A few years ago I began to investigate the concepts
of art-to-part and single part custom manufacturing.
original designs had to created on a CAD system either manually or by algorithm
and then machine produced without any manual intervention.
prototyping and laser cutting technology were both reviewed and the later
selected for possible use.
had a long time interest in geometric design.
that time one of my CAD classes took some of there window designs, created
from a complex series of overlapping circles, arcs, and splines, and had
them laser cut.
The results were
With the holidays not to far off, and being an avid
ornament collector, I thought that laser cut ornaments would be an interesting
way to try this technology.
I had first seen were created from wood with a thickness of 1/8" to 1/4".
were very bulky compared to the fine cuts that were used to create them.
also wanted to use wood, but wanted the material and designs to match the
precise cutting that was possible.
some experimentation, I settled on 1/16" mahogany, with each ornament being
approximately 3" in diameter.
result was a very delicate almost lacelike quality design.
laser cut burns the material, so the edges of the cut are black while the
faces remain the natural finish.
burning also gives off a unique aroma, even a year later.
The initial set of designs were based on abstractions
of Russian and Egyptian Ornamental, Polish Paper Cut, Prairie School and
Victorian Stained Glass designs.
included Snowflake, Chinese Ornamental, Arabian Stone and general Geometric
The current series can be
viewed at the www.netcom.com/~bitart website.
The current series was accepted into the Illinois
Artisans program and as time went on a few fine art craft shops around
the country purchased them.
last season, I intended to add to these designs, but started to think about
a three dimensional version.
this possibility I decided to craft them digitally before attempting to
construct them physically.
The three dimensional digital designs became increasely
more interesting then actually making them, that at this time they only
remaining in their digital forms.
ornaments are composed from their laser cut counterparts by assembling
them across the major axes of a sphere.
starting point was usually two vertical elements and one horizontal element.
the symmetry varies, some of the vertical placements were make across the
The Prairie School
Stained Glass design was formed by crossing two designs and then placing
four other ones around the edges in a boxlike arrangement.
for the holidays I "painted" them traditional holiday colors; the actual
ones would remain a natural wood finish.
Depending on the original design, the intersecting
edges became increasely more complex, as did the center of each ornament.
ability of digitally joining these designs is far more capable than what
may be physically possible.
of these will not be possible to actually reproduce using their original
laser cut pieces.
But using self-supporting
rapid prototyping technology, all might be possible.
will have to wait till next season to see how that might turn out.
Copyright 1999 Robert J. Krawczyk,
All Rights Reserved. May not be reproduced without