Friday, 5 April 2013

make a "lace" perspex lasercut bracelet

About time that I get this one shared properly, not really like anything else that you have seen from the Knitbitch so far, but I also like to experiment with these new crafting techniques. A couple of years ago I joined the hypercraft masterclass in the Fablab (de Waag) in Amsterdam. I used a pattern that my hubby had developed for a completely different purpose, tried different materials, it turned out to work quite amazingly in clear perspex. This last trial was made at the Protospace in Utrecht.

For this project you will need some perspex, clear transparent makes for a more blingy, crystallized version, milky makes for a more romantic crochet like version.

10x25 cm, thickness 4mm

check out the settings of the laser-cutter and make a test. You need to get two settings right; one to cut and one to etch. Also the laser-cutter will be able to read particular colors, note these ones down in order to "code" your pattern in the right way.

Prepare your pattern.
Make your pattern as much as possible out of one HAIRline. I was a lazy pattern drawer so I had several layers of lines on-top of each-other and that doesn't make things easier.
I had prepared my pattern in Illustrator, but the laser-cutter at Protospace only reads CorelDraw files, so I had to convert the file, that is re-open the file in CorelDraw. That messes up the file, so I had to re color-code all my lines as intended for either cutting or etching. and as I had not made my drawing with one line but numerous overlayed lines, I had to catch them all and turn them into the right color.
If you can do this step smartly it can really save you a lot of time.

Cutting the bracelet.
upload the pattern to the laser-cutter.

I made 2 versions of the pattern, one with more and one with less perforations. and also tried a simple version with simple diamond shapes, actually because I wanted to embroider on it (which I have never done)
This is what it looked like when it came out of the cutter.

It turned out that my pattern has some breeches in the lines (all those overlayed lines) so the bracelets where not coming loose from the material. With a little bit of help of a handsaw and a polisher I got the piece detached in the end.

Bending the bracelet
With a sort of blow torch (huge creme brullee burner) I got the piece bent into the shape of a bracelet. With the help of the hubby. This was quite complicated. The punch-pattern makes the plexiglas heat up unevenly, and therefore it didn't bend in a homogeneous way and also the blow torch left some not so nice firemarks.

after the fact I got some feedback and kind advise on my Flickr uploads to try a 200 degree oven instead of a blow torch link. So I would say try that instead.

This is what the bracelet finally looked like.Next time I'm going to try fluorescent.

Here are some other trials I made.

milky transparent material. too small size which made the whole very frail and lots of pieces broke off.

Leather cuff version. I had high hopes for this one, but it really is not very nice.

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