Instructables
Picture of Curved laser bent wood

This instructable will cover my own experiments with laser kerf bent wood, also known as lattice hinges, and how I tried to create it parametrically to bend along a curved surface.

There's a lot of good information about lattice hinges here http://www.deferredprocrastination.co.uk/blog/cate... which explains the concept and actual physics behind it.

I'm no engineer, so all of what I've found is through trial and error.

 
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Step 1: Patterns

Picture of Patterns
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I tried a lot of different patterns to try to achieve different results, most of which were failed attempts at making a doubly curved surface. Some turned out to be more flexible than I expected. Some were much less than expected.

I'll explain each pattern in the following steps.

I've attached the files for the pattern samples in the photo above. If your browser tries to open the file and you get a blank page, try right clicking the link and choose "save link as". It seems people are having issues downloading the files.

Step 2: Straight lattice

Picture of Straight lattice
kerfillustration.jpg

This is the most common lattice hinge and the most reliable. Lattice hinges rely on torsion of the material to bend and it's easy to see in this photo. The radius of the bend depends on the length of the cuts, the distance between them and the thickness of the material.

Step 3: Wave lattice

Picture of Wave lattice

This is one that turned out to be more flexible than expected. It was an attempt to bend in two directions, which it does not. It does however bend in one direction pretty well for such short spring members.

Step 4: Cross Lattice

Picture of Cross Lattice
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This is what I've found to be the most flexible pattern so far. In thinner materials, it's even able to bend on a diagonal. The last two photos are of a variation I tried that was not as successful, but showed potential in bending two directions.

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domenic327 days ago

awsome

Akar_Ki2 months ago

Nice job. I'm wondering what kind of modification should be
made, if any, in order to use these or similar pattern with a CNC router
instead of laser cutter/engraver? Anyone has experience in this
direction? Any suggestion would be appreciated.

Aaron Porterfield (author)  Akar_Ki1 month ago

It should translate to CNC without problems and possibly work better with a wider kerf. The things you will have to take into account are material thickness and pattern density. There are some formulas available online for figuring that out, if you understand them. For me it was just guess work.

alienate2 months ago

Have you tried Illustrator's Warp function? I wonder if you could eliminate the Photoshop step that way...

Aaron Porterfield (author)  alienate2 months ago

You're right! Thanks! I forgot Illustrator had it's own warp function. That definitely saves some time.

stico3 months ago

Nice job, made some experiments of my own few months ago but i've found out later i didn't invented sh*t ;). There's a patent in progress for something similar,. http://www.dukta.com/en/

Nice job anyway, wish i had that kind of tools to go crazy with wood experimentations !

keep up the good work mate ;)

Aaron Porterfield (author)  stico3 months ago
That's a shame. I'm not a fan of patents. Definitely don't let them stop you from doing your own experiments. You may discover something completely new.

Thanks!

Just wait till you come across that hundred million dollar idea, and we'll see how much you dislike patents then. While sometimes abused, patents serve a great purpose for those who put a lot of blood, sweat, and capital into an idea. The ability to patent your creation for a certain number of years does far more to encourage invention, innovation, and the progression of humanity than it does to harm it, especially since the inventor has a level of assurance that other people with more money and lawyers can't just copy your idea resulting in you being stuck not being able to pay off your investment.

Aaron Porterfield (author)  Andrew LB3 months ago
I have to politely disagree. I think there are more humanitarian approaches to publishing your work like here on instructables under a Creative Commons license. I think companies that have recently dropped their patents like Twitter and Tesla are great examples of this.

Tesla dropped their patents because much of their research and development was done with taxpayer money borrowed (some granted) from the U.S. Government. You can't legally patent something paid for with public money.

As for twitter... all they did was create a self imposed code of ethics on how they will use their patents. And I applaud them for doing it because offensive patent litigation like Apple/Samsung/etc partake in is just filthy.

Really? Then how did the guys who invented Gatorade get so rich? (I'm just messing with you- obviously there's way more to that argument than meets the eye.) As for patents in general, as with any process involving lawyers, the people who really need them, are busy doing other things, so again, the golden rule- who has the gold...rules!

Great Project, Nice Photos!

The patent application url is here: https://www.google.com/patents/EP2575127A1?cl=en&d...

If you notice, the patent covers sound deadening panels that utilize this technique, not the technique itself which has been around a while. So no one needs to worry about making these flexible pieces... unless you are making a sound deadening panels of course.

for sure i continue experimentations but with a band saw for now. Came up with interesting cuts for hardwood, but not as strong as i want.

Once again, nice work !
malialtin3 months ago
I am not sure if it helps. I had tried for double bending sometime ago. These are out of thin PVC sheets. These could be useful for wood also if you try with different dimensions.
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Aaron Porterfield (author)  malialtin2 months ago
Nice! I wonder what would happen if it was scaled way down and cut from wood.
Azayles3 months ago

Look at Step 3 and scroll your mouse up and down. Make sure smooth scrolling is off :P

wdornenburg3 months ago

I would like to know what program you initially layer these out it. Really I am very interested in the tapered fill it was able to create.

5thp3 months ago

This a great resource for laser owners. I have tried different methods/designs of my own after seeing an example. The ideas are limitless to try. Although, like you, I find some designs work better than others, and I have tried to make jewelry bangles and watch bands using some of them. Nice job here!!!

Aaron Porterfield (author)  5thp3 months ago
Thanks! Keep experimenting!
ecoquelicot3 months ago

I don't know how i could use this at the moment, but its super interesting as an experiment and research (not sure i'm beeing very clear but oh...)!! Nice work :)!

Aaron Porterfield (author)  ecoquelicot3 months ago
Thank you!
CamoQueen3 months ago

Wow, that is very impressive work. Thank you for sharing!

Aaron Porterfield (author)  CamoQueen3 months ago
Thanks!
marcelgrando3 months ago

SHOW!

Kinnishian3 months ago

This is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for the instructable.

Aaron Porterfield (author)  Kinnishian3 months ago
Thank you!
martinejak3 months ago

Thanks... It worked !

martinejak3 months ago

Hi, the ai. file download does not work. I can't even get the download started.

The page is just blank. hmm. help :)

Try right-clicking the link and chose "save as".

Aaron Porterfield (author)  martinejak3 months ago

That's strange. It works for me. I've uploaded another AI file to see if that will work for you. Also try right clicking and "save link as", maybe your browser is trying to open the file.

rinusdamen3 months ago

I cannot download the .dxf file, i get a webpage with a lot of text, what do i do wrong?

Aaron Porterfield (author)  rinusdamen3 months ago

Try right click and "save link as", or the mac equivalent (sorry I'm mac illiterate).

fstedie3 months ago

what kind of wood did you use here?

Aaron Porterfield (author)  fstedie3 months ago

Most of the images are 3/8" plywood. I've also been trying 1/8" ply, and some "wobble board". Some 1/16" cardboard or cardstock is also helpful to see how the patterns flex without cracking them.

ossum3 months ago

How likely do you think this would be to work with other materials, such as aluminium?

Aaron Porterfield (author)  ossum3 months ago

I have no idea but I'm extremely curious. We have a water-jet here at instructables that is waiting to try. I'll post results when I get a chance to try it.

jkimball3 months ago

I think this kind of work demonstrates that you are exactly the kind of engineer we need.

Aaron Porterfield (author)  jkimball3 months ago

Thanks! I can't claim the engineer title (art school graduate) but I think more people should try pretending they're engineers.

gtoal3 months ago

Not having a laser cutter or any woodwork experience, I don't know if this suggestion makes any sense at all... has anyone working in this area looked into making non-periodic space-filling patterns like some of the strange tilings that have been discovered (except obviously not actual tilings as the wood would fall apart ;-) )

Aaron Porterfield (author)  gtoal3 months ago
This sounds really interesting. Could you provide some links to the kinds of structures you're talking about?
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