Last week was our first day at the CUC Fab Lab, Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab. It was an enlightening experience. Mainly because I got to work with lasers. That fact alone made this class the best one yet. The Fab Lab is divided into two weeks, one half being working with lasers, and the other will have digital embroidery.
We started off learning about Inkscape and how to fix document sizes, make vectors off of image formats such as JPEG, Bitmap and PNG. Making vectors avoids the distortion of pixels that happen in images. The lasers themselves can either raster or vector, meaning it can chip away a material to a certain thickness, or it can completely burn a hole (and eventually a shape) through the material. Every material has certain settings for different materials, and I used a Moleskine notebook to decorate the cover with the design in the image.
Its amazing how similar I found this to 3d printing, mainly because of the rastered frosted glasses and acrylic pieces that had shapes and images made with the lasers. This feels like 3d printing, but almost in reverse: cutting away material to make an indentation and a shape top-down instead of creating a shape, figure or structure from nothing.
Next week: Fab Lab, Chapter 2.