Saturday, December 30, 2017

'Tis the Season...for Laser Cutting!

Inspired by the holidays I designed and created ornaments using Adobe Illustrator and the laser cutter.

This was the first project I created on my own!

Throughout the creation of these ornaments, I learned many things about the design process and the various ways in which it is possible to cut projects out with the laser. I received help from several people who each had a unique way of creating their files and preparing them to cut. Some prefer to use color mapping, a process which uses colors to tell the machine to cut or engrave using different settings in the same job. Others use the layer feature on Illustrator to engrave a layer on one job and then cut a layer on a second job. It was interesting to see how the techniques used varied by the individual.
Printing preferences menu showing the settings for a cut using coloring mapping.

While I was happy with my final products, each of the batches of ornaments I created was slightly different. I played around with the speed, power, and frequency settings on the print menu while working but I wasn't sure which factors were causing changes in my work.

This week Jenny, our colleague, Christine, and I played around with the speed setting by doing a few test cuts. We started out with a lower speed of 10. While the flames were minimal and the print came out clear, it looked a little charred (see the letter M below). We tried again with the letter C increasing the speed to 20. The result was similar. The final time we cranked up the speed to 60 and while the lettering wasn't as dark, it also didn't look burnt. Success!
Test cuts with different speeds. The S was engraved using the highest speed.
One thing is for sure, three hours on the laser printer flies by!

Connecting Educators with The Generator.

Yesterday, Carrie and I invited three local educators to join us at the Generator. We introduced them to the space and shared our current projects with them. We also connected them with other Generator members. 
Christine DePatie, 6th Grade Educator from Swanton Central School, discussing flute making and STEAM education with Brian Merrill.
Carrie and Christine problem solving an issue with the laser cutter. Check out Carrie's upcoming blogpost on Speed!

From Back to Front, Lisa Bresler (K-5 Art Educator, Shelburne Community School), Christine DePatie (6th Grade & STEM Educator, Swanton Central School), Carrie Speranza (Librarian at Swanton School), and Me (Jenny Jacobson, Art Educator K-6, Swanton School). Not in Photo, Evelyn Stenroos (6th Grade Educator, Colchester Middle School).

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Little Help from our Friends: Laser Cutting at the Generator

Last week, Carrie and I committed a few hours to using the laser cutter at the Generator. We both had taken the certification class and had some experience using one before, however we had never operated one alone!

After referencing our notes, I uploaded my design and we were ready to go! Right away, I had a couple of design flaws. I sought out the help of one of the only people at the Generator in the morning, Brian Merrill. He is a Generator member and creates incredible laser cut/hand cut flutes! Brian stopped everything and spent over an hour with us. Thanks to him, by the end we were using the laser cutter more confidently and "perfected" our cuts!

Laser Cutter at the Generator

Reusing the pieces we cut out! Art Stars!

Test Cut with Cardboard caught on fire.

We decided to test the second cut on board. No fire this time!

The Final Product! One of our sixth grade student's passion project on the "life cycle of a star". She used inkscape to create her design. I uploaded to illustrator and cut it out for her. Next step, she'll create a circuit and let her stars shine away!  

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Creating Vinyl Stickers with the Silhouette Cameo

During our prep period, Carrie and I decided to dive into the Silhouette Cameo. Just like the Touch Board, we instantly found some complications. Carrie created circle patterns to cut out for an upcoming project. At first only half of the circles on the vinyl sheet cut out. After some tinkering (and help from Google), we realized that we had to manually adjust the blade. Easy fix. After that, it consistently cut out the circles. Though the stickers are hard to remove!

Overall, we found the machine relatively easy to use and more importantly useful. We ordered cutting fabric for one of our sixth grade projects and excited to try out a new material.

Check out some of our photos from this tinkering session. We were joined by some thirds graders who were learning besides us! The best type of learning!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Partnering with Generator

Fabulous news!  The Generator Educator in Residence program has adopted our  Fall 2017 IGNITE a MAKERS.  The support that Jenny and Carrie will receive from Generator as part of this partnership is going to help them develop and implement their goals of creating an interactive mural that can be used to display student work. 

Jenny, Carrie,  met with  Ignite a Mentor, Caty Wolfe and Generator director, Chris Thompson to set goals for the next few months. 

Both Carrie and Jen have completed the laser certification and are signed up for the CNC tools training in order to gain the skills and access needed to complete this project!

They have been experimenting with Lucie's  Silhouette Vinyl cutter  and have plans to use in some projects with their students inspired by artist Yayoi Kusama 

Here's a quick update from Carrie and Jen

Remember that you can also  follow these maker educators on Instagram

Jenny's art room Instagram

Carrie's Library Instagram