Introduction: Fishbowl Pendant - a First Laser-cutting Project
This is a quick and easy project to make on a laser cutter. (I just joined TechShop, and I now have access to all kinds of wonderful equipment, so this is probably the first in a series of "I made it at TechShop" Instructables.) This project assumes that you have already had some training on safety and basic use of your particular model of laser cutter. My directions are agnostic - they should work whether you are using an Epilog or Trotech machine.
Step 1: Materials
Here are the materials I used:
• a piece of ribbon
• a piece of orange origami paper
• a piece of 1/8-inch thick clear acrylic - approximately 2 inches x 4 inches (I found this among some scraps someone was throwing away.)
• a tiny amount of Weld-On acrylic cement
These were my tools:
• Adobe Illustrator, for creating the images
• a Trotech 100-watt laser cutter
• scissors to cut the ribbon
• toothpick to poke out one of the cutouts
Step 2: Files
I drew my fishbowl and fish in Adobe Illustrator. You may download and use these files, or draw your own using your favorite vector drawing program.
Step 3: Cut Out the Fishbowl Pieces
Following the instructions for safety and basic use of your laser cutter, cut out the pieces of the fishbowl. You will have two outside pieces, and one inner piece with a cutout space for your fish. Depending on your laser cutter settings, you may need to use a toothpick to poke out the holes for the ribbon - the acrylic will be warm, and if you don't remove the hole pieces promptly, they can get stuck.
Step 4: Cut Out Out Your Fish
Now cut out your fish. (Again, follow the instructions for safety and basic use of your laser cutter.) Origami paper is wonderful stuff, but it generally has color on only one side. So that your pendant can be viewed from either side, you can use the double fish shape and fold it along the tail.
Step 5: Assemble the Fishbowl
Gather your completed pieces on a clean surface: 3 fishbowl pieces and one fish.
• Place the fishbowl piece with the cutout on top of one of the plain pieces.
• Place the fish in the cutout space.
• Place the third fishbowl piece on top.
• Apply acrylic cement to the edges. I used Weld-On. Follow instructions for use - it works differently from epoxy or glue. My slightly sloppy sealing/welding process did not leave the pieces of acrylic completely clear. I decided that the effect looked like water, and chose to think of it as decorative.
• When the cement has set, thread your ribbon through the aligned holes, and tie it.
You are done!