In trying to think of something nice to get an old friend of mine, while also staying in my budget of almost no money and that I could accomplish between graduate school classes. Thankfully I have access to a laser cutter, which means I was able to put something together that didn't require too much time (after all the prep work was finished).
My friend is a big fan of Astrology, and I tend to lean more to the Astronomy side of things, so I figured I could make him a mash up of both worlds. I went out and found a constellation map for Taurus (in svg format which was nice). The page I found that on also contained an svg of the zodiac sign (which turned out to be quite helpful). Then I found a website which is working on scanning and uploading really nice constellation engravings from the 17th century, thanks Hubble & STSCI!
I went through a ton of reference images and found that there's really no consensus on what the "official" Taurus constellation is. Some people include the Pleiades, some people add additional stars to the hooves, it was a bit of a hodge-podge.
In the end, I made a bit of a concession. The two star maps that were the most popular only differed by whether or not they connected the Pleiades (and where they connected it from). I decided to cut out Pleiades like it was part of the constellation, and not connect it to the other stars via the constellation line I was drawing. I felt this still let it be part of the constellation without the difficulty of deciding where to connect it, or if I should include it. By all rights, it is it's own constellation and deserves to be cut out as well (so that's what I did).
In the images below you'll see all the different layers in my Corel Draw File (the final printed version), as well as the settings I used on the laser cutter. I've included the Illustrator file as well, as that's what I started working in and you can print from it just the same. The Illustrator file is organized into layers. The Corel file is organized into colors (it's just the way the printer works).
How the print worked:
-The stars in the constellation were vector cut out so you could see through them (I may try to back light this in the future)
-The outline of the whole piece, and the hole to hang this on the wall were also vector cut
-The stars that were not part of the constellation were raster cut
-Taurus was raster cut
-Lines connecting all of the stars in the constellation were raster cut
Material wise, you can cut this into anything you can vector/raster cut in a laser cutter. I chose the nicest piece of 1/4" MDF I could find.
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