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.

Step 1: 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.

<p>this is great</p>
<p>Hi Momsen,</p><p>I hope that Files work!</p><p>Please post a request.</p><p>Regards</p>
<p>Thanks so much!</p>
<p>@Aaron, could you please edit this instructable to add the SVG files along with your original proprietary files at step 1? I lost time in converting them into SVG before I realised someone already did that.</p>
<p>otimo gostei</p>
<p>Can I use this on my creation?</p>
<p>thank you</p>
<p>Hi Aaron</p><p>With the Straight Lattice, was there any reason that the distance between the edge and the cut only ever appears to be about half the distance between the ends of the cut lines.</p><p>The lines seem to be about 0.62 inches long with gaps of 0.2 inches ; except at the sides where you only use half the spacing (about 0.1 inches)</p><p>Did you try using 0.2 inch gaps at the edges ? but found that half the distance was better ?</p>
<p>Hi Aaron,</p><p><br>I saw on your blog searches you do on knitting hinges, and I was quite interested in including them in my doctoral thesis, but I got some questions about the geometry:<br>1. What is the origin of the geometry of kerf pieces of wood?<br>2. As cutting geometry was chosen compared to the movement/set of hinge piece of wood?<br>3. The movement/set of hinge piece of wood was achieved as desired?<br>3.1 If so, the movement / set of hinge is equal to the desired?<br>3.2 What is the criterion of control used in the two-dimensional geometric model construction to set the kerf on the laser machine?<br>4. What is the model of kerfing machine laser used for these pieces of wood?<br>5. What are the software used for the design and for cutting?<br><br>These questions serve to feed my research on my PhD in &quot;The flexibility of essentially rigid materials from the parametric design and digital fabrication.&quot;<br><br>I thank you immensely availability and help.<br><br>Regards,</p>
<p>Thank you! The file is just what I needed to easily print / cut the example files for my students. Easy to do! Kids are excited to use the concepts in future projects. </p>
A pupil of mine used one of your patterns to make a bit different birdhouse. Thanks for sharing!
<p>Nice.. she has more gaps which will make for beautiful shadows</p>
<p>Aaron, thanks for the inspiration. I tried this on metal with some gaps to help me shape it into a pavilion model.</p>
<p>Hi Aaron,</p><p>I used to laser as a hobby and really enjoyed it. Now it is a full time job and I still enjoy it but sadly my time for experimenting is greatly diminished. Your post here is very inspiring and thank you so much for sharing. You have a new follower.</p><p>Doug</p>
<p>Hi Aaron and everybody, </p><p>I was researching the same thing, and I have found a pattern that is super flexible in both directions and it is possible to achieve double curvature surfaces.</p><p>I wanted to share it with you since you've done such a nice research.</p><p>visit to download dxf file</p><p><a href="http://lab.kofaktor.hr/en/portfolio/super-flexible-laser-cut-playwood/" rel="nofollow">http://lab.kofaktor.hr/en/portfolio/super-flexible...</a></p>
<p>The link did not work for me. Can you repost, please?</p><p>Thank you!</p>
<p>Try this:</p><p>http://lab.kofaktor.hr/en/portfolio/super-flexible-laser-cut-plywood/</p>
<p>This is great! Thanks for sharing!</p>
<p>Dear creator, </p><p>Do you mind if I use these designs for educational purposes at school for Design and Technology</p><p>Thanks heaps</p><p>Matt</p>
<p>Thanks Aaron for sharing your experiments. Very cool stuff indeed. I thought everyone might get a kick out of seeing what a Chinese designer, Zhoujie Zhang, is doing with laser cut sheet metal, forming tessellated furniture and household decor objects: http://www.zhangzhoujie.com </p>
<p>Great job! I have some stupid questions. Do you know of any video tutorial where it is explained how to make lattice hinges in illustrator? or is there any other software that this task easier?</p>
<p>Hi,</p><p>Unfortunately there are no good examples for kerf bending with illustrator. You can look for more tutorials on using the &quot;warp&quot; tool in illustrator to get started experimenting. </p>
<p>Has anyone found out if one pattern works better than the others for doing a one direction bend of 180+ degrees? I don't have full access to a laser cutter so I would like to try to narrow the parts I have to buy. I was thinking of using it to make the spine of a memory book. Thanks!</p>
<p>Hi,</p><p>Unfortunately there's no easy answer without experimentation. It all depends on your material, its thickness and the density of the pattern. This article has links to more info on the actual engineering of this process http://www.core77.com/posts/36481/Adventures-in-Laser-Kerf-Bending</p>
<p>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!</p>
<p>Hi Yue!</p><p>Glad it worked for you!</p>
<p>Those are great samples</p>
<p>I cannot download the .dxf file, i get a webpage with a lot of text, what do i do wrong?</p>
<p>Try right click and &quot;save link as&quot;, or the mac equivalent (sorry I'm mac illiterate).</p>
<p>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!</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>That looks awesome, shame I don't have a laser cutter!</p>
<p>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?</p>
That looks great! Yes the length of the inner radius should match.
<p>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!</p>
<p>Great resources. Looking to make a 3mm plywood bookcover with this for a uni project. Any input on what pattern you'd recommend</p>
<p>could this be done on a cnc machine?</p>
<p>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&deg; angles.</p><p>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.</p>
<p>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?</p>
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.
<p>amazing work! wonder if i can test it for some fashion project. can i use it? =)</p>
Nice! I wonder what would happen if it was scaled way down and cut from wood.
<p>BUSCO DISE&Ntilde;O para corte laser y cnc router.</p><p>porfavor contactar con el siguiente rotulo DISE&Ntilde;OS PARA CORTE LASER - CNC</p><p>si la misma persona me puede realizar otros dise&ntilde;o tambien me interesa.</p><p>pub _ alternativa &amp; yahoo com</p><p>FERNANDO</p>
<p>Hi, great work! Which material thickness of wood have you already tried?</p>
<p>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</p>
<p>Really well done, my adjacent possible has been expanded.</p>
<p>Thank you sooo much! I do appreciatte your generosity by sharing .</p>
<p>Thank you!</p>
<p>AWESOME! I am going to test this tomorrow!!!!!!!!!</p>

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