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Laser Cut 3D Lotus

Having access to a laser cutter in a Fablab, designers at laxap wanted to give a try making a stacked laser cut sheet sculpture. They found much inspiration in the work of Gabriel Schama, but wanted something way simpler for a first attempt.

Having better skills for parametric drawing rather than hand-made illustration and taking a programmatic approach, their tool of choice is OpenSCAD, which allows to combine 2D and 3D techniques, and to preview the final result.

Design process includes these steps:

  • A central lotus shapes gives an oriental accent, surrounded by an intricate mesh.
  • Each layer is basically constructed the same way.
  • For 3d preview, the layers are stacked in OpenSCAD in the Z direction.
  • Laser cutting requires vector files, so the OpenSCAD project is modified to place all plates side-by-side on the floor, allowing a single SVG file export.
  • Finally the SVG export is post-processed in Inkscape in order to obtain individual vector files that can be sent to the laser cutter.

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