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When exploring finishes for the packaging for their new ‘Make your mark’ pen design, creative company Ajojo got in touch keen to explore the possibilities of laser etching for their anodised aluminium cases. Ajojo like to document and share their ‘journeys’ of the experiences that inspire them in their projects, so we were more than happy to welcome them into the workshop to get a better understanding of the engraving process first hand.

Hand cutting paper has become a popular craft lately particularly amongst illustrators. Whilst methods vary, details are generally cut into sheets of paper using a pair of scissors or a scalpel. Hand drawings can be easily duplicated to form templates for cutting. Some of the designs that we have seen are so mind blowingingly intricate it comes at quite a shock when you hear that they have been hand crafted. Hina Aoyama’s beautiful work springs to mind. She describes the process of creating these delicate pieces as “stress relieving.” Whilst we admire the dedication and persistence of this craft, laser cutting your paper designs is a timesaving alternative.

Techfortrade, launched in 2011 with a mission to alleviate poverty through the use of developing technologies. Early in their research, they considered the role that technology would play in helping small rural producers to access markets for their produce. The 3d4d Challenge was born from this concept and aims to find transformational uses for 3D printing technologies that deliver real social benefit in the developing world.

There’s been quite a trend recently for self build laser cutters. Fuelled mainly by Instructables laser cutter contest run back in late 2010, where participants were invited to build a laser machine from scratch with the pick of the bunch winning an Epilog Zing. The contest is rumoured to be given a second wind this year, so keep a look out!

The basic components required (such as a tube, basic plotter and optics) are also much more accessible these days and the costs are dropping year on year. Of course, these self build machines don’t really compare to the professional laser manufacturers market in terms of precision and quality, nevertheless they are interesting from a concept point of view. None more so than the Sun Cutter by Markus Kayser, a low tech, low energy laser cutter that harnesses sunlight as a laser source.

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