Brainstorming and Ideation

I am currently a student at the University of Minnesota, and I am taking a course (ARTS 5890) centered on creating pieces using 3D fabrication technologies. Our first project is to utilize the 2D cutting (and engraving/ rasterization) capabilities of our school’s laser cutters to construct a 3D art piece. I have mild experience in using a 3D printer, so the stacking of many layers is a familiar and alluring method I could apply to this project. In class and the following night, I began jotting down potential ideas and methodologies I would be interested in pursuing. I usually attempt to combine as many of the ideas as I can into one single project. Usually, I have to simplify certain parts as I go along due to unforeseen complications, but this way I get to explore more ideas at once. Below I will outline my first bout of brainstorming and see where that leads me.

Interesting materials: mylar, magnetic sheets, rubber, [I have a thermally reactive sheet in the mail already, and I’d like to see what materials it is made of to see if it can be safely cut.], cloth; I’ll need to check what I already have to use, too. It would also be interesting to cut two or more materials with the same parts’ patterns, so that they may be interweaved/staggered in the final piece. Obviously wood and acrylic are good options too, and resin or paint can be easily added to them.

Configuration: nesting and (angled) layering can give a depth; meta-piece made of smaller parts (fractal? i.e. small pieces form same meta-shape when connected); very gradual change across several planes to create curves; Moire screen with sliding rasterized ‘animation’; wood cut patterns to enable flexibility or stretching

Specific ideas: Kaleidoscopes could combine many of these possibilities; a desk fidget toy; mandala-inspired patterns for layering; collage of specific or various fractals; jewelry/trinket holding tree with stacked or interlocked branches for custom tree-building; hanging wind spinner or handheld twirler; many copies of same shape connected with same range-of-motion brackets or similar