On friday, I received my first round of laser-cut flatware back from Ponoko, a company that offers laser-cutting services in New Zealand. I have been pretty anxious to receive these, as I spent a good amount of time designing and planning for them
Initially, I was hoping to sell the final designs online, thinking that it may appeal to Philadelphians that want to eat in style. However, the intricacy of the cuts needed in between the tines of the fork presented a problem for the stainless steel. A representative from Ponoko emailed me saying that their laser cutter can’t do such small details, as the material begins to heat up and spatter, thus failing to define the shape I need. Also, they don’t engrave designs into metal yet, so I couldn’t get that Phillyware logo (above) engraved onto the handles of my pieces.
With this information in mind, I switched to jet black acrylic, a material that has been mastered by the Ponoko team. I am worried about the functionality of the flatware in plastic as opposed to stainless, but I’m going to continue to pursue getting these done in stainless in the future. Perhaps a water-jet cutter, as they do not heat up the material as they cut.
Anyway, here are some pictures of the laser-cut pieces that I received back. I created forks, knives, and spoons with many variations on each. I tried different ways to represent the Phillyware logo, and I tried some pieces flat and some pieces with 3D handles (slot and tab design that clicks into place). Please provide feedback on both the usability of acrylic flatware, the designs in general, and anything else on your mind after viewing these.
I was happy with the detail achieved by the laser on the fork tines, and I am a little uncertain with the quality of the engraving requested. It seems a little strange, almost like a checker-board pattern if you look close enough.
Also, these are simply the pre-forms.. they have yet to be formed into the proper shapes that will cradle food properly like real flatware does. They are flat coming from the laser cutter, as they are cut from flat sheets, but once formed I’ll be taking context shots of them and posting them up here. I’m going to have to send away again, as I’ve learned a lot from getting these designs back.
Coroflot link: http://www.coroflot.com/westhomas/phillyware_laser-cut_flatware