I really pushed myself on my latest design. It was way more complicated than anything I've tried before, and I made some mistakes, but I think it came out well.
Here's a quick video where you can see how it shines under direct light:
In the shade:
What I learned:
- The tiny ( < 1/100") width of the laser cuts is big enough to start affecting the design, causing holes that accumulate as large numbers of pieces are pushed together. This made it close to impossible to get the whole thing aligned properly. If you look at the holes up close, you'll see the pieces don't line up properly.
- With designs this complicated, I should switch to a different kind of backing that I can progressively apply as I add more pieces. Currently, managing the position of 50+ pieces, each lighter than a feather, is an exercise in frustration.
Here's how well it came out compared to the simulation -- I worked to get the centerline aligned with darker material.
My workflow for producing it ended up being really tedious:
- Autoconversion of high-res bitmap into vector data: 10 minutes.
- Cleaning up vector data: 3 hours
- Converting vectors into pieces to cut, and rotating them: 3 hours.
- Test cutout: 1 hour
- Real cutout and assembly: : 1 hour
- Getting the damn pieces to not overlap so I could glue them: 1 1/2 hours
- Gluing, sanding, fixing, oiling: 1 1/2 hours.
Unfortunately, there isn't much room for improvement except in the last two steps.... unless I decide to reprogram the original setup to do the first three steps automatically. This likely will take 10-15 hours, but at least I'll be engaging my brain instead of doing tedious work in CorelDraw and Visio.
Some more construction photos: