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Follow these instructions to create vector diagrams of snowflakes and use a laser cutter to cut them from acrylic, wood, or paper.  The snowflakes are generated using a randomized algorithm, so no two will be alike.

Before you begin, make sure you have Processing and Inkscape installed on your computer.  Processing is available at www.processing.org, and Inkscape is available at www.inkscape.org.

Step 1: Create the program

Copy-and-paste or download the code from the following link as "algorithmic_snowflakes.pde".

https://github.com/infiniteperplexity/laserflakes/blob/master/algorithmic_snowflakes/algorithmic_snowflakes.pde

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<p>I made these! They came out perfectly. </p><p>It took me 90 minutes of burn time at 90% power on a 40w laser to make 60 roughly 2-inch-wide snowflakes, using 3 sheets of 18x24x0.11 inch acrylic (very cheap stuff from a hardware store). They look much better in person than they do in pictures. </p>
Excellent! I'm glad they turned out so well; I tried to do it with a thicker acrylic sheet and it warped a bit in the cutter - some of the snowflakes cracked while I was punching them out.
What a great idea! May try this for small gifts next year :)

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