Laser Cutting and Scoring: A 3D Surface Function

Paul Haeberli

Nov 1996

Horiz Bar

In this project, I construct a sculpture of a 3D surface function out of cardboard. This is my second experiment in laser manufacturing. It is inspired in part by one of my first computer graphics projects.

The cardboard sheet looks like this after laser scoring and cutting.

All the individual pieces are packed onto one sheet for efficiency.

This part of the structure forms a rack to support 23 individual cards that slice through the surface function.

This rack has 207 small slots cut into it. I'm glad I didn't have to do this by hand.

The rack is folded into a zig zag shape using scored lines on the under surface.

Tabs on each card will fit into these slots.

A binary encoded tag is scored into each card so the cards can be inserted in the correct order.

Putting the first card in is a little tricky, but after a little while everything comes together.

One down, 22 to go.

This is the geometry of the tabs that fit into each slot.

Next I insert the last card. This brings the support into shape.

Now adding cards is easy. Work goes quickly.

Completing the entire assembly takes only about 15 minutes.

Here's the final surface. I like some parts of it.

I'm starting to wonder about other ways of connecting parallel cards.

The scored edges of the cardboard are a nice brown color. I love the soft shadows and the interreflection of light between the surfaces.

What other structures can we make? What's next?

My initial project in laser manufacturing, was this simple folded shape.