Introduction: Quickly Create a Fun Creature With Zotebook App

Zotebook is a fun, intuitive app that enables you to quickly draw 2-D figures. You can then laser cut these shapes. This project involves creating multiple flat pieces that are then quickly assembled into a 3-D creature. To set up an account on Zotebook:

1. On an iPad, go to the App Store to download the Zotebook app.

2. Open Zotebook.

3. To create an account: Click on the 'Accounts' tab, enter your information, and click "Create Account."

Step 1: Materials

1. A large sheet of cardboard, wood, etc... something flat that will fit into a laser cutter

2. Zotebook--a design app easily downloaded onto iPad

3. A laser cutter (you don't have to buy one--these can be found in certain libraries and engineering labs)

4. A computer with CorelDraw loaded onto it

Step 2: Begin

1. Open Zotebook.

2. Click on the 'draw' tab.

3. You're ready to draw! Just drag your finger over the screen to create a shape. For this project, a shape with lots of space for connecting tabs is ideal.

4. To erase, just rub your finger over the line you don't want. To undo, tap with three fingers.

Step 3: Symmetry

1. For a more polished-looking shape, you can make the angles equal. Draw two slashes near the angles you want to make equal.

2. To make two lines parallel, draw two slashes on each one (near the center works best).

Step 4: Drawing the Connecting Notches

1. To make the notches that will connect the body platform of your creature to the rest, draw a rectangle near the edge.

2. The unconnected ends of the lines will turn red. Make a small circle around these ends to connect them to the side of the original shape.

Step 5: Right Angles

1. Right angles work best for connecting pieces. To make something a right angle, draw a small square in the corner you want to be a right angle.

Step 6: Removing the Cutout

1. To make the rectangle into a cutout, erase the line on the shape's edge.

2. Zooming in can make actions more precise--spread two fingers to zoom in.

Step 7: Dimensions

1. To bring up a dimension for a line, tap it.

2. Tap on the number that pops up.

3. Type in how wide you want the tabs to be--this is the width of your material. For example, cardboard is about .2 inches thick.

4. The line will automatically resize itself to that dimension.

Step 8: The Rest of the Cutouts

1. Follow steps 4-7 to make more connecting notches. In this example, there are four tabs for the legs and one at the top for the head, but you can add notches for extra legs or a tail if you want.

Step 9: Naming

1. To name your creature, tap the 'Untitled' at the top of the screen. You can now save it under whatever name you want.

Step 10: The Legs

1. Now it's time for the legs of the creature! Click on "Files" at the bottom of the screen and open "Untitled". If you see your previous piece there, don't worry--it's been saved under a different name in step 9. You can erase it with no worry.

2. Draw a triangle.

Step 11: The Cutouts

1. Just as before, draw two small rectangles near the top of the leg and join them to the sides.

2. For a more robust-looking creature once assembled, add another set of cutouts further down.

3. Give them right angles and dimensions. You're done with the legs! Save this file and open another one.

Step 12: The Head

1. Draw a sideways triangle.

2. Draw a curve in the space just before the point of the triangle. Join the edges of the curve to the triangle.

3. Erase the point. Your creature now has a rounded nose.

4. The head is done! Save it and open one last file.

Step 13: The Face

1. Draw a shape. This will be the face of your creature.

2. Draw one cutout in the middle, dimensioning it as always.

3. Draw eyes, a nose, ear cutouts... whatever you want to make your creature look unique. Once a closed shape is drawn on top of the shape, it will automatically cut itself out.

Step 14: Laser Cutting

Yay! You're ready to laser cut!

1. Go to a computer that has CorelDraw.

2. Open and log in.

3. Select "Fabricate" in the top bar. A list of your sketches will pop up.

4. Under "Copies to Cut", select 2 body pieces, 4 leg pieces, 1 head piece, and 1 face piece.

5. At the bottom of the screen, select the 'download' button. A PDF file that has your pieces laid out will open.

6. Save this file in a place where you can find it again.

7. Open CorelDraw. On the welcome screen, click 'New Document" to open a new sketch.

8. At the top of the screen, click "File". Scroll down and click on "Import". A new window will pop up, and you will be able to find and select the file of your creature. Click "Import", and the pieces will be laid onto the Corel Draw document.

9. Click File, then Print. A window will open. Click Preferences, and another window will open.

10. Under "Vector Cut," there will be two sliders, one for speed and one for power. For cardboard, both should be at 100. For balsa wood, speed should be around 40 and power should be 100.

11. On the left side are the dimensions of the sheet you're cutting on. Set these to the dimensions of the sheet you have. Click Okay, and place your sheet in the laser cutter.

12. The focusing process may vary depending on what kind of laser cutter you're using. Open the lid and take the focusing triangle (a metal triangle) and place it on the part of the laser cutter that moves. On the laser cutter's screen, use the arrows to select 'Focus'. Use the joystick to move the tray up until it touches the tip of the triangle.

13. Click Print. On the laser cutter screen, the cut--titled whatever your CorelDraw document is--will be queued. Close the lid, click "Go," and the laser cutter will begin to cut.

14. Once it finishes, take out your sheet and punch out the pieces.

Step 15: Assembly

1. Insert the top slot of one of the legs into one of the slots of the main body piece.

2. Repeat for another leg.

Step 16: Assembly

1. Add the second body piece, slotting it into the second set of slots in the legs.

Step 17: Assembly

1. On the other side, add the next two legs.

Step 18: Assembly

1. Slide the head piece (the piece without the eyes) into the slots at the front.

Step 19: Last Step!

1. Slide the face slot over the top of the head.
Congratulations! Your creature is finished!

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