Azuma Bukuro Dice Bag

Azuma Bukuro Dice Bag (open)

I thought a simple dice bag styled after a Japanese azuma bukuro bento/market bag would be fun.  The fabric is 100% cotton sateen, custom-printed with one of my Celtic key pattern designs.  I cut the fabric on the laser using the new vacuum tray, which was great for the precision.

Jack-O-Lantern 2023

Two semi-realistic 3D CGI jack-o-lanterns sitting on a brick wall.

Jack-o-lantern 3D modeled in Nomad Sculpt with panning and flickering candle animations done in Blender.

Two semi-realistic 3D CGI jack-o-lanterns sitting on a brick wall.

Laser Dye Removal Skull Shirt

Pale grey skull bleached out of a white background.

Some time ago, I took a photo of a skull set into a wall in the catacombs under Paris. In this underground ossuary are interred many forgotten French soldiers and plague victims, their identities lost to time.

With some adjustments, I was able to get it suitable for laser engraving.

I wanted to try a technique Jennifer Huber shared on the Glowforge forum recently.

I treated a T-shirt with heat-activated dye discharge paste.

After it dried, I used a tray replacement developed by Bailey Heyman to load it in the laser so I could engrave the design to activate the dye discharge paste.

Washing the paste out took some work. I used synthrapol, a specialized detergent that keeps dye from re-depositing on textiles. It took about a dozen rinse cycles to get it clean.

The lighter-colored stripe is likely an artifact from the Glowforge UI resizing the image when I exported at 72 instead of 96 DPI.

Green Pouch

A small fantasy/Medieval belt pouch. The main body is cotton fabric printed with interlocking Celtic spirals in various shades of green. The front, bottom, back and flap are medium brown faux/vegan leather. The flap is decorated with black spirals and, there is a black spiral triskelion on the front below the flap.

I printed some of the Celtic spirals fabric in green and, used it with the brown faux/vegan leather to make another pouch.

Vacuum Work Hold-Down Tray

Glowforge vacuum tray (side view)

Cutting paper in the laser can be challenging. The stock has to be held down uniformly across the surface, particularly if you are cutting small pieces out entirely. Otherwise, the air assist can move the cut-out bits around and, they can interfere with other cuts.

I mostly have been using Seklema hold-down mats for this. They have a sticky gel layer that holds the paper down without transferring any residue. They work really well but, they ablate with use and, are a bit expensive.

With some laser cutters, you can get a vacuum tray that holds lightweight materials like paper down with controlled airflow. There isn’t one of those for the Glowforge. So, I made my own.

This is heavily inspired by several other vacuum trays made by other Glowforge owners in this forum thread.

I designed this in Inkscape. I used a tabbed box generator for the two main bodies: the tray and the fan box. I modified the output to break the pieces into sizes I can cut in the Glowforge and, to add additional features like holes for the fan and electronics and channels for air flow.

The tray is 1/4” thick MDF. I lined the bottom with aluminum foil for extra protection in case any stray lasering gets through. It’s probably overkill but, I sealed the seams with silicone caulk to reduce air leaks. The cutting surface is a piece of perforated stainless steel plate sandwiched in an MDF frame. That is held down to the rest of the tray using magnets, with an EVA foam gasket to help with air leaks.

The fan box is 1/8” thick MDF with press-fit holes for the power connector and switch. The fan is bolted on to the end opposite the switch. This uses a 12v fan and a standard 12v power supply. The cord hangs out through the front of the lid of the machine.

I painted all the MDF black so it would look more finished and less cobbled together.

Cutting the plate steel without access to a shear was a new adventure for me but, worked out really well.

It works great, as you can see in the 1.6-minute demo video below.

Making of the Garden Lantern Electronic Pop Up Card

Garden Lantern Origamic Architecture / Kirigami with integrated electronics

The Garden Lantern Electronic Pop Up Card I made in 2017 was one of the first big projects where I shot video documenting the build. There was a lot of footage and, I wasn’t very comfortable with editing videos at that point. The raw video just sat in a folder for a few years. I have done a bunch of build videos since then and, it occurred to me that I could probably manage to pull the old video clips together into a build narrative. I have been slowly putting that together in the last few weeks and, it is finally done!

As I noted in my original post about this project, this was inspired by and based on work done by Jie Qi and Natalie Freed. The Chibitronics Circuit Stickers project made everything a lot easier.