Create something using the laser cutter. I’m looking for something more than just a simple 2D cutout or etching.
I am a collector of interesting earrings. I always wanted to make earrings of my own and wear them. I did some market research for the laser-cut earrings online, especially on Etsy. There are some stores already selling the earrings. However, most of them are made on wood. There are a few stores that deal with acrylic and more materials. I just didn’t quite like the design since it is too simple. In order to challenge myself. I forbid myself in using acrylic cement to glue whatever that needs to be attached.
I started with simple shapes and iterations. I had a bunch of drafts of my design as below.
While brainstorming my designs, I thought of the structure of slots. I played with the cardboard and measured the thickness of the cardboard to figure out the width of the slot and then played around to make sure the larger piece of cardboard can fit the two smaller pieces of the cardboard.
I also needed the structure to be stable, therefore, I experimented and drafted out the shapes in illustrator. I then printed it using laser cutter and prototyped it on wood.
While looking at the prototype, I felt the shape was a bit of boring. I want to experiment what laser cutter can really do. Therefore, I brainstormed in different shapes: triangles and circles. I thought the geometric shapes of earrings will be quite interesting and people will also want to buy since it is a more statement piece. Therefore, upon drafting, I took the thickness into account in my design. I made sure the distance between the center of the triangle or the circle to the corner of the triangle and the side of the circle is perfectly fit with the other pieces that will be attached onto. I also did careful calculation to made sure the bottom side of the triangle or semi-circle won’t exceed the center of the base (triangle or circle). Therefore, they will come together in the center when I print them out.
I created two pairs of earrings. One has a spherical feel to it and another one has a triangular feel. The design for the sphere is originally as below.
However, when I put them together, it makes the earring hook more difficult to attached. Therefore, I switched the design to create two small circles on the base as the picture shown.
For the triangular shape, I determined the ring that allows the earring hook to be on the base of the triangle.
For the moon-shaped earring, below is the breakdown of the design and the first one on the second row is the final one that I tested.
Issues and Adjustments
Adjusted the width to 0.01 inch less to tighten the structure
I prototyped the yellow acrylic with the width of the cut-out rectangles as 0.10 inch, which is also the thickness of the yellow acrylic sheet.
However, upon running the print, I did the work twice since it didn’t cut though the first time. When I tried to assemble them, they are too loose to stay together tightly. Moreover, the tiny half circles I cut on the top of all four semi-circles are not as ideal for me to attach the earring to it. Therefore, I changed the width into 0.09 inch in Illustrator and switched the position where the earring piece will go to the base of the circle. I carved out two tiny circles on the base. As the design file shown below. It came out great and the tightness is perfect.
For the white triangle shaped-earrings, I prototyped without the circle cut out with the adjustment applied and it worked great!
Experimented rastering and engraving on white acrylic sheet
I wanted to create another pair of earrings with the design as below. As I followed the settings with rastering (100/35 speed/power) and 100/15/5000 for less than 1/8″ thickness. I ended up running the printing for four times. The original design is supposed to engrave the blue part and still cut the shape along the red outline. The solution would be either make the size of the design bigger so that the pieces of the extruded rectangles won’t be so thin. Or, I could cut down the number of rectangles that intersect with the moon-shaped design.
For this project, I am more efficient than my pen holder since I was determined to create earrings. And then I focused on creating multiple designs for them. I enjoyed the process of prototyping, figuring out what went wrong, and then adjusting to create the earrings perfectly. I can’t wait to create more using laser cutter and thinking of more geometric shaped designs.