FabLab Tacoma Holiday Card, 5x5x.0625″, Laser-cut Wood Veneer, 2015
As a special gift for members and employees during FabLab Tacoma’s 2015 holiday party, I created a limited run of holiday cards containing a “snowflake” cut out of thin wood veneer, that can be easily removed with a knife and hung as an ornament. Since my specialty at Fablab is teaching in the metal shop, I decided to make the ornaments MIG welding themed, with the components of the snowflakes being MIG torches and MIG pliers.
The snowflake was created using this helpful little app from Evil Mad Scientist. There are many apps out there for producing raster snowflake images, but theirs is one of the few that outputs to a .PDF, making it cutable on the laser. I will say it’s a challenge to make a representative, rather than abstract/geometric shape, and I went through a few different designs, but it’s a lot of fun to use!
After producing the .pdf, I edited the file in Inkscape, to clean up some extraneous nodes and clean up the shapes a bit.
I mounted the veneer with a little rubber cement in a simple mass-produced card.
These are my cut files; note the difference before and after editing in Inkscape (Snowflake doesn’t produce smooth curves). I also edited the paths in Inkscape to leave open areas at the top of each little torch head to create the ‘tabs’ that hold the ornament in place in the veneer frame. After my first test cut I ended up replacing the text with something more stencil-friendly, as seen above. I would have liked to take the time to edit the paths of the text to create tabs, or else engrave the text instead of cutting it out.
Another design I played with, but didn’t cut, featured some generic hand tools; a wrench, scraper, and flat and phillips-head screwdrivers. Editing helped to smooth out the tools, but sadly lost the nice hexagonal negative space of the original.