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.
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)
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.
Recycled Cardboard Boxes
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
- Choose the design or image who want to work with.
- This can be hand drawn or made directly in Illustrator or inkscape.
- Something simple that is a line drawing works best
- If it’s hand drawn you can scan it into illustrator and use trace setting to make it into a vector shape.
- Make sure link as outline and remove the fill color
- Choose the Material you want the stencil to be made out of (Carboard, paper, mylar are few fine choices)
- Depending on the setting of your printer make sure you know the thickness of your material.
- Send the job to your laser cutter
- 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