Bamboo Fruit Bowl





Introduction: Bamboo Fruit Bowl

This beautiful bowl is made of 20 layers of laser-cut bamboo tied together with copper wire.

I am posting it as an entry for the "Epilog Challenge". It is a "green" product in that the design makes minimal use of materials.

Step 1: Laser Cutting

I had the bowl laser-cut by Ponoko out of a single sheet of bamboo. It is made of 20 rings. On the sheet they are concentric and there is no space between them. The only part not used is the rectangular surround.

Step 2: Assembly

I took the rings off their sticky backing and stacked them up, rotating every other one by 90 degrees.

Step 3: Fastening

Each ring has four tiny holes through it. I tied the adjacent rings together by threading 20-gauge copper wire through the holes, twisting the ends together, and trimming the excess.

Step 4: That's It!

Here are some more pictures, and some random thoughts about the bowl.

The finished piece is about 33 cm (13 inches) across and 10 cm (4 inches) high. It is made of 20 layers of bamboo, each 5.5 mm (0.22 inches) thick.

I was inspired by some other "minimal waste" bowls available on Ponoko. Just search Ponoko for the word "bowl" and you'll see them.

Here is the "trick" that turns this flat sheet of bamboo into a three-dimensional bowl. The wood is cut into 20 concentric rings. But the rings are not perfectly round (this becomes more obvious as the pieces get smaller). The dimensions are cleverly staggered so that the 6-to-12-o'clock diameter of each piece matches the 3-to-9-o'clock diameter of the next bigger piece. Therefore, when you take them apart and rotate every other piece by a quarter-turn, the left-to-right span of each one overlaps with the top-to-bottom span of the one underneath, so they stack instead of nesting.

The first thing I drew was the profile. I wanted it to have a nice shape.

Isn't it funny that we have this idea of a "bowl" that doesn't have to hold liquid?

The laser *burns* its way through the bamboo. I was smelling the char the whole time I was putting the prototype together. My fingers got dark with carbon.

The burning also creates a two-tone color effect, where all the vertical surfaces of the bowl become coal-dark, while the horizontal surfaces remain bamboo-pale. I did not anticipate this, but I like it very much.

Tying it all together in 40 places is tedious. If the piece went into production I would want to come up with a better method - some kind of rivet, perhaps.



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    Thank you so much for the file and the idea! I went ahead and made my own out of 1/8 inch maple veneer plywood. I added another set of holes and wired it together differently. The wiring is less visible but i think it may allow more flex.
    Please check it out here:

    1 reply

    Thanks for the great feedback and blog post. I agree that the original design is too flimsy—the outer rings of my prototype kept breaking. My second version used thicker material and had fewer rings. Instead of "lacing" it together I used tiny steel dowels that I ordered from McMaster-Carr. It's beautiful. We're still using it in the kitchen.

    OMG!!!! its fruits :O OOOOOOOOO i want one now .w. ~dances around~ WEEEE!!!!!

    This looks great! Where did you get the bamboo sheet?

    1 reply

    Try to make one with the cuts slightly edged to the outside, e,g a diagonal cut, so when you drag the bottom out, it will fasten to the edges!! I have seen this type of cutting in asia!

    1 reply

    I'm not following you. I don't think laser cuts can be angled. . . but maybe that's not what you mean?

    It's awesome! I wonder if you could post the design file for the lasercut. It would help me a lot. Thanks!

    8 replies

    I second this request! Without the design file this is really more of a slide show than an instructable, since we can't recreate your design...

    OK, you talked me into it.

    Thanks... I understand your ambivalence though. It's hard when you've worked for hours (or days) on a design to simply "give" it away, especially if you're thinking of selling the product. The thing is though, that the person who would make this is not the one who would buy it ready-made, so I doubt you're undercutting yourself.

    rsablosky, I agree with belsey when he talks about the ambivalence of giving your project away when you were the one that had all the work. And I also appreciate your generosity of sharing it with us.

    I believe the network is a great media we can use for sharing the things we like (nothing original so far, and makes me sound like and modern granny impressed by technology). My point is: It's no use to protest against multinational companies and standardization, it wont change the fact that Ikea is affordable and the beauty resides on the uniqueness of some pieces extraordinarily expensive. I truly don't think protesting or blaming the system would change anything, and the best way of thanking a vantage of the mass production system is to customize it's pieces and share the results.

    That's why I am so excited with the possibilities we create here, to adapt affordable furniture to our taste and convenience or even share great brand new design ideas to see how your project evolves by the hands of other people.

    That's the base of Creative Commons, and it doesn't have to apply just for technology. As you just proved, rsablosky, taking a step forward and sharing something that must have took your time and allowing other people to enjoy it too.

    I'm aware of my extremely long comment and apologize. English, as you may see, is not my native language and I can't explain myself using less words without being rude, i guess, so sorry :-)

    For those who stood until now, a reward: a designer that's working on lasercut projects reviewed in Wired Magazine. In his website, Ronen Kadushin allows users to download all the autocad files of his projects (the ones of the line Open Design, as in open source design). He encourage changes and says he would be glad to receive photos of other people's results. All the designs are under a Creative Commons license. I let the links if anyone is interested. There are a few beautiful things, some very funny. I'm not quite into stainless steel, but Ananda Light is a very pretty lamp.

    Anyway, something to inspire all of us, for the creativity and especially for the philosophy. Thanks again, rsablosky!


    You can call me Roy :~)

    Thanks for the kind words, and the link to Ronen Kadushin's lovely work. The question of "intellectual property" is a very difficult one -- but for us who are not yet famous, I think a good first approximation to the truth was supplied by Cory Doctorow when he said, "For almost every writer, the number of sales they lose because people never hear of their book is far larger than the sales they’d lose because people can get it for free online. The biggest threat we face isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity."

    He said "writer", but of course this applies to all the other arts too.

    Finally, I have to mention that most of my artistic projects are photographs rather than household accessories. You can find them in my gallery at ImageKind.

    Roy Sablosky

    Oh, and nice pictures, by the way!

    Great! I'll definitely try this and send you pics.

    Nice. Yours is glued, mine is just sort of sewn together. The upside of gluing is that yours could actually hold water if it was made of the right material.

    There's another way to do this that is a bit simpler. You make one spiral cut, which makes about the same amount of layers, and then suspend the bowl from a stand of some type. this makes a bit of a spring-like mechanism which can hold quite a bit, and is very springy and organic looking. If I had a scrollsaw, I could probably go back and show you it in an instructable, but I am currently tool-less. Still, rather spiffy.

    I better pullout my laser cutter.