2 1/2 D Object Prototype: Doggy
The purpose of this next assignment is to learn how to use the laser cutter. I have had some experience using the laser cutter, but it was wayyyy back (almost a year ago), so it is a good opportunity to recall the techniques I learned. For this project, I could either build an animal or a vehicle with the following requirements:
An animal (real or imagined) (e.g., tiger, dog, bear, dragon, unicorn, etc.)
- must be cut from a single sheet of 18" x 24" chipboard
- must not use any glue, tape, or other fastening materials to assemble
- must be able to be dissembled into pieces that can be stored flat and transported
- the animal or vehicle must be made of at least 4 individual pieces
- must make use of 1) full cuts and 2) etching and/or rastering
I decided to make a doggy that resembles my best friend for 17 years, Rocky. I wanted to make it small so that it is easy to carry around.
It contained full cuts of the body, hind legs, frisbee, and ears of the dog. I rastered the collar, name and design of the frisbee.
This was the sketch I drew on the whiteboard while ideating.
It was sort of hard visualizing where the cuts should be and how long each cut should be, but I perfected the cutout after a few times erasing and redrawing on the whiteboard.
I tested the laser cutting file using a little corner of the 2-ply matboard. The settings I used were
- 0.06 in thickness
- 2 ply matboard
- Vector cut: +15%
After cutting it for the first time, I found out that something was wrong with it. If you look closely at the photo below, you might have guessed.
I needed to flip the second body of the dog around in order for the collar to face outwards (shown below as First Iteration). I also noticed that the fit was a little tight (cut was 0.05 inches), so I scaled the image so that each slot was 0.06 inches. I proceeded to laser cut again. However, the second time was not successful because the matboard was bent in the center, so the cut did not go all the way through. I had to try a third time, increasing the intensity of the vector cutting to 17% in order to cut through. It resulted in a success (shown below as Second Iteration).
With this prototype, I conducted one testing and asked the participant to put together the pieces of the doggy cutout.
The participant really liked the design and thought it was “super cute and calming to put together”. She was only concerned about “breaking the board” because it looked fragile. I think the design in considered effective because the participant was able to complete the arrangement in less than 30 seconds.
In class, there was a showcase of all the laser cut projects, and I received a bunch of comments. They loved it — the details, how cute it was, and the elegant design — but the only suggestions was that I could make it bigger.
I had a lot of fun with this assignment, and I really like how compatible laser cutting is with drawing softwares like Adobe Illustrator. It saves a lot of time by not having to learn another software; instead, I learned new rules that applied to laser cutting in Illustrator, such as how the color and line weight changes how the machine functions. It was also really fun having the freedom to make whatever I want to!