While not strictly photography, per se, I have nevertheless been busy lately making things with light, just light of a different kind. One of the many very cool things at TechShop, the shared workspace I found after moving to Tempe, are the laser cutting machines. Probably not coincidentally, the lasers are the first thing one sees when touring the facility, and as soon as I saw them I was all “take my money”. (And then I saw the 3D printers, the CNC routers known as ShopBots, an entire section devoted to electronics and Arduinos, and all the other fantastic
toys machinery to make things with.)
After the initial training class, to make sure you know how to use the software and the machine and be relatively sure you aren’t going to injure anyone, you’re free to basically do whatever you want, 24/7. (Although the lasers are so popular that you have to reserve time, in a 2-hour-max chunk, sometimes well in advance.)
I alternated between real projects and
goofing off experimenting.
One of my first projects was to make coasters out of cork, which sent me into a hell of trying to source material that was just right. I scoured the entire east valley of Phoenix for cork sheet, even at one point cleaning out the entire inventory at area Michael’s stores.
At one point I even made a hanging soap dish for the shower. It only took me a few hours spread over a few days, but it was totally worth it to save that $5 at Walmart.
Since my old watch finally died I got one of those nifty new smart watches (a Pebble) that tells time and tells me how well I slept and that I’m being a lazy ass and only walked 4000 steps today. Unfortunately, though, it has to be charged every few days. Of course that means I need a laser-cut stand to rest it on while charging!
(Naturally I also laser-cut the plastic protective film I keep on the watch face to keep me from scratching it.)
At some point my friend Jonathan was messing around with shaped bokeh, so I tried making him some custom shapes to use, including one with his name lasered out.
As is typical for me going back to junior high, a lot of Christmas presents this year were whatever I had recently learned how to make – for 2015 everyone got something laser cut / etched!
Update from a year later: I’ve since made many projects on the laser cutter: a new darkbox for tintypes, new soles for my sandals, and I’ve even branched out into sculpture.
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