Kristina Larsen on her recent laser cutting adventures:
Most of the time I've spent with the laser cutter has centered around learning what different materials will do when cut or etched, and thinking about how to use Illustrator as a pattern-cutting tool. I'm not sure that I made anything before this that I couldn't have made some other way in a similar amount of time. But in making this felt box I finally took advantage of one of the best features of the tool -- generating multiples!
I made a little pile of them in like 10 minutes. So exciting!
They're cute and fuzzy, utilitarian, and fun to fold. I think they look happy when they're full of stuff.
At first I tried to make a test version out of paper, but it didn't work very well. (Paper's not as pliable and forgiving as felt.) I also had been trying to do all the design thinking in Illustrator ahead of time at home, so I could simply go into the learning studio, cut out the thing and be done. But it didn't really work out this way -- some tweaking was required.
Turns out it's much much easier to cut one out of felt, mess with it (cut it up, draw on it, squish it), adjust the Illustrator file, cut out a new one, and repeat as necessary. Hey, I guess that's rapid prototyping in a nutshell.
Possible next steps are to try scaling them differently (shorter sides, more rectangular shapes, steeper angle to the top) and incorporating a second contrasting color showing through cut-outs. Since I only can visit the learning studio once in a while I still am doing a lot of thinking about the design away from the laser cutter. But I've also got four of them to futz with while I re-work the design.