Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Laser cutting Girih tiles
The laser cutter at Fab Lab Groningen.
The machine can both engrave and cut. It is almost magical to see one's design gradually appear as a physical object. Here the laser is cutting our girih tiles from a 3 mm acrylic sheet. The machine does the engraving first, one sees the knot pattern formed by the pieces appear. This is how girih patterns typically look when they are used for decoration, you see the knot pattern but not the borders between the pieces. Then the pieces are cut. The cut lines are quite different from the lines drawn on the tiles. Probably this is part of the reason for the complexity and beauty of girih patterns.
I find the Fab Lab concept fantastic, giving anyone the chance to use this kind of professional fabrication machines. They had 3D printers and a CNC mill as well. Not to mention the nice people at the Fab Lab, guiding me through the process of using the laser cutter!
Someone else also made a set of laser cut girih tiles, at the Fab Lab in Lille. Some more pictures of our tiles, and the svg file for the laser cutter.