Christmas day is near, and it's time to think up some fast and easy present to make for friends.
Even better if your friends can choose what to make from your present! Read more and you'll understand what I mean.
Step 1: Birth of an Idea
This is my initial project, a napkin ring, cut with laser from 3mm plywood, and assembled with only dovetails, no glue or screws here.
I modeled it in Sketchup and I tried different layouts and proportions.
Step 2: The Project Grows Up
I then added a flat surface to write the napkin owner's name, and I designed two cuts where the plate would embed.
I also changed some edges in rounded ones, although I love the first design more.
Step 3: The Blueprints
The first blueprint is the prototype. It's needed to try measures and to set them up right. I changed gap thickness a pair of times to find the best fit for that 3mm thick plywood, then I bought a different 3mm plywood and I discovered that first thickness was 2.8mm and this one is 3.2mm, so I had to modify gap width.
When you are satisfied with the joint you can draw the full design and send it to the laser.
Step 4: The Multipurpose Gadget
Actually I thought that the same design could be used for a bracelet, then someone at WeMake lab told me it could be a nice candle holder, and I also discovered that tea lights have same diameter of my wood pieces... so I decided to add some additional parts to make it possible to build different objects: a napkin ring, a bracelet, a pair of candle holders or tea lights holders.
Here is attached the. dwg file, of which you can see an image. There are all components for one of each set, and some spare components to fill empty areas.
Step 5: The Laser Machines
The fab-lab in Milan where I'm making my last project is WeMake. They have two laser machines, a smaller 50w and a bigger 80w laser power. Each one has a pc connected, with lasercut5.1 software.
You need a .dxf vector file, which is the file from AutoCAD, but you can make it also with inkscape or illustrator. You can read my instructable about laser engraved stamps to learn more about the steps needed to elaborate and upload the file.
Step 6: The Prototype and Cutting Process
To cut the 3mm plywood with the 50w laser you need about 15-20 speed and 100 power. But with the 80w laser speed can be increased to 30-40.
Here you can see the prototype I told you about before. The joint of the plate is actually not so easy to design, buy in my case the 3d drawing was useful.
Step 7: The Complete Gadget Cut
As I said, when you are satisfied with prototypes, you can cut the full set. Actually what you see in picture is still a work in progress, since my design grew up more.
Step 8: And Assembling of First Napkin Rings...
The "WeMake" labeled napkin holder you see in picture is first full prototype, but elements with slot were too breakable when pushing in place, and I removed the slot in second object.
Step 9: Final Napkin Ring Version
Then I reduced dimensions of radial elements because the ring was very voluminous. I also painted the wood, before the laser cut, to not change edges dark color, but notice that cutting time is a bit longer.
Step 10: The Bigger Brother, the Bracelet
As you see, bracelet is very similar, but discs diameter is bigger and it misses the plate with name.
Step 11: And Little Brothers
These candle holders are other variations. I used the inner area of bigger discs to cut smaller discs. Bracelet discs are external ones, then napkin discs and the smaller ones are for candle holder, which also needs a wider base.
Tea lights holders use same discs of the napkin ring. Radial elements are the same for all the gadgets, sometimes you can use some with the slot which are quite pretty, but pay attention pushing them.
Step 12: The Remaining Parts
As you noticed I cut a little hole in all the parts, also in remaining pieces, so that they can be used as... what do you suggest? Earrings? Necklaces? Enough material for a new project here, and it's recycling!