One day, I saw a student gluing cardboard squares together to make a cube. It occurred to me that by using the raster and vector settings on the laser cutter, I could cut out an unfolded square and score the edges so that it would fold up into a cube.
So I tested my theory and made this:
Then I forgot about it. I didn’t compensate for the cardboard’s thickness, but this did prove my concept. Now and then, I’d come across a geometric solid that could be made with the laser cutter, but nothing really interested me. I’ll let you guess what eventually crossed my mind.
First, I found some pictures of the sides of the puzzle box and made vectors out of them. Then I painstakingly went through all the areas, and resized most of them to make a cuttable pattern (this was actually kinda fun and made me appreciate the effort made in creating the designs). Some cuts had to be slightly moved to not interfere with other cuts. I eventually had successful tests on paper. Then I put the sides together in one design and tested on paper.
The next step was to find metallic foil board (basically cardboard with gold on one side – 12″x12″). And I added tiny tabs to the edges for glue points. The board wouldn’t lay flat, so I used double-stick tape to keep it down. Note: use the minimum of tape you can. Otherwise, it becomes a real pain to pull it up without tearing. For assembly, I used a superglue to glue the tabs to the sides then white school glue to even out the edges and make it more stable.
After making a successfully prototype, I took some sheets of foil board and spray painted the white side black. Once again, double-stick tape to keep it flat. I also realized that since my foil board was square, I could make a bigger cube by turning the design forty-five degrees.
I used 100% speed and 22% power for the vector cuts and 100% / 60% for the raster scores on the foil board, but your mileage may vary. My finished cubes:
Download my Hellraiser laser cut file in AI format – 52K.
I put an led inside a cube to test lighting it up. I’ll have to work on it. It does make cool shadows though.
I thought about hanging a smaller one from my rear view mirror. Two problems – one, it would eventually fade. And more importantly, somehow, the sun or someone’s lights would reflect off it and momentarily blind me.