't have GPIO slots yet but I'll add those as and when I need them. Now to get playing with RetroPie
Friday, 20 January 2017
I'm slowly catching up with the cyber and I now own a Raspberry Pi 3. I knocked up this case and put it into my machine to see what I liked/disliked about it. It's taken from a thingiverse case and it feels like it scaled wrongly but it's functional.
I've been cutting a lot of parts for someone else recently, running the machine for 12 hour days. Eventually I shall have photos of the massive stack of material building up in the garage but for now I keep squeezing these little projects in between other cuts. Now I'm off to make my own case.
Monday, 16 January 2017
I've got a couple of strings of WS2811 LEDs that I use for Christmas lights. They've been floating around the garage since I took them down at Christmas and they keep getting tangled up so I thought it would be handy to cut a couple of winders that I can wrap them round. There are definite improvements that could be made but I only had one shot in a busy week of laser cutting so they came out pretty well.
Sunday, 1 January 2017
I always said I wouldn't do any Carcassonne expansions after the main set took me 200 hours to draw, but I always wanted to try the Cult expansion tiles and I had a few hours free while waiting for the new year. For those that know Carcassonne cloisters have an unfortunate habit of clustering together. The cult acts exactly the same as a cloisters but if you place it next to a cloisters the first person to complete gets all the points and the other person gets nothing.
It was just a manual trace and draw operation which I did with all the other tiles but I thought it might be interesting to screen cap the process so here is the video of me drawing the tile in inkscape and you can see exactly what goes into it. It's 90 minutes of drawing compressed down into 5 minutes of video. If this is interesting for anyone then please let me know and I'll happily do some more drawing videos like it.