A while back when we were still getting ready for our launch, we had one of our collective meetings at TechShop. One of the most interesting machines at TechShop is the laser cutter. They are the most used machines there and also one of the easiest to learn. If you can draw a line on the computer, then you can take it to the laser cutter and etch or cut it out without difficulty. I've been working at TechShop for about a year and had gotten quite familiar the laser cutters. I'm sure some of you reading have one of my coasters sitting at home. Naturally, we took some time to play around with the lasers and make some cool stuff.
Laura and Ty both had a piece in mind for the laser cutter. Laura wanted to etch an ampersand, a favorite motif of hers, onto her leather purse. A little bit of image searching and file prepping and we were ready to fire it up. Check out a little video of the laser in action on Laura's Instagram. Note our amazement at the wonders of technology.
Ty had a really cool graphic from Geometry Daily that he wanted to laser (definitely check out the Tumblr site if you're into geometric patterns and design). We etched this design onto card stock, which is much thinner than leather, so it took some adjusting to get the settings right. After two tries we were able to get it to come out pretty good.
Since that night, Laura and Travis have both been back to TechShop for more laser cutting. I helped Laura laser cut a stamp of her website to use on her prints that she gave out during our launch reception. Travis came by with his wife Jenni soon before a vacation and took the opportunity to laser cut a pair of luggage tags.
Laser cutters are a great tool for designers and artists these days. One of my favorite projects is made by Laurence Srinivasan who makes architectural models of SF Bay Area landmarks using the lasers. Another artist doing interesting work with laser cutters is Hadi Tabatabai. He uses the lasers on acrylic, making very bold geometric linescapes.
It's fascinating to see how technology innovations create new tools and what designers and artists can do with those tools. Being that it's relatively recent that laser cutting has become accessible outside of industrial uses, there will be more and more interesting things people will be doing with laser cutting. Let's make it happen.
— Colin Wang