Friday, 14 July 2017

The Flat-Stick - Etchings and Acrylics

A new lot just came back from the laser cutter today, and on top of a couple of regular cases came a slew of experimental bits and bobs!

Here's a commission for a guy in Perth:

This uses a combination of materials and methods to build a really high-contrast image with serious depth.

The bottom layer is the top sheet of the case, bamboo plywood, directly etched with a forest of swords.

On top of that is a combination of smoke grey acrylic and gloss black acrylic, fitted together like a puzzle. The black gloss piece is also etched to create the shading on the character, which has a matte white finish.

And the uppermost layer is a clear acrylic to give everything a smooth feel.

I'm not going to lie, this is a very expensive way to go! The plywood etching is $25, and the smoke and black layer is $50.

But the results are amazing. The blacks are superbly inky, the highlights are soft like moonlight, and the edges of the materials really pop. This will never be confused for something as lowly as an art print!

A detail look at the plywood etching. The swords are raster-etched, which is where the laser moves like a printer head and burns the wood pixel by pixel. You get a softer, lighter look from raster.

The blood moon is vector etched, which is where the laser tracks a line. This results in a deeper, darker outline which is razor sharp.

A close-up of the raster etched swords. You can really feel the depth of the etching, and it really plays well with the grain of the wood.

Another quick piece done for a customer. The text is raster etched, the lines are all vectors. It's just something simple to keep hidden under an art layer, like a cheeky tattoo. :)

This is my alternative to painting for a gloss finish, it's a full cladding kit made of acrylic! It costs $40, and delivers a perfectly smooth mirror finish which is resilient. Attaining the same level of finish from paint would be horrendously time consuming, less durable, and probably more expensive.

This is the full kit, four sides and the bottom piece. Doing the underside of the top plate is possible, but massively costly as i'd have to double the stock sheet size for very little gain.

I have a LOT of colour options available for this stuff; solids, translucents, mirror finishes, and even frosted. Everything can also be etched, if you want to add a little flair to the mid-section of the case.

I'll have more examples of that kind of thing soon, along with a material/colour sample set.

Shiny shiny!

One of my favourite looks is to use a translucent smoke colour. It's coming across a little purple here, but that's due to my office lighting.

The interesting thing here is that you still get the visual texture of the wood grain coming through. It looks pretty smexy, especially if you're going for understated elegance. With the right mix of materials one of these arcade sticks could definitely hold its own against modern danish furniture design! ;)

And a close-up of the grain coming through. You could combine painting the wood with a translucent acrylic to get some neat visual effects. A very thin white coat would make the grain pop and brighten up the acrylic a treat.

I'll definitely get some examples of that up soon!

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