Introduction: Laser Cut Helicone

Original Design (John Edmark):

Instructables influence:

I recently became fascinated by John Edmark's work. He's a designer and scientist who creates beautiful sculptures that intertwine the aesthetics of nature with our understanding of mathematics.

Today, I will show us how to build a Helicone. I have made some minor modifications to John Edmark's design, but with this structure, one can create an wide array of sculptures that utilize his work.

For materials, all you will need are a laser cutter, 1/8" plywood, wood glue, sand paper, and some sort of dowel.

Step 1: Prepare the Illustrator File

We will mimic the underlying structure of John Edmark's Helicone. First, we create a circle, with a hole of size that matches our dowel. For simplicity, I decided to make all the branches of my Helicone, be distanced symmetrically and of the same length. I attached 2 branches with circles at the ends.

Now, the magic of Edmark's work relates to the Fibonacci. We create another partial circle (same size as the middle circle), and make it so our semi circle is exactly 137.5 degrees. This particular number relates to Fibonacci and will give us the unique structure of the Helicone that draws its visual presence from nature.

Step 2: Laser Cut Pieces

Next, we will laser cut our Helicone pieces. At this stage, make sure that you have enough plywood. We will be cutting a lot of these individual Helicone branches. Make sure to cut a good amount of these pieces. This will allow us to have enough spare parts, just in case we make a mistake.

Step 3: Sand Your Pieces Like Hustling Sloth Would!

Now with all our pieces, we will sand each individual Helicone branch and disk. Be careful not to sand to hard. The pieces are thin and fragile, so it can easily be snapped with too much force.

Also, we can prepare the dowel. I did not have a dowel on hand, so I decided to improvise with a wooden chopstick. I sanded the shaft until pieces fit and slid along the holes of the Helicone bases.

Step 4: Asemble the Spiral

Finally, we can assemble our Helicone. First, we will choose starting location, and then slowly alter that location. One of the spiraling base positions for the Helicone come from offsetting each of the individual pieces. Refer to the 3D printed instructable of the Helicone or these images from above. The images will show you how each piece is offset below and above (all except the first and last piece).

Step 5: Design the Base

For the base, I measured the diameter of the dowel (chopstick in this build) made a series of cylinders that would fit along the shaft of the dowel. I slowly increased the diameter of each cylinder, while keeping the hole the same. I glued each circle, which gave me a strong removable base that resembles a pyramid like structure.

Step 6: Play With Your DNA

Now that you are done, feel free to play with your Helicone DNA. At one instance, we have a double Helix DNA and with a small twist, we can make a pinecone/tree. Both have ties to the natural world, which truly strikes a fascination with the beauty and aesthetic of nature.