Laser Your Way Into The Christmas Display… Prototyping

So a few months ago, the leaves were falling, it was beginning to get very nippy in the workshop, and I was busy thinking up a master plan for how to cheaply making lots of Christmas presents. Let’s be straight, I’m not usually this organised.

I had a quick look on Pinterest and some maker forums to see what other people seemed to be up to (never disappointing!). In the end I settled on making some of my very own laser cut Christmas baubles!

I started off drawing some pretty basic shapes while I had a think about how best to go about it, but quickly came up with a few different designs.

The first included snow flakes. I wasn’t hugely happy with this one as it looked a bit ‘vector-y’, if its possible for that to be an adjective?

Next up I tried re-using a curly hand-drawn design I had worked on for a different project a few years ago. This had a vague paisley look to it. This one was pretty much the opposite of ‘vector-y’. I didn’t like it either as it was a bit too messy.

Finally I decided to go for something with a repeating geometric pattern to give it what I hoped was more of a ‘classic bauble chic’. Does that exist? Who knows. I cut out the shape and was very happy!

Once I had the main body of the bauble (let’s call that part one), it wasn’t to tricky to make a second copy with slight adjustments allowing them to slot together (part two). Similarly the pattern could be repeated for the horizontal ‘wings’ – two half pieces that again slot into part one on.

Of course, for me, it never works first time. I have rather a large collection of laser cut bauble shaped coasters now! Several versions turned out to tight, or too loose. Because I was using 3mm material, I wanted all my lines to be a thickness of 3mm so the junctions were seamless, however this irritatingly meant the design was weakest at the points where the slots were and would easily snap with the slightest amount of pressure. Not to worry, a slight further adjustment to the design file adding some extra support at the junctions solved that, and it didn’t seem to detract from the elegance of the overall bauble too much.

Finally, to create a nice firm grip to hold the whole thing together when assembled, I made all the slots on part one slightly narrower at the inside ends. Now all the pieces click perfectly into place and can withstand a fair amount of bashing.

Zoe holding a laser cut christmas bauble
Final laser cut Christmas bauble prototype.

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