Thursday, March 11, 2010

Melissa March : Laser Cutting - Project 3

Goal: to explore the possibilities of the laser cutting by finding form through planar layers or serial construction.

While surfing the web, I came across a table that was very sculptural in form. I really liked it and after looking at it for a few minutes, I realized that I knew how to create that form using the techniques we learned in this class. It was as simple as drawing a couple curves, lofting the surfaces, and extruding that surface to create a form. Those are the steps that I took for my first attempt at this form. After reviewing it with Professor Scott, I decided to make the form a little more interesting and less symmetrical. I did this by using two different curves (where in the first attempt I used the same curved but had mirrored and moved it). Actually, I ended up creating four curves and then created a poly-surface by lofting between pairs. This created a more interesting form that was not symmetrical. I also sculpted the form by adjusting the control points by moving and scaling them. The result was not as dramatic of a change as I had hoped, but I was limited because of the two registers that run through the form.

Once I was happy with the form and had placed my two round registers, I contoured the entire form to prepare the file to be laser cut. For this project, I created a maquette of the dining table I wish to create in full scale next quarter. The maquette is 1/4 the size of the actual size the table will be. It will support a 3' x 5' piece of glass and seat six people comfortably. For the full scale version, I will be using the mill instead of the laser cutter because the full scale version requires much thicker material than can be cut with a laser.

This image shows my process and the tools I used. As you can see I have the two registers running through the form (1/4" each). I used these to help assemble. When I prepared the file for the laser, I had numbered each piece so I knew how the formed together. This process was basically a laminating process that required a lot of time. I used to small registers to prepare pairs of pieces to add to the form. I glued these pairs together with Sobo and then used my baby clamps to keep them together. I removed them from the small registers and started that process again. Then I glued the pairs to the larger form. It was very important that both the top and bottom edges lined up to create a flat surface (creating the base and top). I also clamped the form to make sure everything was adhering as closely as possible. Below are images of the finished model.

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