Woodblock Prints

Occasionally back in the day,  I would breakout the linoleum blocks and the speedball cutting tools, and carve out a design to make block prints.  My experience in making prints spans from potato carvings to cardboard stencils, linoleum and wood blocks.  As designs became larger, complex, and multi-color, the time it would take to carve the block plates, made finishing a project difficult at best.

Then, the laser cutter…..

Using the adobe suite of products I created two black and white drawings to be translated to wood blocks.

rooster_redPlate rooster_BlackPlate

Unlike traditional transfer/carving methods, I decided to utilize the 60W laser to etch the images into poplar wood vs. carving.  I chose poplar for its hardness and ability not to warp as easy as pine or other softer woods.  60W laser setting was 100 power, 60%speed, 500 PPI

The image below is a 5″x7″ laser cut of the black plate of the rooster image.

image

Top-Left is the black plate for the left facing rooster.  Bottom-left is the red plate for the left facing, top-right – red plate, bottom right – black plate

image (1)

The following image shows the red left-facing plate printed, and the black plate inked up and ready to be printed

image (2)

The first red/black rooster print, along side the right facing black print.

image (3) image (5)

And of course, if you do one, you have to do many.

Multiprint

Preschool playset remodel.

1

My youngest son and nephews pre-school is tiny. Literally it’s two classrooms, but it’s a great environment for them both which includes identical playsets in each class.

Hundreds if not thousands of kids have played on them. Being built in the 80’s when building codes weren’t as strict, they were no longer compliant.

While the wood is still good, had been sanded well and sealed well there were a few problems.  The banister rails been deemed to be too short and the handrails needed to have another one put on the bottom under the other two on either side.

The choices were to surround the play sets with a 6 foot giant landing mat around the sides, or to raise the banister rails and add another handrail. A landing pad would have taken up far too much room in the class so I volunteered to rebuild some of the rails so they met code.

Because construction was going to take a little while (actually it turned out to be a long while, started before Christmas it was finished in early April), the rail cutting / routing / sanding was going to take place off site and then assembled onsite during a weekend afternoon

First thing was to take lots of pictures, and lots of measurements.

2 3 4 5 6 7 8

 

I did up some high-level sketches just showing how the rails would be raised.

 

9 10

 

The next step was to cut up a whole pile of 2”x2” rails to the desired height with a 45 angel cut on the ends to match what was originally there. The rails also had been rounded off with a quarter round router bit, so I did that as well.

 

11

 

I knew there was no way I could match the old finish that was on the original wood so I decided to go with something a bit brighter and engaging for the kids mixing blue, red, green and white paints that I had my son pick out. Then it was just a matter of cutting and routing. Here are some shots of the wood after cutting but being painted. The coats ranged from 4-5 to get a deep coverage and then 3 coats of a clear poly to brighten it up.

 

12 13 14 15

By some miracle the measurements all turned out perfect, which is nearly a first for me. We still have the bottom hand rail to make but that will be easy to do.

88nine Lazzored!

Radio Milwaukee Lazzored!

I used the laser cutter to make a Raspberry Pi case, and rather than leave the front of it all boring, I added an 88nine Radio Milwaukee logo to it. (Since I had a project that involves a Raspberry Pi and 88nine, it seemed appropriate.)

Radio Milwaukee Logo

I started with the original 88nine logo, which is brown and orange. I couldn’t find a nice hires version, but a quick web search turned up something that would work…

Radio Milwaukee Logo

To start with, I converted the logo to black and white, since color wasn’t going to matter to the laser cutter…

Radio Milwaukee Logo

I then separated the top bars (which are orange in the original logo) and dithered them to create a visual separation from the bottom part of the logo that was brown in the original.

Radio Milwaukee Logo

Here’s a close-up of the dithering pattern. It’s extremely simple, but it worked. I’ve done a lot of work with halftones and dithering, and you can get extremely complex, but sometimes the simple things just work.

Radio Milwaukee close-up

Here’s a close-up of the final piece of Baltic Birch plywood with the logo etched in it. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

M1 and M2

M1

M2

If you saw Shane’s post Submission for the 100 Square Feet of Art Charity Event you probably wondered if anyone else managed to create a piece of art for the event, and if they too used the laser cutter. The answer to both questions is “Yes!” and here are the two pieces I created, M1 and M2.

There’s an in-depth (and potentially boring) post about these pieces over on my blog titled Two Square Feet of Art. Enjoy!

More Laser Cutter Artwork….

A laser cut piece, one stacked on top of the other for depth.  The top piece is a cut out featuring an angelic grave stone and the back piece is a picture of a graveyard with some well defined trees.

This is my newest piece, cut and etched on our 60 watt laser cutter.  Both images are from pictures that I took out at a couple of graveyards.  I inverted the image in the background so that the sky was nice and dark and the trees were bright.  Unfortunately, this washed out a lot of the tombstones in front, so I’m going to try re-etching this piece before I offer it up for sale.

The back piece took approximately 1 hour, 20 minutes to etch as a 11.5″ square.  Additionally, I found that the margins are a bit off on the cutter.  The left margin has shifted around 1/8″-1/4″  to the right, so the piece wasn’t perfectly centered.

Ho Ho Lights

My Husband and I wanted to put up some kind of Christmas decorations in our apartment windows over looking the city. After talking about it for a while, I decided to make lighted letters saying, “HO HO HO” …but since we only have two pairs of windows, it would have to just be, “HO HO”.

In the wee hours on Black Friday, we got the materials: 4 sheets of wood, 4 boxes of 100 count LED lights, and extension cords. After sketching out the design…

…and cutting out the letters…

…it was time to drill the 400 holes and hot glue all the lights in place.

It only took a weekend to make and hang these and I think the end result is well worth it.

MAHRER CHRERSTMAHS

Submission for the 100 Square Feet of Art Charity Event

The picture consists of a laser-cut vine motif with an orchid laser-etched in the center, raised a half inch above a laser-etched picture of a creek with large rocks.

Art for charity’s sake

 

When Raster mentioned the event, “Red, White, & Black: 100 Square Feet of Art“, I thought I’d take part.  The general idea is for artists to pick up a 12×12″ piece of wood and “art” it somehow, transforming it into a mini-masterpiece for an auction to support pets in need.  The auction takes place on December 7th, so be sure to stop in.  They’re featuring live music and food along with a raffle and the auction.

Taking a cue from some Art Boxes I’d been working on, I decided to use a similar vine motif with an orchid etched in the center.  After studying it for a while, I thought it needed depth, so I laser etched a photograph that I took out at Boerner Botanical Gardens for the backdrop.

Still not content, I wanted the darker shadows of the vines to play along with the lighter picture behind, so I cut several half-inch blocks to raise the top piece above the back piece.

The back has been treated with teak oil while the front was stained with Bombay mahogany satin stain.  The blocks are put specifically in each corner in order to maximize the amount of light that hits the back piece.  I may add a few extra spacers for support in the coming days.

Laser Badges!

Laser-cut Name Badges

We saw these nice laser-cut name badges on the Pumping Station: One wiki, and thought that Milwaukee Makerspace should have some as well, and Saturday night’s alright for laser cutting so now there’s about a dozen blank badges for people to make their own badges. (And the one test badge I already make for jason.)

Have I mentioned I love our laser cutter?

60 Watts of Lazzor Power!

Laser Training

Last week we got the 60 watt laser cutter “officially” online and working. We even got a bunch of people trained on using it. There’s still an issue with homing, but if you follow the instructions, it works fine.

And by “works fine” I mean it “works great!”

I ended up cutting my Nerdy Derby car last week, and I also did this laser-etched coaster, which is about 3.75″ in diameter and 3mm thick. There was a little bit of scorching at the bottom, but I may be able to sand that off easily. I was still playing with the cutting settings a bit. I may also play with the masking tape idea to prevent scorching the surface when cutting.

Laser Etched and Cut

The artwork for the coaster is a mathematician from a NASA coloring book, and I found it on OpenClipArt.org which is a great source for public domain vector-based artwork.

(Oh, we also ended up connecting the PC that was on the 25 watt laser cutter (which is down for maintenance) because it’s got a newer version of CorelDraw.)