Fab Academy Week 3

By: Rob Adams on March 14, 2013

This week we worked with 2D designs and cutting those designs on the Laser Cutter and Vinyl Cutter. With the Laser Cutter, the assignment was to create a press fit kit. Since I have little experience in design with software, I opted for a simple design, that could allow the end-user (children) building blocks for their design. To start with, I had a bit of trouble with the design aspect in Inkscape. I started by drawing a circle and then adding a rectangle, but could not get the two objects to properly overlap and group. After speaking with my mentor, I switched to a basic rectangle design, and per her suggestion, I started with the notches instead of the larger shape. She also taught me about cloning and that allowed for easier manipulation of the notches later in the design process – each time the original cloned object is resized, all the clones automatically resize. The notch development was based around the use of 1/4″ cardboard and MDF (for the final cut).

Once I had the design set at a 2″ square, I rounded the corners for aesthetic purposes. Next I layed out a file with three of the squares. I did this in a separate document by grouping the original square, and cloning it. I cut the three squares on cardboard, and checked their fits. The notches were a bit too wide, so I resized the notches and did another test cut on cardboard. IMPORTANT – always watch the Laser Cutter when working with cardboard. It can catch fire easily!! With the third test cut, I was satisfied with the proper fit of the notches, and laid out a sheet with 36 squares, and then cut them out of MDF. 

Using the final cut product, I built a tower. 

My other project this week involved the Vinyl Cutter. I made some user guides for all of the equiment in the lab, and to make them look a bit nicer, I used the Cut Studio software to make vinyl stickers for the cover of each binder. It was a quick and easy project, but has a big impact. The photo below shows the process afer the cutting has occured. It is cut on the brown vinyl, I peeled away the excess vinyl. Next I placed a piece of masking tape on the words, and tranfered that to the binder. Finally, I peeled away the masking tape. I found one tip in the process – used masking tape does a quicker transfer.

On a separate note, I finally got a decent understanding of GIMP and resizing images 🙂