Halo/Tau Inspired Tower

Created by AndySlater for our Lighting Effects Competition.

I get the impression that people often think owning a laser cutter means you can just load in a drawing and have something amazing pop out the other end. Alas it's not that simple because, like any tool, a laser cutter solves some problems and presents a whole bunch of new ones. While it's great for cutting straight lines and perfect arcs, the cut is wider at the top of the material than at the bottom; we're talking about fractions of a millimetre but it's enough to be a right royal pain in the butt.

Usually I work with 1mm MDF and this project represents my first attempt at making a structure from 3mm acrylic (the width of cut issue is more pronounced with thicker material), as I thought I'd get some interesting lighting effects courtesy of the acrylic's reflective, translucent, and light gathering (in the case of the red stuff) properties. It works, but the acrylic scratches easily and acts like a magnet for dust, fluff, fingerprints, and just about anything else you can think of that'll detract from the desired effect.

I've learned 2 things from this project:

The first is that I need to give the assembly procedure a lot more thought at the design stage; there are a number of parts in this model that I had to line up by eye and which have resulted in flaws.

The second is how to polish scratches out of acrylic using various grades of wet and dry paper (from 400 to 1200 grit) and then finishing off with T-Cut (car polish).

The model is 41cm tall.

        

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