Paideia Projects 2015

Eric and I ran 4 laser cutter classes during Paideia week and had good turnout each day of 6-10 people.  I think that our 10AM start time might have been a factor in preventing us from being overwhelmed with students, but after trying to run 10 student projects through the laser in 2 hours maybe that’s a good thing.

The classes were a lot of fun with one of us giving a short intro to the laser and demonstrating a couple pieces before cutting the students loose to try their hand at the process.  We were able to walk each student through a project of their own and everyone left with a little laser-made part.  Below are some of the things that students made during their run on the laser.  Since the class a few people have come back to use the laser again and we hope to see more later on this term.

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Engraving on thin doug fir wood. The laser preferentially cut away the material between the growth rings leaving a dynamic background to the engraved image.

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Engraving on 1/8″ acrylic
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Cutout and engraving on 5mm thick vegetable tanned leather. The total length of the dog is about 1 inch.
Cutout in 1/4″ black acrylic. For reference the triangle is about 1.75 inches high.
Led Zeppelin-related symbols engraved into 5mm vegetable tanned leather. The laser was also used to cut the perimeter rectangle out of a larger leather hide.
Symbol engraved into thin birch plywood. The light lines on the left and bottom are artifacts of the downloaded image that we weren’t able to see in the image using our software (Illustrator, Photoshop).
World map engraved into birch plywood. The overall width is about 7 inches.
Symbol carved into birch plywood. The power used in the engraving process affects the depth (and darkness sometimes as well) of the engraved image.

Well, there were lots of other cool things people made but these were the only ones we got photos of before they disappeared.

Perfecting an image or a cutout requires a good bit of time, usually a few tries and so it was particularly impressive that some of these came out so well when each student had just 15 or 20 minutes to work with the laser in the class.