Project: Laser Knucks

Pretty sure these rings give you a hardware hacking multiplier…

I’ve been spending a bunch of time at Noisebridge recently, mostly in the secret hours when no one else is using the laser cutter. Ssshhhhh.

I’ll dig through the scrap bin to see if there’s any interesting material that sparks an idea—something I can design while my “real” project is cutting.

There’s lots of the usual 3mm translucent acrylic, so I came up with this quick dual-knuckle ring, which fits easily into corners of scrap.

The technique is one I haven’t seen before: cut out the ring, and also a slot that’s just the right width to hold it upright. Then, insert the ring on its bottom, re-focus the laser (very important!!! also very forgettable!!!!), and raster the top design.

You get a cool “frost” pattern from aiming the laser down into the acrylic. Every time the laser turns a corner, there’s a slight hesitation, since it has to stop moving and start in a different direction. This produces deeper and shallower points.

The first set says AD ASTRA ET CETERA, a personal motto. I just lasered a bunch of them because I figured they’d break, and because it’s pretty tough to position the laser directly over a tiny, thin rectangle. But I really liked how they stacked, so the next one had a four-ring-thick design from the start. You can scramble that one up to get an alien-looking design.

The design is purely functional: a hexagon for each finger, sized so that the flat edge-to-edge distance matches my finger diameters, and a slot connecting the two. The two are slightly different, and I can feel it when I put them on backwards.

If I grab anything too hard, the bottom piece tends to snap, but that’s because I’m hauling around luggage and stuff. I don’t want to make it thicker, because it would be less comfortable—plus, lasering is cheap, and the scrap material is free! When something like this breaks, it just encourages me to make more and experiment.

And in the meantime, it looks awesome!

PS: Rather make some custom 3D-printed knuckle rings? Check out my tutorial from 2015: