Laser Cut Kumihimo Braid Disks
Chuck and Rebecca Perry, using 3D laser printers from Brad Powers and Doyle Maleche
Our goal was one for each of us. I wanted a project to tryout 3D laser printers. Rebecca wanted to make some kumihimo disks to hand out at hand weaving functions. Rebecca already knew how to make the disks. You can easily construct them out of scrap cardboard using scissors or a box cutter. That is a time-consuming way to make hundreds of kumihimo disks.
Tools and Materials:
- 8/4 carpet warp thread for the braids. Cut to desired lengths.
- 3/16 single wall cardboard. Recycled or from art store. No dents, folds, or tape.
- Glowforge or other 3D Laser Printer
- Drawing package. I used Microsoft Visio.
- Determine the size of the slits to hold the desired yarn. If the slit was too big there was not enough tension to keep the thread in place.
- Provide a properly drawn and flattened file for the printer.
- Optimize the size of the cardboard stock and the disk to minimize waste.
- Test the stock with the printer and tune the cut parameters. Cardboard will start on fire if you are not careful.
- Lather, rinse, repeat until you have made 500 disks!
- Enjoy watching folk of all ages make bracelets and cordage with this very meditative art.
What we learned:
- We provided drawings in a couple of different formats. The Scalable Vector Graphic (SVG) files worked best for us. All properly created files should work. PDF files should be flattened either when you create it or by the software you are using.
- You must tune your design for the material, printer, and the software you are using. The 2 different printers provided very different kerfs (cut widths) for the slits. Multiple passes used to reduce laser intensity, hence increase laser life, created a wider kerf.
- The stock you use is critical. Our desire to use random recycled cardboard didn’t work well. You had to do test cuts for each different stock. We had to hunt down enough stock for each run of disks.