May 2013 Archives

I have been having lots and lots of fun at TechShop since they opened in March in Pittsburgh. I've made Instructables for some of my projects as I go along, and I'm sure I'll be making more, but I also want to document things here, where I can talk a little more about the process, and where I can document some things with just a quick photo instead of a full step-by-step.

This fishbowl pendant was one of the first things I made on the laser cutter without modifying someone else's pattern. I found a small scrap of 1/8"-thick clear acrylic in the discard pile, and thought, "What can I make with this?" 

In the first iteration, I drew the bowl in in Illustrator, and had a fish design etched into the surface. It was fussy and hard to see. 

"What if I cut out the fish? How simple can I make this?" So I drew a cartoon fish with an oval and triangle joined together. Sandwiched the fish cutout bowl between two solid bowl layers. Nice, but still a little too subtle. 

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"If the fish had more contrast..." I had origami paper in my bag. It only took a moment to cut the same fish shape from the paper. I doubled the shape and folded it along the tail, so that the orange color coud be seen from both sides. 

As long as I held the three layers of acrylic together, the fish didn't fall out, but I wanted to keep my goldfish in its bowl, so I went in search of adhesive. Acrylic adhesive is funny stuff - it melts the surfaces, I think, and then they fuse together. Air bubbles got between the layers as I was adhering them to each other, and at first I was disappointed, because I'd envisioned three clear layers. When it became obvious that I would have watery-bubbly marks, I decided that the marks represented the water in the fishbowl. Because the acrylic is thicker than the origami paper, the fish can move a tiny bit if you shake the pendant. 

I took pictures as I went along, and made this Instructable to share



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