Goal

I created a husky and a “W” puzzle using a laser cutter and Rhino software. The husky is made up of five different mat board pieces, while the “W” is created with three different mat board pieces.  Both the husky and the “W” can stand on their own through utilizing the various pieces of mat board. Additionally, the laser cutter was utilized in order to etch various outlines of the husky, such as the husky’s ears, belly, and tail. 

Intended User

I created the husky and “W” for my boyfriend, who is a proud University of Washington fan. 


The Process

Researching

I began the creation process by researching what other animals people had created with the laser cutter. I eventually found the image of a boxer, which pointed me towards the idea of creating a husky. I originally thought that I would be able to trace the boxer file in Rhino and then tweak the trace in order to form the shape of the husky. In the end, I found that I was more successful free handing the outline and pieces of the husky. 

View the boxer file

Sketching

I have a tendency to struggle spatially, so after researching what others had done I began sketching out various parts of a husky in order to get a better idea of how a husky is different from other dog breeds.  I considered being able to create attachable ears, but ended up deciding that the ears would be too fragile and delicate if they were separated from the main part of the body.  I also sketched the shape of the legs and where some of the cuts would need to be in order to create a husky that would be able to stand. 

Creating

After attempting to trace the boxer in Rhino and decided the boxer layout was not going to work for the design I had in mind and I started to freehand various pieces of a husky.  I was unsure where each of the cuts should be and I also was a little bit frustrated with Rhino as a novice Rhino user; however I was able to create a test husky file that I used for a practice run with the laser cutter. 

View my first husky file

From this initial file, I found that the cuts I had sized were a little bit too big, even for my final mat board, which was thicker than the practice chip board I used. I resized my cuts and also rearranged where I placed my cuts and how my cuts fit together within the husky design.  I added several cuts to the husky main body and tail in order to help the legs fit better with the main body and aid the various tail pieces in interlocking. Additionally, I resized my entire husky.  In the first design I created the husky product turned out rather large, through my complete utilization of the chip board.  For my final cut I chose to make my husky design a little bit smaller, so that the husky would be able to balance better and I would have extra mat board in case the cut did not turn out as planned. 

View my final husky file

When I was creating my first file I decided to add a “W” and a small “Go Dawgs” sign.  The “W” was traced using a picture from the University of Washington brand book.  The “Go Dawgs” sign was creating using the text tool in Rhino and the etching function of the laser cutter. I ended up leaving off the “Go Dawgs” sign in my final cut, because I was worried about wasting space and not having enough room for the husky, which was my primary focus. 

Critique

For this critique, everyone in my class displayed their laser cut puzzle animals and everyone went around and left various sticky notes anonymously.  I received several sticky notes about Husky Pride, such as “Go Dawgs” or “Nice Spirit”.  However, my peers also provided me with some feedback on my design, which I appreciated in addition to the Husky Pride sticky notes, so that next time I’ll be able to create a better husky.  My peers mentioned that I could add more etching to the husky in order to create more detail within the design and possibly fill out the eyes and ears.  Also, my peers mentioned that I could refine the slot in the legs by adding some depth to the slots and support the husky more, while cleaning up the design. 


Outcome

Successes

I enjoyed utilizing the laser cutter in this project and I appreciated the opportunity to experiment with Rhino and the laser cutter. I thought that the prompt of this assignment was incredibly fun and I had an enjoyable time creating the husky and “W” design.  I was happy that my husky was able to balance and that the changes in my design between my first practice cut and my second final cut were able to make my final cut a success.  I feel that I have a better understanding of Rhino and the laser cutter and I hope that I can continue to experiment, design, and create. 

Learned Lessons

One of the lessons that I learned when designing the husky was the importance of using the correct dimensions and implementing slots correctly.  I overestimated the size of the slots for my first practice cut and I almost underestimated the size of the slots for my final cut.  If I were to continue to iterate on the husky design I would continue to experiment with the slot size in order to utilize the perfect dimensions for the cuts that I was making with the mat board. Additionally, I learned the importance of creating a puzzle that interlocks.  When I created my first husky design, I believed that I would just stick on the legs and the tail and they would stay in place.  However, from the practice cut I realized that in order to fully support the husky and create a sturdy design, I needed to add additional slots, so that each of the pieces would interlock with each other.