Assignments

Artifacts: Bringing History into Form

Instructable Linkscreen-shot-2019-02-18-at-7-37-59-am

“The idea becomes a machine that makes the art”

I wanted to explore this project as a speculative conceptual design projective. Where everyone outcome is going to be completely different and their even process will be different. I am inspired by the work of Sol Lewitt.

Sol LeWitt

Sol LeWitt (b.1928, Hartford, CT; d. 2007, New York) was a leading figure of Minimalism and pioneer of Conceptual art. LeWitt has been the subject of numerous one-artist exhibitions and his work is held in public collections worldwide. In 2008, MASS MoCA opened Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective, which will remain on view through 2033.

LeWitt began to create works that utilized simple and impersonal geometric forms, exploring repetition and variations of a basic form or line as a way to achieve complex works. Perhaps most importantly, he evolved a working method for creating artworks based on simple directions, works that could be executed by others rather than the artist. The fertility of this approach is demonstrated by the aesthetic richness and variety of the wall drawings, none of which were drawn by him. LeWitt rejects the notion of art as a unique and precious object. Formulated from an initial idea outlined in a diagrammatic sketch accompanied by a set of instructions, his works are installed on the wall of the gallery or museum by a team of assistants, who rigorously follow the artist’s directives. Some instructions are simple and straightforward, and some are long and complex. By placing his drawings directly on the wall of the gallery or museum, LeWitt merges his drawing with the architecture, while also calling into questions ideas about permanence, value, and conservation. – This description from Guggenheim museum.

Wall drawings

The instruction #325

sol_larry

A resulting work of #325

sol_larry

 

In the society where the newest greatest technology I wanted to explore what looking back in history and memory. If people have the technology at their finger tips what are they going to use it for. I am interested in folk version of what is interesting/important to them to bring to form.

Challenges

The main challenges for me was not having access to a space to print my laser cutter and 3d printer I wanted to create a conceptual project.

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Tools and Materials

Artifact you need to recreate

Pen or Pencil

 

Paper

Illustrator

TinkerCAD

3D Printer

Laser Cutter

 

Design Process

The design process for this project was more about compiling the work from last project and make instructions that participants can create their own Artifacts.

 

STENCILS! DIY Culture Mashup Digital and Analog

The stencil is both the image or pattern and object.

With this I wanted to explore stencil as both the process and a object/artifact.  Stencilling produces an image or pattern by applying pigment to a surface over an intermediate object with designed gaps in it which create the pattern or image by only allowing the pigment to reach some parts of the surface. The stencil is both the resulting image or pattern and the intermediate object; the context in which stencilis used makes clear which meaning is intended. In practice, the (object) stencil is usually a thin sheet of material, such as paper, plastic, wood or metal, with letters or a design cut from it, used to produce the letters or design on an underlying surface by applying pigment through the cut-out holes in the material. It’s been a important form art and design for thousands of years. How can it be brought into the digital realm. This was what I am interested in laser cutting.

The concept of this project wanted to explore simple to intricate design that could be repeated and replicated. I tried to think what I would use the laser cutter for most often and thought back to how painstaking even a simple design to cut out when creating stencils and how laser cutting could make and enhance the design I could make. This an extension of my artifact exploration because stencils are a technique that dates back 35,000 years ago and their are many design that could be brought back through the use of the process. This would also be something that is easy for replicable if someone has the write instructions. 

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The objective of this project is exploring DIY culture through digital means. Stencils are technique/tool that predates DIY culture but found a place with in it. I wanted do something that can be customizable by anyone but also useful for many applications. I also wanted to  I landed on stencils because as a student organizer we used stencils to create posters, banners and art to spread out message. It not only seen as utilitarian design tool its can easily reproduced for large scale ( military, public art, business) or small scale ( home decor, smaller scale art projects)

Japanse Textile Stencil , Engraving
Japanese Textile Stencil , Somali Window Sill , Artifact symbol noun project,

The main challenges I faced with this project was a technology barriers. During the design process I ran into few small issues with the thickness of the line and it reading it as engraving instead of cutting. I had to run through the process a  few times with the laser printer.  I ended having to lightly run through the lines with an Xacto knife to pop them out.  In the next few iteration I would maybe try a different laser cutter or thinner material Mylar plastic paper.

Materials

 

Adobe Illustrator

Laser Cutter

Recycled Cardboard Boxes

Xacto Knife

The design process was pretty straight forward. I took design that I already had from project one r ones I got from the noun project and bought them into illustrator and made sure that the lines were paths for the laser cutter to follow.  Saved them as SVG and brought  them into the laser printer.

Most of the iteration for me was tinkering around with setting in the laser cutter to make sure it was cutting all the way through.

Photo can be found here because unable to upload to blog

Simple Steps to Process

  1. Choose the design or image who want to work with.
    1. This can be hand drawn or made directly in Illustrator or inkscape. 
    2. Something simple that is a line drawing works best
    3. If it’s hand drawn you can scan it  into illustrator and use trace setting to make it into a vector shape.
    4. Make sure link as outline and remove the fill color
    5. Choose the Material you want the stencil to be made out of (Carboard, paper, mylar are few fine choices)
    6. Depending on the setting of your printer make sure you know the thickness of your material.
    7. Send the job to your laser cutter
      1. This is usually done by going to the file you are using and going to print and sending it to the laser printer or using a usb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meow Protectors

Meow Protectors; customizable cable protector
Meow Protectors; customizable cable protector

Background

A 3D printer is a great tool to print out your imaginations but it can take a long time to print large objects, so before beginning, I decided that on this project I will go for something small. Cute and useful is still my design concept but this time I also make it accessible for others to customize their own cuteness as well. The platform that I used is TinkerCAD because it is a user-friendly program that anyone can use. People can also edit the design right away on the online platform and unnecessary to download the model.

To chose what to design, I started by looking around and find any problem that can be fixed with a small object and found one. For someone who owns a smartphone, one of the common problems that can happen is a short life charging cable. After spending money on the second charging cable I tell myself, hope this will be my last. But because the cable is so fragile that can easily be damaged, just hoping and caring might not enough so I decide to create a charging cable protector.

Broken charging cable, one of the common problems of people who own a smartphone.
Broken charging cable, one of the common problems of people who own a smartphone.

Meow Protectors are customizable charging cable protectors designed for iPhone 6S and Samsung Galaxy Note 5, two kinds of phones that I have in hand but it should also work on other same size charging cables as well. If your charging cable has a different size from what I design, worry not. By changing some dimensions in the model and move some elements around, you can customize the size to fit your cables as well (see how in the design process).

Supplies

If you have the same size cable as mine, all you need are 3D printer and Filament any color you prefer. But if you want to customize the size, you need to add a ruler or a scale and your charging cable to the list as well.

Because I use the TinkerCAD online platform, you don’t need any 3D modeling program on your computer but you need the Cura LulzBot program to set up the 3D printing file.

Meow Protector's 3D Model on TinkerCAD
Meow Protector’s 3D Model on TinkerCAD

For a shortcut; you can access my TinkerCAD model here.

Design Process

First, I need to know the exact size of a cable that I design for to create a perfect hole that can hold a cable without fall but also not too tight. There are 3 important pasts that I measure which are head(the part that connects to an adapter or the phone), neck(the fat part of a cable), and body(the cable that will be covered, suggest 2 centimeters long) of the charging cable. I use boxes to draw the head and cylinders to draw the other 2 parts. Make sure that every piece lines up nicely by using the Align tool. Using different shapes to create the head part might work as well, but I want to keep it simple so it doesn’t cause a problem when I print.

Step1; Create an exact size of a cable.
Step1; Create an exact size of a cable.

Next, I design the covered part using box, roof and wedge shapes. I try to avoid a cylinder shape on the covered part because I don’t want to use any support when I print which will also save clean up time. For the top part, I can design it to be round by the reason why I keep it flat is in the decoration part. The covered part that I design is 2 millimeters bigger than the head which I believe can be reduced in the future depend on how strong the material is but for this project, I keep in this way.

Step2; Create the covered part.
Step2; Create the covered part.

Designing the hole is the hardest part of this project but it’s not that hard if you know how. After failing twice, I came up with the final design that actually works. What I did is adding 3 boxes to the cable that I designed in the first step to create holes that allow the cable to go in place. The first box is a hole for the cable’s head and neck to go through. It has the same size as the cable’s head that flip 90 degrees forward and place at the end of the head part. Other 2 boxes are for cable’s body to pass through. I place one box at the bottom front of the head part and another box on top of the body to the neck part. For the last box, I move it up one millimeter from the center of the cable’s body which will create the holding arm for the cable when it all merge together. Before grouping the hole parts, I change every shape from solids into holes and make sure again that everything lines up nicely.

Step3; Design opening.
Step3; Design opening.

Merging or grouping the hole(hole elements) and the covered part(solid elements) is an easy next step. All I need to do is make sure every part is lines up properly and hope that I make no mistake. The problem with this part is that if I make any mistake and need to ungroup them, every shape that used to be hole might change into solid and I need to change it all over again which sometimes hard to do so because that part was inside another part. Some extra thing that I add in this process is the strap holder which can be useful later on. After merging everything, the cable protector is now finished but this still not the Meow protector.

Step4; Merging holes and solids; the cable protector is now finished.
Step4; Merging holes and solids; the cable protector is now finished.

When I finish the hardest part, it is time to have some fun. Decorating part is my favorite past where I can put my imagination into the design. This part is the part that makes this project unique and people can interact with my design. I create 4 different cat’s faces from cylinders(eyes, mouth, and footprinted), boxes(whiskers and mouth), paraboloid(ears) and heart(eyes) which other people can use by place it on the cable protector. I also make a letter from the text tool which others can customize to fit their names.

Step5.1; Decorating; add a letter or cat's face, all up to you.
Step5.1; Decorating; add a letter or cat’s face, all up to you.
Step5.2; After finish decorating; do not forget to merge everything together.
Step5.2; After finish decorating; do not forget to merge everything together.

*Tips; do not put too much design on the side that will be connected to the phone because might bother you when you use it, do not put any design on the side that is floating in the air because it might cause problems when you print it and one millimeter is enough to create a pattern on the surface so you do not need to make a hole that passes through the model.

Step6; Print your protector.
Step6; Print your protector.

Now that Meow protector is done, it’s time to print. Export file from TinkerCAD is a straight forward process. All you need to do is select the part that you want to print and click Export. Choose STL file to download and open it in the Cura LulzBot program to set up the print. The material that I use is PLA(Village Plastics) on the LulzBot TAZ 6 printer. I recommended 90% infill with high detail profile for the best outcome. There is no need to generate support in this design and the printing takes about one hour to complete one set.

Learning from mistakes (Fail attempts)

 Meow protector; first, second and final designs.
Meow protector; first, second and final designs.

I struggle than I thought I would when designing this project because the object is small so it is easier to error. The error I made is 1-2 millimeters different but it is matter because this can cause the hole to be too big(loose) or too small(stuck) for the cable. When I design the hole, I tried 3 times before success in my last design. In my first attempt, I design a hole at the top of the protector for the head to go into the center and I also design a long opening for the cable to fit in but the outcome turns out to be a failer. The cable head cannot pass through the opening that I designed because the cable’s head is too long for the hole and the opening is too steep. Even if the cable can pass through the opening, the size of the horizontal hole is too small and it will make the head stuck anyway.

First attempt; it doesn't fit.
The first attempt; it doesn’t fit.

Learning from this mistake, I change my second design to a long full opening for cable to pass through the protector which is the same design idea that can be found online. I do not like this idea much because the protector might fall out easily. To prevent that I try to make it zigzag but that makes the protector easier to break. Another thing that I found out after the print is that it is easier for the upper part to sag because there is a hole between the poles that support it.

Secord attempt; still not right.
The second attempt; still not right.

That is why I design the final design that mixes the first and the second model together. The opening part for the cable is still there but I separate it with a full open for the cable’s head and flip the opening for the cable upside down so it creates a zigzag effect. The design works well but I still make a mistake, the size is not fit perfectly like my 3D model because of the error from the printer that makes the size on the base bigger than it should. So sometimes even with a perfect design you still need to clean up some part anyway.

Final design; prefect fit!
Final design; perfect fit!
Banding
Banding

 

 

 

 

 

Dear laser cutting lover,

Dear laser cutting lover,

***Note***I published my blog earlier then it disappeared. I published it again, but my photos are not appearing here. Every time I try to add media, they are not accepted, they get removed immediately. I will try again later to see if the problem is solved***

I am sharing with you my first experience with laser cutting. I enjoyed the process so much that I want to spread the benefit and joy of laser cutting with those who are interested. Before today, I was not aware of the laser cutting technology. Once I was introduced to it, I started thinking if it is available in my country of origin, Palestine, especially to local artists. The East is famed for its many forms of traditional craftsmanship, which incorporates highly detailed engraved and cut art-decorative pieces. This includes furniture making, called Arabesque. The old Arab house designs are highly decorative, with its architecture, doors, furniture, fountains, rugs, etc. The visitor there will be overwhelmed by thousands of variant handmade decorative items and souvenirs in the markets, as well as buildings and restaurants frons and interiors. Many of the newly built houses are also following in the footsteps. Knowing the importance of the engraving culture in the Middle East, I thought it would be good if laser cutting technology was available there, to help with the high demand on such items. After some research, I found out that laser cutting technology is widespread in the middle East. It is also incorporated in schools to familiarize the student with it as a fast alternative to handcraft.

The possibilities offered by the laser cutting technology as a new medium in industrial manufacturing as well as artistic production are unlimited. The design and process are easy and straightforward. Believe me, you will be surprised by the results and the things you can make using this technology. You can also laser cut and etch almost any material like wood, paper, cork, cardboard, aluminum, stainless steel, plastic, marble, stone, tile, and glass

Thus, you would be able to bring to life any concepts that you have in mind, and add to my tools of making and assist you in your creative process.

I am going to show you a step by step tutorial on how to recreate my object or use it as an example to follow in creating your object. Since my object was done as an art project, and is specific to a particular theme I am working on for my MFA thesis, you do not want to recreate the exact design. However, you can follow the instruction to recreate something similar using Arabic calligraphy or Islamic design. You can create your very own traditional Middle Eastern object using Adobe Illustrator and a laser cutting machine. You can make any kind of object, in any size: a Lantern, Jewelry box, gift box or even an art project using any Middle Eastern, Islamic decorative art or Arabic calligraphy. You might like the results that you will decide to start your own business and sell such beautiful objects. I have provided here some design examples for your use.

wooden-geometirc-islamic-decorative-wall-art-cnc-design kisspng-wall-decal-sticker-decorative-arts-islamic-pattern-5ac396c4b45160-1113360015227675567386 islamic-muslin-wallpaper-decor-round-puzzle 3875279796_71a9822d6c_b 0273217a6fa01a225db1f3f80ef76716 800px_colourbox11208334 82f3af84501a119616f3d709ab0d4512-islamic-pattern-decorative-screens

Since artists in the Middle East and all around the world have access to laser cutting machines as an industrial production tool, I found no need to make a tutorial that addresses recreating my object without a laser cutting machine. That would not be of any help since hand crafts are widespread there anyway. Instead, I have decided to make tutorial to address anyone anywhere who is interested in producing objects or art installations with Islamic decorative art or Arabic calligraphy.

Here is a helpful website that has examples of Islamic patterns. This website shows you a step by step how to draw Islamic patterns.

Patterns

If you cannot draw it, you can simply import your favourite image or drawing from the examples I provided, or the stock inventory below into Adobe Illustrator, trace it, then prepare it for laser cutting.

https://www.shutterstock.com/search/islamic+design

If you are interested in becoming a professional in the field, here are some courses that are offered in various Arab and Islamic regions such as Istanbul, Cordoba, Dubai, Marrakesh, Cairo and others.

Home

Tools you will need:

Adobe Illustrator

Baltic Birch Plywood. Any size desired depending on your project. I used 36”x24” and 18”x12” x 1/8” for my project.

Laser cutter machine

Hot glue gun

Gorilla glue or any wood glue will work

Clamps

Lights, LED candles

1’’x3/4” door hinges

Where to do it in Toronto: I did my cutting at the Rapid Prototype Centre (RPC) at OcadU. I know they do it for alumnae too, depending on their availability and the time of the year. You can call or email them:

https://www.ocadu.ca/services/studios/rapid-prototyping-centre.htm

Other resources in Toronto

https://www.hotpopfactory.com

http://www.torontolaserservices.com

https://torontotoollibrary.com/laser-cutter/

Step by Step Tutorial:

1- First decide what is it you want to create? What design? Since you are here, I understand that you are interested in making an object using Arabic Calligraphy or Islamic art. Great!

2 – Decide what material you want to use for your final products. Since my objects shown here were created using Baltic Birch Plywood, I advise you to try it. You can choose the thickness you like or what serves your end object best. However, you have to be aware that the thickness affects the price, because the thicker the material, the longer time it is going to take to cut. In addition, you have to check with the place you intend to have your piece laser cut at. Some machines can only accommodate certain material thickness and size, depending on the bed size of the laser cutting machine.

For your material, you can get it at:

http://www.thomescanada.com/baltic_birch_plywood.php

https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home.html

https://www.lowes.ca

https://www.rona.ca/en

If you go to home depot, lowes or Rona, they can cut the material to your desire.

If you are outside Canada, you can check at your local hardware and utility store.

3- Let’s assume that you want to recreate my design, but make it your own. That means you want to experiment with Arabic Calligraphy. As I mentioned earlier, my design is very specific to my thesis work. You do not want to copy anyone’s exact design and get in trouble with copy right issues. Now think of any words that have meaning to you that you want to laser cut. It could be the names of your best friends, your family, your children, a poem you wrote or like. There are several types of Arabic calligraphy, the most common are: Kufi, Ruq’ah, Diwani, Naskh, Thuluth, Taghrah, Ijazah namely Kufic. Although they are all beautiful scripts and have been long used in decorative art, I chose the Kufi for my design. After experimenting with different types, I decided this is the most suitable for my cutting project because it was the least to lose material at the negative rounded letters that would otherwise need support to keep it from falling, like when creating stencils. If you are rasterizing or engraving, then it would not really matter. That is my opinion. You could experiment yourself and see what works for you and what does not.

4- Once you have decided on the type, you can download Arabic fonts on Adobe Software. I believe you have to pay for this, unless you are a student then it is free. Please check with the computer software department at you school:

https://fonts.adobe.com/search?query=arabic&utf8=✓

https://adobeid-na1.services.adobe.com/renga-idprovider/pages/

Or you can download it for free on the following website:

https://www.myfonts.com/search/tag%3A%22Arabic+Kufi%22/fonts/

5- Download Adobe Illustrator Software to your computer. Again, you need to pay to get the software, unless you are a student as I have explained above. However, if you live in a country where copyright is not an issue, I am sure you can buy a copy for very cheap, or even download it from a friend or a website for free.

Now, once you have your font and your software, you are all set and ready to go. Let the fun begin!

6-Since you have decided on the final look of you design, now set to work. Open your illustrator. then try playing with the tools to familiarize yourself with the software. Since this design is mainly text, it should be very easy to accomplish using simple tools, mainly the selection tool.

7- Opened a new document

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8- entre the size of our wood panel with the correct orientation. For example, since my work was in a portrait orientation, I put my dimensions as follows: 24”x36”.

9- Now start typing your words. I know this is hard if you do not know Arabic, which likely is the case. In this case, I would advise using google translate if you are using names or simple words. However, I would not recommend this if you are writing a full text, because google translate is not accurate, therefore, cannot be trusted. In this case, you might want to ask an Arabic speaker you know, or pay for the service. If it is a simple task, you might spend some extra time learning some basic Arabic. This might be helpful and practical if you are planning to do more similar work in the future. You can find many free Arabic language tutorials online. Here is a link to one:

http://www.arabic-course.com/arabic-alphabet.html

text4

10- Once you have your text, now you need to cut your work plane into four equal sections. Use the ruler at the top of your page; drag it to the middle to divide your page into two halves vertically. In this case, it is 12’’. Then do the same to divide your page horizontally, in this case, 18”.

11- Now using the selection tool to the left of your screen, select all your text and copy and paste it in each of the four sections with different orders. It is totally up to you; you can have different text in each section; it can be the same repetitive text but starting from different part each time like I did with my text. You can play around however you like it.

screen-shot-2019-02-09-at-3-31-51-pm

12- To prepare your text for laser cutting, change the colour of the lines to blue. Then change the text into lines only and change the font colour into red.This is for the laser cutting machine to cut each type separately, the edge lines then the text lines.

13- You may consider adding an image to your design. You have two options:

A linear image: That is called itching. In this case,
– go to file, import the image you want to include in your design

-using the tracing tool, trace your image, then delete the rest of the details.

-you can also do that by selecting the picture with the selection tool then choose linear only tool.

-Now you have your image as a linear background. It looks like a map. This might work if mapping is what you are interested in.

B- If you want to experiment with all aspects of the process, you might want to try rasterizing or engraving your image into the material. You have to be aware that this is going to be much more expensive. You also have to check with the place you are considering to laser cut at, because not all machine can do engraving. Some only use vector setting and do cutting and etching only, which would be suitable for your option “A”.

screen-shot-2019-02-09-at-3-30-35-pm

To prepare an image for rasterising:

-Export your intended photo in photoshop.

-Select Image, colour adjustment, black and white. Move the toning bars until you reach satisfying tones of greys in your image.

-alternatively, go to Image, rasterize.

-File, save as, close

-Now go to your Adobe Illustrator, file, export image into your design.

-Copy and paste the image into the four sections. You might want to experiment first with a small size due to the high cost of the image rasterizing.

Tip: Do not use your image as is, otherwise the engraving would fail. Instead of engraving the picture, the machine will replace the picture with a blank square engraved into the wood.

screen-shot-2019-02-09-at-3-21-17-pm

C- You might want to add a decorative design like the ones I attached above to replace the picture. Ou can do so by importing the design into Adobe Illustrator, then line trace it, and prepare it for laser cutting or engraving as instructed.

14- Align your text and centre the images

15- Save your design, copy it into a USB key, then take it to the laser cutting centre in your area.

16- Once your project is ready to pick up, now it is time to assemble the parts together. If you are making a lantern or a box for example, you can first use hot glue gun to see how it works before applying permanentwood glue.

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17- You will need to clamp your pieces to insure accuracy.

img_7747 img_7748 img_7749

18 -You ca also consider alternative connection methods like small door hinges to connect your pieces together.

img_7757

19- Instead of using screws to fix the hinges, consider gluing those to the wood to avoid possible damage that can result from drilling holes into the piece, which can also interfere with the design cuts. This would work best if you are working with thin material. Otherwise, the screws of the hinges would pop out, preventing the flexibility of the different parts thus defying the multifunctionality of the piece. If you still want holes to fix your parts, you can also plan to incorporate the screw holes into the design to have them laser cut.

20- If are making a room divider door, use door hinges.

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21- You can assemble your pieces to be multifunctional. It can be two types of decorative pieces that you can use for various occasions or moods. In this case, I would advise you to use the door hinges instead of glue. This way you can use your piece as both a lantern and decorative door divider. When making the big object, I had in mind an installation piece, however, I also wanted it to be functional. I thought what would I do with such a huge piece when the art show is done? I had to think of alternatives. That is how I thought of a room divider. When the show is over, you can use it, or sell it as an artistic divider. After putting the pieces together, the screws were popping at the back, preventing the doors from folding in the desired order. To resolve this, I cut the remnants of the screws in the back.

img_7762

18-Once your pieces were assembled, you can experiment with projecting light from the large piece in different directions. You can also make a roof piece to project light to the ceiling, depending on your liking. The text is projected on the large walls around. You can also try LED candles or even buy a revolving disco light that can move around and project the light in every direction, whatever your taste and mode.

img_7764

19- You can use the same principle to create stencils for multiple usages. You can for example, make stencils of words in any language you like, patterns or designs, then fix them to your painting surface and spray paint them as many times as you want to receive the desired effect.

img_7741 img_7758

I am sure you will enjoy the process of laser cutting all the way from the concept to design to fabrication, to final product. You will be able to make it with limited experience and a basic knowledge of the software.

Pros and Cons:

Pros: The laser cutting technology is fast and time saving. It is a great alternative for the strenuous hand-work which can take ages to finish. This is an instance where you will appreciate technology replacing the hand-made. Plus, laser cutting provides clean final work which can be very tricky and sometimes hard to achieve by hand. In addition, it is amazing how various types of technologies can intertwine and combine together to produce new functional and artistic objects, and how a simple design using computer software can transform things.

It is of a great help when you want to make a unique object that is only your own, or an object that you have in your head, but is not available at your hand reach. You will also feel great as you will turn into a maker who can make interesting objects.

Cons: laser cutting is very costly if you want to do detailed and large work. In contrast, handmade cutting takes so many hours of labour, which might be costlier; and precision might be hard to achieve. Additionally, it can be hard to achieve your concepts if you are not design software friendly; in this case you might want to hire a designer.

Both the traditional and digital methods can fail. If you are hand cutting or engraving, you are making cuts into the material. Therefore, once a mistake is done, it is irreversible. Same can apply for laser cutting. AS an example, your engraving can fail if your design is not carefully prepared for the machine, or if it is not read properly by the machine.

Challenges:

I will post here the challenges I had designing and fabricating my object so you can avoid or know how to overcome similar challenges that might arise.

My first challenge was trying to figure out how the tools of the Adobe Illustrator work.

My second challenge was developed due to using Arabic text, which was not fully supported by the Adobe Illustrator program. Whatever text I wrote, it would come out reversed. The program is treating Arabic letters as English letters. Thus, they are separated and are reversed from left to right.After some research, I found out that this is in fact a common problem with all of Adobe applications. To overcome this problem, I research and used Arabic text reverser. I then copied the text in reversed letters order into Adobe Illustrator, which in turn reversed it into the correct form.

My third challenge was the type of font I needed: Arabic calligraphy. It took me hours of unfruitful research. I was finally able to download the fonts I need from Adobe anduse Kufic and apply it to my design.

A reference that you will benefit from:

https://www.joyoflasercutting.com/getting-started

img_8014img_8011 img_8012 img_8013

Some jewelry boxes I bought from Syria and Egypt. Now I can make my own. You can too!

 

IncenseBurn

Context

Raised in the Arab world exposes you to a very different visual experience from the rest of the world. There is something specific about the visual culture of the Middle East and how people express their creativity within that culture, it comes from a long history of culture and art mixing. Religion also has played a big part in shaping that visual culture and moulding it to become something of its own, different, yet art. One of the main impacts religion had is the banning of representations of people whether in painting or sculpting. This was an important step because it led art in the region in a completely different direction. This led to the ruling powers, who commissioned most of the art, to look for an alternative type of art, which led to the growth of geometry and calligraphy in the art and developed to reach unprecedented stages in their complexity and beauty. As an artist who grew up in the Arab world and impacted greatly by that visual culture, I also find a lot of beauty in geometry and calligraphy, and so I wanted to use this experiment as an opportunity to create a DIY object that celebrates that form of art.

Left to right: 1. Window patterns from Sheikh Lotfullah Mosque in Iran. 2. Intricate geometric patterns in Imam Hussein Mosque in Iraq. 3. Arabic calligraphy from Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem. 4. Arabic calligraphy from Al Hambra in Spain.
Left to right: 1. Window patterns from Sheikh Lotfullah Mosque in Iran. 2. Intricate geometric patterns in Imam Hussein Mosque in Iraq. 3. Arabic calligraphy from Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem. 4. Arabic calligraphy from Al Hambra in Spain.

My object is an incense burner, that has an Arabic/Islamic geometry pattern laser cut, in order to let the aroma of the incense sticks spread in the room. The reason I chose an incense burner is the fact that it is used in so many Middle Eastern houses and has been for generations. The burner has a lot of significance; it can be for religious purposes as inviting good energy (or spirits), or it can be for health purposes since many aromas have health benefits if inhaled, or it can also be for simply perfuming the room. In any case, incense burners are usually very decorated with more or less traditional designs.

UPDATED

Method of Dissemination

Link to my project

I decided to use Instructables as my dissemination tool because of its popularity in the DIY field and its detailed professional approach to DIY projects. The site has thousands of designs created by all kinds of professionals and hobbyists.

Instructables page
Instructables page

Advantages
Instructables has a very functional design layout and method of showing information. It divides the page into steps, with images to support the text, and links to downloadable files that are placed near the relevant information. This makes much easier for the users to access and follow the instructions step by step.

Instructables is also one of the most important DIY sites today. It has a lot of traffic and credibility in the DIY field.

Disadvantages
Instructables does not handle images very well. Editing the images to fit the layout of the page is important and proved to be time-consuming because uploading to the servers takes time.

Also, Instructables allows very limited editing to the layout, so I felt constrained by the tool.

DIY Files

Rendered image of all 4 designs
High resolution rendered image of all 4 designs
4 ready designs!
4 ready designs!

For this step of IncenseBurn, I decided to expand the scope of this project. The main limitation of the first attempt was the limitation of the design, only one design was available and people had to stick to this design. This time however, I decided to create three more designs that are rendered and tested to make sure they can go through the laser cutter without any deformations. I also added an editor, which allows the users to edit the designs that I provide.  Finally, I also added a Pattern Builder file, which has detailed instructions on how to create custom patterns and create a new IncenseBurn design. So, the downloadable files are now 6 files: 

  1. Pattern 1

    Pattern 1
    Pattern 1
  2. Pattern 2

    Pattern 2
    Pattern 2
  3. Pattern 3

    Pattern 3
    Pattern 3
  4. Pattern 4

    Pattern 4
    Pattern 4
  5. Editor

    Pattern Editor - Interface
    Pattern Editor – Interface
  6. Pattern Builder
    Pattern Builder Interface
    Pattern Builder Interface

    Pattern Builder - Layers
    Pattern Builder – Layers

Objective

The goal for creating IncenseBurn boxes is to allow users to not only rely on purchasing things they need but also have the option of building many things using tools that they can have access to. Initially, IncenseBurn was a single design incense box, which allowed users to avoid buying a new one and instead make one for very cheap.

In addition to that, I wanted to raise the scope for this project in order to give it a longer life online, and allow the users to have some fun with creating their own IncenseBurn box. So, by adding more designs and a tool that gives the users the freedom to create any design, IncenseBurn will be able to be relevant for more people over a longer period of time.

Design Process

Geometric Patterns
For this version of IncenseBurn, I widened the options for the geometric patterns. Previously, I decided to use Islamic patterns, which now I added to several other options that can relate to more people globally.

From left to right is the process I went through to draw this pattern.
From left to right is the process I went through to draw this pattern.

The patterns I created for the ready-made files are based on simple geometric shapes that are repeated and overlayed until it reached a level of complexity I was happy with. I attempted to widen my styles as much as possible in order to fit as many people’s needs as possible. I also wanted to use the pattern builder tool to make those patterns and so all those patterns are made using the pattern building tool provided in the package.

DIY User Experience

The DIY experience I wanted for this iteration is much more complex and rich than the previous one. The reason is that I wanted to add customization to my approach, which takes a lot of trial and error. So, after trying several different approaches on how I want to deliver this DIY project to as many people as possible is to use visuals, simple instructions, and friendly design. 

For the ready designs, simple 3-step instructions, supported by simple visuals to communicate the messages clearly and quickly.

A graphic instructions guide for the DIY project
A graphic instructions guide for the DIY project

The Pattern Building, on the other hand, requires more instructions and more levels of complexity. However, I still wanted the instructions to be as visual as possible to make it easier. So, I created a detailed instructions page that explains exactly how to use the tool and how to create new patterns and insert them into the original templates.

Pattern Builder - Instructions A
Pattern Builder – Instructions A
Pattern Builder - Instruction B
Pattern Builder – Instruction B
Pattern Builder - Window Styles
Pattern Builder – Window Styles
Pattern Builder - Layers. The user can remove/add visibility from layers as needed
Pattern Builder – Layers. The user can remove/add visibility from layers as needed

I decided to use the layers functionality in illustrator to allow the user to toggle between layers and place the items they want on the Illustrator artboard while removing or changing or simply remove them from visibility. I’ve used this method before to create templates in my previous jobs and I noticed that it is a tool that is not often used but offers a lot of flexibility for the users, without hindering the design elements.

This makes sure that users have the right information to use the tools.

 

Critical Analysis

Even though the design were all tested and rendered in Autodesk, since I was not able to perform a laser cut myself, this is still considered a theoretical design. So, my next step is to laser cut this as soon as possible and make changes based on the analysis of the assembled object.

Given my background in tattooing and calligraphy, I have a lot of experience in creating new patterns and use them in my designs. I believe the pattern editor tool has a lot of potential for becoming a widely used tool. It opens many doors for IncenseBurn and extends its lifetime because it is a very effective tool for building patterns quickly and without the lengthy process of doing it from scratch.

 

Tools & Materials Used

Illustrator
Vector drawing is essential to DIY projects because it is scalable and without it, the DIY project will remain limited. Vector and Illustrator go hand-in-hand in my opinion, and I’ve been an illustrator user for over 15 years now and still is my first go-to software for any vector related processes. Breaking down Illustrator to its most useful tools is an unrealistic feat because there are always many ways to do the same thing with Illustrator. So I’d rather discuss my personal favourite tools and how I used them in this project.

Pathfinder: In my opinion, one of the most useful tools offered by Illustrator and has remained almost unchanged for so many versions of the software. I use it to unify or split objects and to create die-cuts.

Clipping Mask: Another extremely useful tool offered by Illustrator. Its most commonly used to create a specific frame for another object or pattern.

Autodesk Fusion360
During the process of creating this project, a few tools came in very handy and were essential for completing this project. Fusion 360 has the ability to process an SVG file, customize it and then render it. That allowed me to test my designs before running them in the machine and allowed me to fix mistakes before performing the first prototype. In a way, Fusion360 gave me the opportunity to view a very accurate digital prototype, which was extremely useful.

MakerCase
Also, another useful tool that was introduced to me is MakerCase. It is a web tool that allows the user to create and download an SVG file of a box with customizable dimensions and edge joints. I was in the middle of the process of creating these edges manually, but MakerCase does this and within seconds delivers the file.

Resources

  1. Abdullahi, Y., & Bin Embi, M. R. (2013, June 18). Evolution of Islamic geometric patterns. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095263513000216
  2. The Divine Beauty of Islamic Art. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://languages.oberlin.edu/blogs/relg270/the-divine-beauty-of-islamic-art/
  3. Badillo, S. (2018, April 04). First Islamic Arts Symposium in Texas. Retrieved from https://planoprofile.com/2018/04/04/islamic-arts-symposium-texas/

DIY Customizable Medical Alert Bracelet

DIY Medic Alert Bracelet
Digital Fabrication
Olivia Prior

Thingiverse Dissemination

Customized medical alert bracelet.
Customized medical alert bracelet.

Concept

MedicAlert Bracelets are a medical recommendation for people who are at risk for a sudden onset medical emergency. The MedicAlert device is worn around an easily accessible pulse point, most often the wrist, and provides important medical information. The most commonly applied use case for MedicAlert bracelets are for allergy indicators, and as well providing information on whether or not the individual carries an EpiPen. Other use cases for MedicAlert bracelets are for those who have diabetes and are at risk of going into a diabetic shock, and asthma with providing information on inhalers in case of an asthma attack. Often MedicAlert bracelets are given to children or those who may not be fully capable of communicating their medical needs in a time of an emergency.

MedicAlert bracelets come in various styles and price ranges but can be costly if lost, or if in need of updating medical information. This project seeks to make an accessible and cost-effective design for those who may opt out of having a MedicAlert bracelet due to cost, style, or fit. The following text provides information on how to adopt pre-designed bracelets and update them to hold medical information on a flat faceplate, as in the traditional style of MedicAlert bracelet. This design examines and questions the monopoly of MedicAlert bracelets, and offers suggestions on how the medical system or pharmacies can adopt 3D printing technologies to provide alert bracelets to patients in the same vein as prescriptions or giving a health care card.

Objective & Critique

Through design-based research, I wanted to critique and challenge the “Big Pharma” capitalization on medical alert bracelets. Medical alert bracelets were designed to give fast and easy access to personal medical information for those helping someone in amidst of an allergy attack. The ownership of bracelets are often encouraged by medical professionals and thus can be covered under medical insurance policies. In the case that someone does not have an insurance policy, they will have to pay personally for the device with no insurance compensation. These bracelets can be costly depending on the style or material chosen, and ultimately many chose to go without one.

The concept of a MedicAlert bracelet is questioned and critiqued in the allergy community with such questions as “if you are having an allergy attack, is the first thing going to be to check someone’s wrist or call an ambulance?”. Many wearers describe that though calling for medical attention this is the more realistic reaction, there is a comfort for their personal safety that comes in wearing the bracelet. If one loses the bracelet and is unable to replace it then this personals safety is lost. Though the MedicAlert bracelet is not a required device for the safety of those who are at risk for a sudden onset emergency, the bracelet still provides comfort and information if they are unconscious and cannot talk for themselves.

The style for medical alert bracelets are changing as bracelets frequently worn on wrists are at risk for falling off, getting snagged and snapping on materials, irritating skin, or simply the wearer dislikes the aesthetics of bracelets. Other alternatives that have been offered are medical alert shoelaces, necklaces, earrings, and USB sticks. A new popular method is to keep the medical alert information on the background of a mobile phone lock screen. Although there are issues with these designs as they do not follow the purpose of the bracelet design which was to be close to a pulse point. This furthers the critique from the allergy communities: medical alert items are unnecessary recommendations from doctors in cases where they are not placed in expected places. The MedicAlert bracelet started the design pattern of wearing the alert on the wrist and choosing new forms to wear the alerts may detract from their purpose of offering quick information. In this case, it goes back to the comment of providing personal comfort and safety for the wearer.

My objective was to make an easily adaptable print so that those who want the personal affirmation of the bracelet and the extra safety that can be afforded from wearing them have the ability to customize and fabricate a device for themselves. I wanted to explore single piece print patterns and free accessible customization software such as TinkerCad for the ease of the user. My design project focusses on the process of taking pre-designed files and adapting them to the fit and aesthetic of the user.

Process

The methods below can be applied to any other pre-designed file. For the purpose of this demonstration, and as is the most common design pattern for medical alerts, I chose to use a bracelet.

  1. Find a bracelet file that suits your need

I went to Thingiverse and found a flat chain bracelet. This design is a single print design which means that the chain is printed to be flexible and fluid without any assembly required. The file as well includes a design for three different sizes of the bracelet. The different chain lengths allow for the ability to customize to the fit of the wearer.

I clicked the download file and saved the file to my desktop.

Find the design you want to adopt
Find the design you want to adopt

2)  Import file into TinkerCad

The file should load into TinkerCad as one full entity. The file I had downloaded from Thingiverse gave me three size options, so I chose the medium one. If you try and click on a certain face to manipulate the surface, instead TinkerCad will read the entire object as one whole piece (or known as a body).

Import file into TinkerCad
Import file into TinkerCad

3) Remove part of the chain

Our first step is to add a flat plate to insert the medical information onto a readable face.  Because the chain is one full unit, the best technique is to remove a section of the bracelet that is the size of a plate, and then fully insert the face of the plate into that space.

I made a cube that I centred using the grid guidelines on the screen. Once I found a spot I liked I changed the cube from solid to a hole. Once the cube is a hole, you can group the items together ultimately splitting the bracelet into “two”.

Place cube in the place you would like to divide the bracelet.
Place cube in the place you would like to divide the bracelet.
Change the state of the cube to a hole, then group the bracelet and the cube. Once you have done that the bracelet will be divided into two parts.
Change the state of the cube to a hole, then group the bracelet and the cube. Once you have done that the bracelet will be divided into two parts.

4) Add in a faceplate

Make a cube that will fit and touch the edges of the bracelet on either side. It is crucial to make sure that the pieces of the bracelet touch the cube because that will be what attaches the plate to the chain. I chose to round the edges of the cube and lower the height to make it more even with the rest of the chain.

Add the a cube and alter the dimensions until it is the size and aesthetic you want. Make sure that the edges of the bracelet are touching the shape!
Add the cube and alter the dimensions until it is the size and aesthetic you want. Make sure that the edges of the bracelet are touching the shape!

I copied the same shape for the faceplate and pasted it. I then countersank the piece into the faceplate by making the shape slightly smaller and inserted it into the faceplate. I switched the content of the second shape from solid to a hole, grouped the objects, and now I have an offset edge.

I inset the shape to create a ridge around the faceplate for aesthetics.
I countersank the shape to create a ridge around the faceplate for aesthetics.

5) Add text

Click the text tool. Here a big item saying “TEXT” will show on the grid. Type in what you want the medical alert bracelet to say. Once you have, reduce the size of the text so that it will fit onto the faceplate.

How the text automatically shows up upon adding the text object.
How the text automatically shows up upon adding the text object.

Change the height of the text. In doing so you will add some dimension to the text. This is important because we are going to use the same technique as we did for countersinking the faceplate. Take the text and lower it in slightly into the faceplate and change the state of the text from solid to hole. This should sink the text into the faceplate, which will give an engraved appearance when printing it out on the 3D printer.

Inset the text in the same we we inset the ridge on the faceplate.
Inset the text in the same way the ridge on the faceplate was inset.

Copy and paste this text so you have the same dimensions, placement, and height and change the text to what you want to say next. I chose to list some allergies, and then repeated the step to indicate that I have an EpiPen.

Repeat the steps until all of the information you want it there and available. Then group the text together.
Repeat the steps until all of the information you want it there and available. Then group the text together.

6) Export this file to your desired 3D printing software of choice

Full view of the medical alert bracelet customized in TinkerCad.
Full view of the medical alert bracelet customized in TinkerCad.

I have yet to print out this bracelet. Alter your printing settings to a higher quality print so that the small engraved text is at the highest possible resolution.

7) Remake and update as necessary

Allergies and styles change, and items get lost. Open up this file in TinkerCad whenever needed to update the style, information, or to make a different size if needed. This tutorial teaches you the basics of adopting an existing design and “remixing” it for your customizable medical purposes.

Challenges

I had two main challenges for this assignment. The first, through my research, was deciding on whether or not designing a medical alert bracelet would be a strong enough critical design. The attitude from the allergy community was negative and showed more support towards using phones as medic alert replacements. This is because the devices are ubiquitous and often easily found on a person. Through personal connections and conversations with those who suffer from severe allergies, I chose to go forth with the customizable design of the bracelet. The bracelet is a common visual sign for those around to be careful about what they consume, and as well it is taught in schools as a visual reference for children on the playground.

Children were another consideration in pursuing this design. Children grow quickly, with changing allergies, and losing or breaking items through play. Additionally, children may have access to phones, but may not have them at all times. The bracelet design seemed like an accessible cost-effective way to allow for multiple iterations and prints of the alerts. Parents could confidently send their kid to school and if the bracelet breaks they could cost-effectively order a new one.

My second challenge was adopting the design. The design I had chosen from Thingiverse was a mesh object. My previous CAD experience was based around primitive objects, like in AutoCad’s TinkerCad and Fusion 360. Importing the mesh object into fusion 360 and attempting to manipulate the chain by simply splitting the body seemed near impossible with the power of my computer. Rather than learning new software, I wanted to think of accessible ways someone could read this tutorial and think about customizing other objects that could be used for the same purpose. As in my research, I found that bracelets, though the most common, were not viewed as fondly and other alternatives for wearing the devices were frequently being designed. I then chose to focus my project on how to best make this use case apply to other items regardless of the base design. 

I did not have time to print out my object on a 3D printer. Through my research and design goal, having a finished product at the end was not my primary objective. The main focus of this design critique was to create a method and accessible strategy for those to research and find single print objects that they can remix through TinkerCad. This allows for full customizability on how someone would like the wear their medical alert item.

Conclusion

Medical alert bracelets are not necessary but comforting for those who wear them. They provide physical safety for the wearer and a send out a visual message of caution to the community. As cost can be a barrier for initial purchasing or updating a medical alert bracelet, looking into DIY accessible solutions provides more safety and care for those without the privilege of a health care plan, or a medical condition deemed severe enough to warrant coverage. This design offers accessibility in two different ways: the first is allowing an open source single print design gives accessibility in attaining the object in a cost-effective manner. The second is the customizability of the tutorial. If someone is not interested in wearing a bracelet, the tutorial offered can be used to create other types of medical alert items to be worn. This 3D printing tutorial can be adopted in many different ways to allow for the customization and accessibility of bespoke custom sized items fitted uniquely to each user with their own information. Overall, this design aims to be as flexible as needed by offering minimal assembly and maximum customizability.

Research and References

Haphazard Experiments in Laser Cutting

Thingverse Files: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3432626

For this assignment I wanted to use the opportunity to explore laser cutting in a new way, while meeting the requirement of the course and creating something that might be useable as part of my thesis work. But also I love cats.

So I decided to do smaller scale projects/experiments:

A laser cut valentine’s day clock of our cats for my partner, and some laser cut cards that I plan on using as part of my thesis exhibition.

As of this writing, one set of the cards have been cut, the cat clock has not.

 

The cards:

Designing and laying out the first card was no problem as I already knew what text I wanted to use and how it should look. The second card “Your tolerance is not a gift” was harder as I wanted to use an organic looking visual style that would be referential of a card that would accompany a gift at a wedding, baby shower, etc.

In terms of a critical component, the content and messaging of these cards is quite critical. On a more consumer fabrication front, this was a great way for me to use and repurpose a blank set of cards that an ex had left behind years ago. The digital fabrication tools allowed me to do something with these cards that I would never be able to do by hand.

img_9509

The first round of cards had to be completely redesigned, in fact, I still haven’t found a script font that doesn’t drop out the “O” entirely. I’ve been advised the best way to tackle this in future is to hand/pen tool the font manually.

For the “I don’t know how to tell you that you should care about other people” card, I eventually found a stencil font that kind of worked.

img_9517

However, I still lost the “e” and I really don’t love the look of stencil fonts.

Also, the text should have read “I don’t know how to explain to you that you should care about other people” 🙁  So this will be a redo all around, but at least I’m more prepared for it.

I did also get some final lettering cut in this time that went really well, I also reprinted the Sir John A model and it’s looking good. So…progress?

img_9426

 

The Cat Clock

I designed the rough size of the clock to make use of some materials I had laying around: a piece of acrylic and a sheet of balsa.

img_9530

Because I had these two materials I made two versions, with the acrylic one having some rastering instead of just straight cuts.

We have two fat Ragdoll cats and fortunately their breed is unique looking enough that I was able to find usable images by just googling “ragdoll cat silhouettes”

49178135_10102657311135189_7115919811925770240_n-copy

tommystand

Above: Tommy, the dumb.

I then used image trace in Illustrator to isolate the cat bodies, then used the pathfinder tool to merge the cat shapes with a clock shape I created using the elliptical tool.

img_9532

This was also a great opportunity for me to passive-aggressively express my feelings by putting Roller the superior cat, on the top of the clock and make Tommy look at his butt. I included a full body cut of Tommy (bottom of clock) that I could place on top of the clock face or potentially off set from it as a 3D object. The other cat shapes are just for fun and to use up the wood.

img_9533

The acrylic clock was made a bit smaller and I decided to raster the clock face numbers, as well as raster, then cut out full body versions of the cats on the clock to layer on top after the fact. Plus one extra cat for fun.

Note: the red lines indicate a laser cut, any areas filled with black will be rastered.

 

Materials Used:

Old balsa wood 18×14 inches

Old piece of acrylic 10×11 inches

Cat clip art from the internet

Software:

Adobe Illustrator

Hardware:

Laser Cutter

Computer

 

The AI files are on illustrator and are fully editable by anyone with the appropriate software.

Cardboard Furniture

Cardboard Furniture


Figure 1: Corrugated Cardboard Chair

Link to Instructables here.

This experiment is a direct continuation from Project 2’s CNC End Table. CNC furniture is cut using a Computer Numeric Control machine or the previous example, a laser cutter. The main element of this furniture is that it is designed to use minimal supplies and no fasteners by using a series of joints bound by tension and compression.

Keeping the central idea of open source furniture and accessible materials and construction methods, this experiment expands on Project #2 and introduces cardboard as a building material. Although, initially not expected to be the most appealing of materials, in actuality cardboard is becoming increasingly popular, especially given its sustainable credentials. Cardboard is fully recyclable and is made predominantly from recycled paper products. It can also be printed on in any colour and pattern adding to the diversity of possible designs.

Inspired by a series of Frank Gehry’s furniture design from the 1970s, Easy Edges. This is a short introduction to the versatility of corrugated cardboard and its application as a material deserving of our attention in our living spaces. By laser cutting and layering a shape repeatedly this project demonstrates that cardboard is a suitable material for everyday use.

In a utopic society, I would hope that the common person would be encouraged to use eco-friendly/degradable materials, as well as be enabled to construct them for themselves by general access to laser cut machines and open source design plans.

Design Concept

For this experiment, multiple furniture objects will be experimented with. We will explore this concept of corrugated cardboard furniture and examine the fabrication of an end table, ottoman, chair and bench structures.


Figure 2: Chair A by Lucien Engels (1957)

For this example, Chair A by Lucien Engels (see Figure 2) was chosen as the reference piece to make into a corrugated cardboard artifact. The chair was selected for its simple shape and acute angles that both communicates a certain amount of character and form which is conventional enough for use of the building material of cardboard. Ultimately, the basis of any reference should be a form that when extruded, results in a definitive form that achieves its purpose, in this case a chair– requiring a seat and a backrest for the user.


Figure 3: Adobe Illustrator Artboard: Construction of The Chair Cross Sectional Piece

As shown above, the side view of the chair is the extent of the design process for this example. It is up to the user to decide the amount of cross sections that will be imposed/layered upon each other to result in their furniture object, i.e. chair vs. bench (see Figure 4).

Figure 4: TinkerCAD Window of 2D Cross Section, repeated into a 3D Form.

In this example, TinkerCAD is used to essentially create the render of what is to be expected for the final physical product to look like after laser cutting the cardboard material.

As demonstrated in Figure 4, the 2D shape can be extruded by layering itself repeatedly and can be made into an assortment of seating objects. Depending on the amount of cardboard cross sections used, a chair or even a bench can be made from the initial 2D shape. This is the customization option for the user, it is for them to recognize that whichever shape they decide upon for their cross section it can be extruded out as needed to accommodate more people.

Objective

The objective for this experiment is to explore the material of cardboard as a sustainable alternative to current non-degradable construction materials used commonly in postmodern furniture design. Additionally, the goal is to create a proof of concept of layering cross section pieces into a useable furniture object.

To build upon Project 2’s CNC idealism, I see an amazing opportunity for laser cut furniture. Taking last experiment one step farther, not only using wooden materials, but to build using a material as universally accessible as cardboard, I believe aligns with the ultimate idealism for sustainable furniture design. Not only is the logistical network of shipping and warehousing abolished by this method, but also the need for the fabrication of complex non-biodegradable materials. A movement towards an open source library for cardboard furniture designs could possibly help contribute to global sustainability goals.

Challenges

Given the limited access to a laser cutter at OCAD, I was forced to improvise using a drafting scalpel and cutting board to create a scaled cardboard furniture object. Because of some the curves and complexity of the chair shape, I opted to recreate Frank Gehry’s ottoman and end table sets from his 1970s Easy Edges label. As shown in TinkerCAD render from Figure 5 the form is extremely simple as its central design element is a square with a hollowed-out centre, simple enough to cut by hand.

Figure 5: TinkerCAD Render of the Cardboard Ottoman and End Table Set

Admittedly, this would not be an ideal method of construction if the user did not have access to a laser cutter. I noticed that even with precise measurements, I was still subject to human error and some of my cross sectional pieces did not align perfectly.


Figure 6a and Figure 6b: Construction of the scaled Cardboard Ottoman

The binding process was less than ideal, as well. Although the glue proved to be an adequate adhesive for the cardboard cross sections, it was quite messy and a good amount of glue would leak out when compressing the pieces together. If this was to actual scale, I would predict this being an issue with the construction method. In Frank Gehry’s Easy Edges, this part of the fabrication is automated, however in my proposal it would be the responsibility of the user–which in some cases may be cumbersome for them todo accurately and efficiently.

Tools and Materials

  • Moleskin notepad
  • Ink pen
  • Pencil
  • Drafting scalpel
  • Ruler
  • Elmer’s transparent glue
  • TinkerCAD
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Laser cutter
  • 1/8″ thick corrugated cardboard

Design Process

The design process for this experiment was fairly simple in comparison to last project’s CNC Furniture. No longer does the user have to consider joints that operate under compression and tension, but they only have to consider the 2D side-view of their object.

This results in a more accessible design process for users who could be unfamiliar or less versed in furniture design. The on-boarding for people to explore this method of design would be fairly simple.


Figure 7: Cross Sections of the Frank Gehry Easy Edges Ottoman and End Tables

As demonstrated above (see Figure 7) these are the cross section pieces that are repeated to fabricate the Frank Gehry inspired Ottoman and two end tables, respectively.

The user has to consider what the 2D shape would look like once extruded into 3D form, but otherwise the process is simple.

Research and References

  • https://www.moma.org/collection/works/86473
  • https://www.vintage-design-point.be/
  • https://www.instructables.com/id/Cardboard-Furniture-2/
  • https://www.tinkercad.com