Bonzo's new dog tag for Funbox

Bonzo’s new dog tag for Funbox

Posted Posted in Exhibitions, Perspex

Last Christmas, Kevin from Funbox got in touch with a new idea. Previously, I’d helped Funbox with Perspex yale key eyes for Flossie the funster, a padlock nose for Fluffy the other funster, and skeleton key teeth for them both.

This time, Kevin wanted a new collar tag for Bonzo the Funbox dog laser cut from Perspex. His old one was black and white and made from a material that was curling and delaminating. With the Christmas shows just around the corner, the Funbox team thought that it was high time that Bonzo got a fabulous new collar.

Hot new look

Kevin wanted to keep the style of collar the same. A giant paw print was fun and looked great, but he wanted to spice it up to make it festive.

Ideally, he wanted the tag to have two layers, using different colours with cut outs on one layer to show off the colour underneath. I agreed that this was possible and that having two layers would help with the longevity of the tag. These parts of the Funbox costumes have to put up with a lot of packing and unpacking as well as costume changes during each show.

Kevin sent me artwork for the paw shape he wanted. I was able to trace it to create a vector file for laser cutting, and I added a hanging loop at the top so it could be attached to Bonzo’s collar.

Bonzo's new collar

Layering it up

Kevin bought pieces of 3mm silver glitter and 3mm translucent red Perspex to the workshop. He wanted red paw pads to be revealed through the silver paw outline.

To do this, I had to cut out the overall shape of the paw in the red. Then I did the same with the silver and cut out the pad shapes to create five windows.

This is how the pieces looked after they’d been cut and laid on top of each other.

Like a dog with a new collar

Bonzo was delighted with his new collar. It’s perfect for Christmas and looks very smart all year round.

 

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road safety buzzwire games

Road safety buzzwire games

Posted Posted in Exhibitions, Perspex

FifeX make interactive exhibits, and they were commissioned to create two road safety buzzwire games by Nottinghamshire County Council. They wanted them to use in their road safety workshops.   It was important for the games to be portable and battery powered so they could be used in a range of environments.

Designing the boards

FifeX decided to create the boards out of 5mm Perspex and got in touch to ask if I could laser cut the components for them. They wanted the boards to consist of two layers as you can see in the picture. An upper layer consisting of various shapes was to be secured to the back board in such a way that gaps of a certain width were created between the panels.

Ken and Paul planned to stick metal contact strips to these edges of these separate panels to create the buzzwire element of the game. They chose 5mm Perspex so that the edges of the pieces would have the right thickness to attach the contact strips securely.

Creating the buzzwire games

Paul sent me the artwork for the panels. I cut all the shapes, including holes for the stand offs that would connect the boards. When they were ready, Ken and Paul removed the film on the Perspex pieces. Film protects Perspex from getting scratched during shipping and from the heat of the laser cutting process. Then they added the electronic components and the printed cartoon style scenes showing hazards.

How to play

Users move a ‘car’ or ‘bike’ around the road shaped path through the game. They have to stay in the middle of the road or risk hitting the edges and buzzing! As players progress around the board, the hazards act as points of discussion during the workshops.

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LaserFlair has entered the UK Blog Awards 2018. Public voting is open until 22nd December. If you’d like to vote for me, you can do so here. Thanks!

plastic surgery for Funbox funsters

Plastic surgery for Funbox funsters

Posted Posted in Other, Perspex

Acrylic is a versatile material that comes in many colours and thicknesses, so it was perfect for this ‘plastic surgery’ project.

Funbox is the show of Anya, Gary and Kevin, the stars of The Singing Kettle. It’s all about silly songs and family fun. Their show features Bonzo the dog and the funsters Flossie and Fluffy (pictured) who live in the Funbox. They tour around Scotland dressed up as mermaids and fish, pirates and princesses and kinds of things.

Wardrobe emergency!

Kevin contacted LaserFlair because they needed help with certain parts of Fluffy and Flossie’s costumes. They’d made Fluffy’s yale key eyes, Flossie’s padlock nose and both sets of skeleton key teeth from a material that clearly wasn’t up to the rigours of touring. After only two shows, they were drooping, curling and delaminating, not a good look! They hoped to make replacements out of 5mm acrylic which would be tough, rigid and colourful with a much longer life.

Plastic surgery for Funbox funster
Fluffy the Funbox funster with laser cut yale key eyes and skeleton key teeth

Acrylic eyes, teeth and noses

Kevin found artwork for key and padlock shapes that they liked for the eyes and nose, and other skeleton key shapes that he wanted to base the teeth shapes on. He also sourced the acrylic for the eyes and noses because he wanted to use particular colours. He brought everything to the LaserFlair workshop and together we edited the artwork to make everything the right size. We also created holes in convenient places so the parts could be stitched onto the costumes. Acrylic is a great material to laser cut, so we soon had a colourful pile of eyes, noses and teeth.

Unfortunately, acrylic don’t last forever. So eighteen months on, LaserFlair performed laser eye surgery for Flossie who needed new green yale key eyes. She needs to look at her very best as she tours the country keeping the nation’s kids entertained!

 

Have you got a project that you think we could help you with? Contact us or ask for a quote.

Ochil Ultra trophies

Ochil Ultra trophies

Posted Posted in Other, Perspex

Ben, the Race Director of the Ochil Ultra, got in touch in August. He wondered if I could make bespoke trophies for the race which was to be held on 30th September 2017.

The Long Ochil Ultra is a gruelling 50 mile cross country race that follows the Core Path Network from Stirling to central Perth. At 30 miles long, the Short Ochil Ultra starts 20 miles into the 50 mile race at Glen Devon and ends with the Long race in central Perth. Keep It Simple, the company that Ben runs with his dad to deliver chip timing services to running, cycling and triathlon events, organises the race.

Ochil Ultra artwork

Designing the trophies

Ben wanted the trophies to be based on the Ochil Ultra race logo. He liked the idea of using green Perspex to match the shade of the logo and he wanted them to be free standing.

Ben sent an artwork file of the logo and a drawing showing where he’d like 1st, 2nd and 3rd to appear. As the bottom of the logo is curved, he added that he wanted the trophy bottoms to be flattened off so that they’d sit well and not rock.

Initially, we looked at using 10mm green Perspex as it’s the thickest I can cut. We wanted the trophies would be wide enough to sit on their edges. Unfortunately, it was hard to find 10mm green Perspex. There were lots of shades to choose from in 3 and 5mm instead. Ben chose a green shade in 5mm and I designed a slot system to function as a stand.

Ochil Ultra picture

Final artwork checks

I created a proof for the artwork. It showed all the cut lines for the trophy outlines, text and stand arrangement for Ben to approve. Once the Perspex arrived, I checked its thickness to make sure that the slots would fit accurately. Then I cut all the trophies.

Ben wanted five of each of 1st, 2nd and 3rd. He also asked for six blank trophies as souvenirs for the veteran categories.

 

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Perspex legs for designer table

Perspex legs for designer table

Posted Posted in Designers, Furniture, Perspex

Trevor Coston is a freelance designer based in the Highlands. Bisque commissioned him to design and install a conference table for their London radiator showroom. They wanted their radiators illuminated through glass portholes in the tabletop as a focal point. Bisque loved the results.

Subsequently, the Zehnder Group commissioned him to design a coffee table around one of their own radiators. It would be one of the first things that visitors would see in their new multi-million pound Customer Experience Centre.  Something special was required.

Making an invisible table

Trevor investigated about a dozen different designs using different models of radiators. He decided to suspend one of their Classic column radiators almost invisibly under a glass top. 9mm Perspex seemed the obvious choice for the legs, so he pared the shape down to the minimum required to hold the weight of the radiator and table top. The next challenge was to find a suitable supplier to make them, and he got in touch with LaserFlair.

I laser cut the table leg shapes from 9mm Perspex and sent them to Trevor. During production, I left the protective film on the Perspex sheet to protect the it from the heat of the laser. Heat makes it turn cloudy around the cut edges which detracts from the finish. It’s also useful to leave the films on Perspex products to protect them during shipping as Perspex can get scratched easily.

radiator table perspex top

Another happy customer

Trevor said: ‘I found LaserFlair through a Google search. Instantly, I knew that it would be my first choice of supplier. It was a fairly local small company and very competitive on costs and lead times.

The components arrived on time, machined exactly as I requested. Once assembled, the table looked fantastic. I now have quite a few projects in mind that I would like to use LaserFlair for. It’s very exciting  to think about what we could achieve together in the future.’

 

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tartan installation with Glenfiddich artist

Tartan installation with Glenfiddich artist

Posted Posted in Artists, Perspex

Jeehee Park is an artist in residence at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown, Aberdeenshire. She planned to create an art installation using Perspex to create an effect like tartan for an exhibition at the distillery, and she needed help with laser cutting and engraving them.

Maximum panel size

Jeehee had created pieces in a similar vein before, but wanted to experiment with her ideas further. She sent artwork for two large panels at 1200 x 800mm, the largest size that I could cut. Four smaller panels to create a box effect were also required, along with lots of small square spacers to help with assembling the piece.

Engraving clear Perspex

The Perspex for the panels was all clear and colourless. Jeehee wanted lots of parallel lines vector engraved across their widths. This effect works well on clear acrylic as the lines catch the light and look white, a subtle effect which becomes more pronounced the deeper the engrave is.

Jeehee wanted the engraved lines to be 2 – 3mm deep into the 10mm thick panels rather than just on the surface to catch the light in the way that she wanted. As I knew that I’d need to use a power equivalent to cutting 3mm perspex, I left the protective film on the engraved sides of the Perspex during production. It protects the surface from the heat of the laser which turns Perspex cloudy white around the engraved lines.

Test piece

Jeehee asked for a sample so that she could see exactly how the effect would work. Then she could make changes before I cut and engraved the large panels. She was very pleased and wondered whether to make the lines deeper, but was worried that the Perspex panels might bend under their weight if they were engraved too deeply. In the end, she decided to err on the safe side and asked me to proceed with 2 – 3mm depth as we had agreed.

Making the panels

I ordered sheets that were 1220 x 820mm to give a little margin without much wastage. First, I engraved the lines on the panels and then cut the rectangles to keep the edges as smooth as possible. If I had cut the rectangles first, the engraved lines would have made grooves on the cut edges.

My biggest challenge was finding a carrier to ship a parcel that was 1300 x 900mm and weighing 27kg. 10mm Perspex is very heavy in large sheets. Most couriers won’t take heavy parcels in such large dimensions.

The finished installation

Jeehee was delighted with the panels when they arrived at the distillery. After a few weeks of suspense while she assembled the piece,  I was blown away when she sent these photos taken by John Paul. I love the way the horizontal engraved and vertical colour elements work together.

The current exhibition featuring this work is open until Sunday 20th August.

 

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