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

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

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

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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yueshi4 days ago

Hi Aaron, I am Yue, a new AiR just joined pier 9 this month. I saw your study of the bend wood sample material on the showcase shelf. the patterns are very cool. Gabe showed me this instructable today and I thought that I can use the bend wood to cover curved gaps. it turns out great. thanks for knowledge and sharing!

rinusdamen1 year ago

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

Aaron Porterfield (author)  rinusdamen1 year ago

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

Hello Aaron, Unfortunately I am also unable to save the .dxf, save link as.... does force me to save the file as html... please help!

ClaraS116 days ago

Hi! Really nice work, really love how much you can use it for and how nice it looks. May I ask what scale you have been making it? What should be the distance between two lines? And how trick can the plywood be? Making a case for my boyfriends moduler synthesizer.

buck22171 month ago

That looks awesome, shame I don't have a laser cutter!

joe.andolina made it!1 month ago

Getting my head around the laser cutter. The kerf bending stuff is kinda amazing. I had some trouble with the curve math. How do you measure the curves so that the tabs line up correctly? Should I be measuring the inside edges?

Aaron Porterfield (author)  joe.andolina1 month ago
That looks great! Yes the length of the inner radius should match.
tatiang2 months ago

Love the study of kerf bending patterns. I ended up using the cross lattice for a round box I'm making and it worked great. It opens up so many possibilities for working with wood and a laser cut. Thanks!

amoore322 months ago

Great resources. Looking to make a 3mm plywood bookcover with this for a uni project. Any input on what pattern you'd recommend

alex.lobodan3 months ago

could this be done on a cnc machine?

A laser cutter technically is a cnc machine, but I guess you mean a cnc router? It can, especially makes sense for thicker material (we bent 10mm plywood easily). The limitations of the cnc router are actually an advantage here, because it's impossible to create sharp 90° angles.

Just keep in mind to adjust the distances accordingly, because the router takes away more material than the laser. It ends up being stiffer in the end, so it's more for bend-once-then-glue connections that won't move much.

I'm working on laser cutting a flexible ramp. Which one would you recommend to use where it'll create a relatively smooth surface? The ramp is a parabolic piece-wise function with the latticed section being the actual surface the ball is travelling on. #1 with some space filling cyanoacrylate or epoxy?

malialtin1 year 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.

amazing work! wonder if i can test it for some fashion project. can i use it? =)

Aaron Porterfield (author)  malialtin1 year ago
Nice! I wonder what would happen if it was scaled way down and cut from wood.
fer_qo4 months ago

BUSCO DISEÑO para corte laser y cnc router.

porfavor contactar con el siguiente rotulo DISEÑOS PARA CORTE LASER - CNC

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felixmerk5 months ago

Hi, great work! Which material thickness of wood have you already tried?

Hi good afternoon, i say hi from mexico, recently i discovered your page i really like it, just a question i can not download the file, where in this page i can do it? thank you

wyattroscoe8 months ago

Really well done, my adjacent possible has been expanded.

Aaron Porterfield (author)  wyattroscoe7 months ago


felixmerk7 months ago

Hi Momsen,

I hope that Files work!

Please post a request.


Aaron Porterfield (author)  felixmerk7 months ago

Thanks so much!

Thank you sooo much! I do appreciatte your generosity by sharing .

Thank you!

RosalíaD8 months ago

AWESOME! I am going to test this tomorrow!!!!!!!!!

Aaron Porterfield (author)  RosalíaD7 months ago


Momsen Design7 months ago

Can anybody please make the .Ai file into .SVG for me. :-)

The .DXF only comes out as text and Inkscape cant open these two files for me. :-/

totony8 months ago

Any chance one of you could convert the file to SVG or another inkscape compatible format?

I can't wait to try these bends. Beyond function, some of them are very aesthetic!!

Mr.Hyde8 months ago
Impressive, I like your methodical approach with a focus on experiments. Will try these
Aaron Porterfield (author)  Mr.Hyde8 months ago
Thank you!
domenic311 months ago


Aaron Porterfield (author)  domenic38 months ago
Akar_Ki1 year 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 year 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.

alienate1 year ago

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

Aaron Porterfield (author)  alienate1 year ago

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

stico1 year 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)  stico1 year 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.


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.

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