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Draw the Line

February 4, 2019




For this project I wanted to explore digital touch in relationship to natural organisms. I began my drawing for this laser-cut project by inserting photos into Rhino using the PictureFrame command. I alternated between Polygon and Control Point Curve commands.

It became very clear to be me how much time this process was going to take, so I opted to open the images in Photoshop, use a channel mixing layer to convert into silhouettes, move to Illustrator and use the Image Trace + Expand function. I then removed the fill color, changed the line weight to .001 and printed the vector through the laser cutter. My material was Mylar and my settings were

Speed 50

Power 40

Frequency 80 



After printing I covered the mylar in mirror spray paint.

In a second test I took a photograph of a rock wall, inserted into Rhino using the PictureFrame command, and traced the sections I wanted to cut out.

I then used the Split command to separate the largest section of the photo I wanted to cut from the rest.

I exported the jpg using the Print command and realigned the jpg with the vectors in Illustrator. I first rastered the jpg into the surface using the settings

Speed 70

Power 30

Frequency 40

Then cut the vectors using the settings

Speed 30

Power 100

Frequency 100


Final project


After This initial test (and a few others I didn't describe) I decided I wanted to take the project in a different direction. I used a Skanect 3D scanner to record part of a tree trunk. I used the Skanect software to reconstruct, crop, and fill holes on the resulting mesh.

 I imported the mesh into Rhino in order to generate slices.

Once in Rhino I used a Grasshopper script to generate the layers for laser cutting 1/8" cardboard, including registration holes for 1/2" dowels.

Next, on by one I grouped each layer with its corresponding registration holes by switching into my Front viewport. This allowed me to then drag each layer onto sheets representing each layer of cardboard.

I cut the vectors of each 24"x40" sheet at settings of

Speed 30

Power 100

Frequency 100

I numbered each piece as it came out of the laser cutter to keep them in order, then assembled with dowels and a small amount of hot glue on each sheet.





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