Tom Pigeon got in touch five years ago with an idea for a new jewellery range in formica and copper. Kirsty was looking for a solution for cutting the shapes she wanted for necklaces and earrings from formica sheets and wondered if laser cutting would work. So she brought some samples to the LaserFlair workshop and the cutting trials were a success. Since then, we’ve helped Tom Pigeon to develop their metal and formica jewellery ranges in different shapes and colours. These cufflinks are from their Form range.
Vector artwork for laser cutting
Tom Pigeon supply us with the coloured formica sheets which are 0.6 – 0.7mm thick. Kirsty also creates and supplies the vector artwork for cutting out all the shapes required from tiny earrings to larger parts for necklaces and bangles. We need vector artwork files for cutting as the laser needs lines to follow, so Tom Pigeon provide ai, pdf and svg files. They cleverly nest small shapes inside large shapes like bangles to minimise waste.
The biggest challenge we have is that formica sheets can curl. It’s hard to keep them flat in the laser machine bed. The problem is exacerbated during production as the heat of the laser can make the formica curl even more. We weigh them down to keep them as flat as possible, and keep a close eye on them during the cutting process. If the formica curls up, it can affect the dimensions of the shapes and they don’t fit the corresponding metal parts properly.
Top tips for cleaning laser cut formica
There’s quite a lot of soot generated when formica is laser cut and it’s quite stubborn to get off. Kirsty puts the cut pieces into an old pillow case and puts them through a washing machine cycle which does the trick!
Tom Pigeon has gone from strength to strength. They added brass and other metals to the range, complementing them with various colours of formica. LaserFlair has been cutting more and more shapes to meet growing demand from Tom Pigeon’s customers around the world.