Sunday, May 22, 2016
Alas, I missed the time two weeks ago someone used it to burn an image of their face into toast.
The Eye was good for giving me an idea of how close I could place cuts to each other without becoming too fragile (about a sixteenth of an inch) and what to expect using a laser to cut wood.
It took me a while thinking how to put box sides together, but I came up with a mortise and tenon design that would allow cuts from a single piece of wood.
Since the cuts were mostly straight lines, the design took about twelve minutes to cut. I did a double-cut to insure there were no spots where the laser didn't make it all the way through.
For the most part, it was a clean cut. There were a few places where the bottom veneer was still uncut; I'm not sure if this is a focus problem or maybe places where the wood doesn't vaporize and so soot or ash is blocking the laser's beam.
The tips of the unicorns' horns were a bit charred. I managed to hit the bottom limit to how small I can cut unicorns without damaging them (hey, what do you know: it gets really hot between the acute angle a laser traces over wood).
I'd also assumed that the laser beam was one or two photon's wide, and that the sides' mortises and tenons would fit snugly into each other. It turned out that (hey, surprise!) the vaporized cut is about thirty thousandths of an inch wide, which meant the quarter-inch cuts I'd made for the mortises were noticeably deeper than the quarter-inch thick tenons. The difference wasn't too bad, and it gave the box a Frank Lloyd-Write or medieval appearance (especially since the mortise and tenons had a distinctly charred look to them).
I think for a more snug fit, I'd have to cut each side separately (so that the mortise from one side no longer form the tenon of its adjacent neighbor) and then scale them down about 99 percent.
I daubed wood glue between the sides.
I went back and forth between wanting to leave the unicorns in their unicorn-shaped holes, or taking them out and gluing them on the plain sides.
Night-light functionality won out, and I left the holes open.
I also wanted a picture of the side design, because rotating the sides in my head to figure out if they would mesh with the bottom piece and other sides was really hard.
"Oh!" I said, and so did Mark. He convinced me that one of the unicorns should go onto the lid instead of the side.
We're still debating a finishing. When I asked The Child what he thought about it, he said that the burn marks made the lamp "look like it had been in a fire storm."
Also, it does smell a little bit like a campfire, which isn't the sort of thing parents like to smell in their children's bedrooms.
It's possible that glow-in-the-dark paint is in a unicorn's future...