This year at Rosie and the Boys we have branched out into using the skills of others to help create some of our products. We are passionate about creating things by hand but want our products to be available to a wide range of people and budgets. With this in mind, we set about searching for some of the UK’s finest to help.
I was thrilled to be stall neighbours with Jacques and Karli of Designosaur at December’s Crafty Fox market and even more delighted when Jacques agreed to help out with laser cutting some of my designs.
It has been fascinating learning more about the process behind creating a lasercut design and Jacques has been a very patient teacher. Early on it became clear that many of the skills associated with “traditional” crafts are still required when using new technologies.
Jacques and Karli have very kindly agreed to answer a few questions about the craft of laser cutting. So here goes:
Laser cutting is used more and more in products. Why do you think it is so popular?
Laser cutting is amazing! You can take digital images and use them to create accurate Models, Cars, Jewellery, Electrical Components, Clothes and Art you can even use it to cook sausages. I think that it is it’s versatility in a wide range of industries that has made it so popular. It allows people to create unique products at the touch of a button and you don’t have to be a millionaire to do it.
Can you laser cut anything?
No not anything, but nearly anything. It depends on the laser cutter. The laser cutter that we use is able to cut a long list of materials including acrylic, wood, cork and neoprene. It can also engrave anodised aluminium but not cut it. Jacques engraved a dinosaur onto the back of his phone to try it out, we are pretty sure this voids his insurance…
What is the best thing about laser cutting? And the worst?
The best thing about laser cutting is that it is inexpensive, the worst thing is that everybody thinks that it is easy to do it well.
Tell us a bit more about the process – do you walk around with an Austin Powers style laser gun?
Unfortunately not! The laser cutter is a big machine, that uses a laser to cut out designs from your CAD drawing. It takes a matter of seconds to cut out a small shape but the more detail you have in a design, the more expensive it will be! Jacques does all of the laser cutting for designosaur, so for us, he creates the designs, makes sure all of the cut lines, engrave lines are in place, sets the plastic (or other material) up on the laser cutter, the laser cutter cuts the design, and the process is self finishing… HOWEVER if you use wood like us, all the pieces need cleaning afterwards. The laser cutter runs at different speeds and intensities and it is experience which means that you can get the best cut for each material, thickness and finish.
What creative opportunities does laser cutting provide designers?
The ability to use a range of mediums with only one tool. It also means that you can experiment without spending too much money!
How does someone get into lasercutting?
Lots of people are laser cutting at School or University these days, if those days are behind you then having good CAD drawings means that you can get your designs cut at any laser cutters. When you go to the laser cutter it is helpful to have an idea of the process so that you and the laser cutter are on the same page!
Do you think 3D printing will take over from laser cutting?
Definitely. The price for 3D printing needs to come down quite a lot to make it more accessible but eventually a lot more people will be using 3D printing for jewellery and everything else really! Laser cutting is a completely different technique which only works in a 2D form. 3D printing obviously means that you need to be able to model items in 3D. We think that converting 2D drawings into 3D drawings and keeping that designers style like you can with laser cutting will be a lot harder, so there are a lot of laser cutters out there that would need to 3D model!
Who are your laser cutting heroes?
I get a new hero almost every day its great just seeing how people constantly use the laser to create amazing new designs.
Some people may think that using a laser cutting machine is not “craft” in the same way as something like woodcarving for example. Can you describe the craft element of lasercutting?
The craft in Laser cutting is in the design not the making. However, the craft element is also in knowing your material and your process inside out. All woodcarvers will know that doing something a certain way could ruin a design – with laser cutting it is the same thing, to get the best results you have to know the process inside out. However we are quite happy to be known as designers not crafters!
To see more of Jacques and Karli’s work head over to: http://www.designosauryeah.co.uk/
To get your hands on one of our lasercut cuckoo clocks head over to: http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/rosieandtheboys/product/personalised-new-baby-cuckoo-clock-papercut