Intro: Laser Cut Animal Mirrors
Over the summer, I was heading to a few festivals and wanted to bring a mirror to hang in our camp. What better way to get ready in the morning than by channeling your inner spirit animal! I started with one mirror, which quickly turned into two, with plenty of ideas for more. Lion? Unicorn? Alien? The possibilities are endless.
Don't have access to a laser cutter? No problem, order from Ponoko. I formatted the files to be Ponoko friendly - they are ready to go and sized to fit on their medium sized material.
Step 1: Design Process
I started with the design of the antlers and horns. The antlers were easy, I found photo references, traced them in Illustrator, and edited until the shape was what I wanted.
For the horns, I also used a photo as an initial reference, but drew over it in Illustrator using a tapered brush to create the texture. From there I created outlines of all my strokes and merged them to make one shape. To compensate for the fragility of the horns, I added two bridges to stabilize them.
The outline of the mirrors is inspired by old fashioned hand mirrors. I found a few mirrors with outlines I liked, and combined elements which worked well with the shapes of the animal horn and antler cutouts.
Here are the files.
Step 2: Laser Cutting
Once the files are good to go, time to cut! Acrylic mirror can be treated like normal acrylic in terms of laser settings, just make sure the mirror side is facing down so the laser doesn't bounce back at you! The standard settings for our 120 watt laser is 50/70/5000 for 1/8" acrylic, and that worked fine for me. Always do a test first and play around if you find issues with your cut.
Removing the material from the ram takes a little finesse - be careful when removing the cutouts to avoid breaking the delicate pieces.
That's it - enjoy!