From San Francisco, with Love...    Made at Instructables  ...  by masynmachien

This is one of the projects I did during my Artist In Residency at Instructables last July. An awesome experience!

Actually it was the last project I completed at Instructables HQ. But I needed to make this Instructable the first, as it includes the instructions for the recipients.

For souvenirs to take home I couldn’t think of any better message than something I made myself, at Instructables and involving the recipient into some making. I’m very grateful Instructables agreed upon me making several copies to take home.

Working on a laser cut advent calendar I came up with the idea of making a laser cut model of THE icon of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge. I made it both as a part of the advent calendar and as test for the packaging. More Instructables on this advent calendar project and the laser cut kits it contains will follow.

Most souvenir models of the Golden Gate Bridge are not true to scale; at the same time shortening its length drastically and emphasising the vertical suspension cables, but neglecting to show how long the bridge actually is. Obviously my model is simplified too, but I decided to go in another direction. At about 30 cm long the model is at a true scale of 1/6500. The main suspension cables are simplified to elastic bands to follow the theme of the advent calendar using only acrylic sheet, screws & nuts and elastic bands. At that scale it becomes impractical to reproduce the vertical cables. It gives another approach, but still, everyone in the San Francisco Bay Area immediately recognises it as the Golden Gate Bridge.

This Instructable includes the material and design choices and the packaging. The readers that get the souvenir as a gift can jump to the last two steps dealing with opening the package, taking out the parts and assembling the kit.

I dedicate this Instructable to Gabe, for his quick and recurring help in getting the machines in the workshop up and running.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Obviously the main tool for this project is a laser cutter. I had the luck to be able to use a new 120W Epilog laser cutter in the new workshop at Pier 9.

For the advent calendar series I chose 3mm thick Acrylic sheet, a practical thickness for many projects. I got a couple of 750 x 375 mm sheets at Tap Plastics. I choose transparent amber, a colour that fits the Instructables home style. For the Golden Gate Bridge that is a bit light, but not too far off.

For easy production I came up with a concept of cutting the kits while on top of the bottom cardboard layer of the packaging. To make this possible I needed double layered corrugated cardboard, 6mm thick. I got 900 mm by 600 mm sheets fitting the laser cutter it from Uline. With single layered corrugated cardboard it proved impossible to find setting that always cut through the acrylic sheet and not through the cardboard. Because of speed variations at complex curves, thickness variations and imperfect flatness of the sheets you need some laser power to spare. This extra power cuts through an underlying single layer of corrugated cardboard for at least a part of the job. Two layers of single layered corrugated cardboard can work too, but it’s a little less practical to finish the packaging.

For this Golden Gate Bridge model you need at least a 300 mm by 20 mm piece of 3 mm thick acrylic sheet and for the packaging two pieces of 6 mm double corrugated board, at least 320 mm by 40 mm cardboard.

For each bridge I added two N° 19 rubber bands (88 mm by 1.5 mm) and two N° 16 (64 mm by 1.5 mm).

Closing the package is done with some 25 mm wide (masking) tape, a length of about 70 cm for each kit.
<p>My god children would love playing with this! Thanks!</p>
<p>This was really cool. Thanks for the instructable! </p><p>I wrote about it my experience making it on my blog. There's a little bit of feedback there, but take it with a grain of salt. Here's the URL:</p><p>http://www.goodwordalchemy.com/blog/2015/5/22/dcify7okqzj1q07rf4smw3dregna64</p>
Turned out great Yvon! Looking forward to you finding your way back to Pier 9 someday.
Fantastic! I have one!!!
Awesome design and cool laser cutter
It looks beautiful!

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Bio: Send me a message if you're interested in Technology or Science Workshops in Flanders, Brussels or the Southern of the Netherlands. I have over ... More »
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