For the latest work by performance artist Deke Weaver, "Wolf" (part of his lifelong project, "The Unreliable Bestiary"), I have been put in charge of creating fashionable threshold objects which bring audience members into the performance. We created 600+ laser cut medallions, along with a smaller batch that light up, to give out to people attending the free performance (if you are around Urbana, Illinois, you should check it out!).

In the design and research of this project, I learned a lot about the bonuses of incorporating soft-circuit methodologies in an end product which is technically rigid. I also learned techniques for two-sided laser printing, and the manipulation of small electronic components like SMD LED's.The performance is happening in early September, and we just came up with plans to do this at the beginning of August, so this was also an exercise in rapid prototyping and deployment.

The whole batch ended up costing me about 30-40 cents a piece including all the R&D. Make sure to get more materials than you absolutely need to account for screwups.

Materials Equipment
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Access to Laser Cutter
  • Soldering Iron + Solder
  • Sand Paper

Step 1: Create Design

Deke sent me a little JPEG drawing of the original design of the wolf head. I brought it into illustrator, ran the trace object tool on it, and simplify it a  very tiny bit. From there, I made several iterations on this original idea. I added an extra hole at the top of the pendant so that when strung it would lie flat. We also tested out different designs such as having the wolf-face cut out and a half-moon design.

Like most laser cutting, when you make your design in illustrator or corel or an open source alternative, Inkscape, you need to separate your design into parts you want to raster etch (such as the wolf's face) and parts that will be entirely cut out as a vector cut (like the border, and the holes for the lanyard).

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Bio: I want computers to be wilder. https://twitter.com/HikingHack
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