Laser-cut Hinges (a.k.a. kerf hinge, living hinge)

Designing a pattern to allow flexibility in a rigid material can take a lot of trial and error. However, with a bit of persistence, as well as an understanding of a few rules, you can turn a solid sheet of plywood into a flexible work of art.

There are a number of constraints that will affect whether or not your design will work. After a lot of attempts, I have tried to codify the rules that seem to govern how to make a strong, functional hinge in plywood. I used 3 mm thick birch plywood - thicker material will need more material removed, and thinner stock should be fine with less taken out.

Step 1: Make the Long Axis of the Repeat Unit Perpendicular to the Axis of Bending

When you pick a 'repeat unit', you need to orient it correctly. The long axis of that unit (green) needs to be perpendicular to the way that you want the hinge to bend (red).

<p>Thanks! Trying to do my part to save other folks wasting material :) As fun as trial and error is, if I can save other people some of the hari-pulling, I figured it was worth it.</p>
<p>It seems difficult to get it right, but the end result looks great! </p>

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