Snuck in a couple of hours on the laser tonight thanks to my Very Best Friend (VBF). Each sheet(!) of irises was cut in only 3:08. That is way faster throughput than my manual cuts. I think this project is a good illustration of how rapid prototyping can make possible the previously impossible, in particular with respect to scale for this piece.
More after the break…
In scaling up for production, I ended up spending a lot of time in Illustrator, sorting out how to mass-produce the required parts. It’s sort of a different approach to the work and it’s causing me to stretch a bit, because what I really enjoy is the hands-on and sitting at the laptop doesn’t feel hands-on. But the results rock.
The laser rockin’ the blue irises. Cut these in single sheets. My VBF gives outstanding production advice. On his counsel, I added break-out tags to the paper pieces so they would stay in place during the cutting and not fly around and catch fire. Later you just take scissors or a scalpel and release the pieces. It turns out I should have made the tags at least 0.5mm since the laser driver software sort of quietly rejected my 0.2mm tags and just connected the dots. It worked out anyway, but noted for next time.
The slits in the iris, as you’ve guessed, are to allow the iris to conform to the curve of the eyeball when glued on.
Backside of the irises. I print the irises first on a colour laser printer from one file, and then use a different file for the laser cutter that only has the tool paths. We lined up the piece via the fiducials in the printout. Excellent accuracy.
The eyelids cut out nicely as well. Added substantial knock-out tags to this file as well to prevent these from blowing around like feathers. See, there’s compressed air blowing out of the tool head and that can wreak havoc with light material. We were able to stack 2 sheets and also do them 3-wide for the lids. These took about 5:18 for each page. Lots of fussy cutting. Can you imagine doing this by hand in volumes?
Here we’re cutting the mounts for the strawlenoids. These go on the back of the eye panels and provide a nice cradle to keep the strawlenoids in place and at an optimal angle. That’s the theory anyway. We also cut out 6 eye panels tonight, but you’ve already seen that.
Happily, I’ve now got a bunch of the parts I need to scale up production over the holidays. That’s all I want for Christmas: time. Well… that and my own laser cutter.