I made quite a few chrissy pressies at Techshop this year. The jewelry, actually, were quite a hit!
This wood is beautiful when lightly varnished. Or not varnished even. I used an 1/8th of an inch thick yellowheart wood, and also experimented with some mahogany too. I picked up these earring earwires from Michaels pretty cheaply: make sure you get Hypoallergenic!
I made this at Techshop!
Step 1: Expand Outlines
Firstly, draw two ellipses, one smaller and inside the other and slightly lower, in a RGB document using the stroke color as red (255,0,0) and with a 0.01 px stroke (for laser cutting).
Copy these two and scale a little smaller and rotate about 15 degrees.
Copy these two and scale and rotate again, so all of them look like the image attached.
Then expand all of the shapes (selecting them all via hotkeys ⌘a), under the edit menu. This will bring up a dialog box, which you can just use the defaults. Click OK.
Step 2: Shape Builder Tool (new to CCS5)
Now we need to gather all the separate shapes and discard everything except the laser cutter path.
I use the Shape Builder Tool all the time. Its great for just pure experimentation, by overlaying various shapes then using it to cut away areas.
With the select tool, select all your shapes. To get a hold of the Shape Builder Tool, use the hotkeys "SHIFT" and "m". Then click on parts of the whole you want to remove, holding down the Option key.
Step 3: Unite Everything Left
Now we need to join what is left into one complete shape. Make sure all parts are selected, then in the Pathfinder palette choose Unite.
Step 4: Delete Interior Shapes
select the A key and grag over the interior curves that intersect inside the whole shape. Press the delete key twice (once to delete the points you just selected, then again to delete the rest of the shape).
Keep doing this until you have one last shape of the whole earring.
Now select the whole shape (v key), and reverse the stroke/fill, so that the color is now on the stroke. Change the stroke to 0.01 px, so it is ready for laser cutting (making sure you are in RGB Color Mode and the red you are using is 255, 0, 0, for cutting).
Lastly, draw a circle (hotkey "l" where you want to chain of the earring to be.
Play around with the size of the final design, ready for laser cutting some demos on paper, before on your wood.
And experiment with different types of wood too!