2016-01-07

Dice & Diamond Lattice

Last year I sent a few projects to Ponoko to be laser cut from transparent acrylic. Here's some impressions on the process and the results.


The process is dead simple, just design the thing as an svg file (templates for different sizes are available on their site) and sent it to be cut. The three types of cuts you can use are 1) the basic cut, 2) engraving cut, and 3) raster shading. These are defined via line/fill colours.

There are a few minor grievances: the system only accepts lines defined to be a certain, microscopic width, so you can't see anything if you use the actual line widths. It would have made more sense to use a line width of the laser (0.2 mm), which would have made adding margins intuitive. The file upload/material selection UI is a bit clunky, forcing you to go through a bunch of menus to select correct material, size and thickness each time. Postage to outside US is prohibitive, but I managed to use a 'murican middlewoman to reduce it.

The cut quality is pretty consistent, but adding 0.1 mm of margin sometimes results in a dangerously snug fit (acrylic is pretty brittle), sometimes a loose fit. Ponoko has tutorials on fighting this by using convex edge sections, but my things were too small to utilize this.

Enough whining, here's what I got. This is the structure of a diamond, inspired by someone (can't find the site) making a 3D go 'board' out of zigzagging wire.
I made also an animation in Blender of the construction.

A clear cube, and  a dice with the same structure. A bit hard to read.

You can buy these from my Etsy shop .

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