Laser cut plywood

August 12th.  After struggling with the idea of ‘bridges’ to hold the various pieces in place on the cut plywood sheets for each toy I have decided to abandon them altogether.  The bridges are very small, about 1mm and are engraved rather that cut, at 2mm depth in the 3mm plywood.  This holds the pieces in place but when they are pressed out there are often small splinters of ply.  This is not good in a toy.

So I am now going to eliminate all bridges and instead use paper transfer paper, as used in the sign making industry to transfer cut vinyl lettering etc.  This is very cheap adhesive paper on a roll, many widths available; I will use 150mm (>A5) as I generally aim to cut A5 sheets so as to have easy and consistent packaging.

When cutting is complete the plywood is left on the cutter bed and the paper tape applied and pressed or rolled down firmly.

The integrity of the piece is maintained, separation of pieces is easy, no splinters, no engraving needed.


First iteration tugboat for web
First iteration tugboat

The two toy boats I have been working on came back from Cut&Burn, the tugboat was almost entirely right, just a few minor corrections.  The image above is missing the cabin mid-deck, it was not quite right.  Just a few corrections and alterations then a second cut next week.


Plywood Toy design certificates








Just back from Spain and Portugal and the certificates which should have arrived six weeks ago were not in the mountain of post.  Quick phone call and copies were sent straight away.  So I now have three registrations, two toy boats and the helicopter.  Two more boats still at the boatyard stage, but shouldn’t take long.

One is a tugboat with a similar design to the trawler.  The other is a lifeboat.  I also intend to alter the RoRo Ferry to reflect one I travelled recently on at Caminia in Portugal.

Design Registration for the Toy Boats

Just completed the design registration process  and I have to say it is a very simple and easy process.  The designers of this web site have really got it right.  The first design – the toy trawler – cost £50 but the second one – the roro ferry– registered at the same time was just £20 more; in fact one can register up to 10 more designs or patterns for that cost.  I now need to wait for the confirmation of the registration, this didn’t take long last time.

Toy Trawler, 18cm x 10cm x 10cm, demountable, with moving parts

How much protection this provides is debatable but at least I have some proof that the designs are mine.

My plan to have an animation of the assembly process for each of the toys has fallen through, for the time being.  I had arranged with an animation student at UWE to do this but she realised that she did not have the time to do the work I wanted, so I need to find another animator.  I don’t think it is a good idea to try this myself as the discipline is hard to master and I want a professional work, rather than a youtube,  “Hi there..”

I also have a possible large batch (50 off) producer, Cut by Beam just waiting to hear from them with a price.

Masks and more masks

Over the past few days I have been working on the ‘Masks’ fabric project, in particular I have been making masks in paper and leather, using the British Wildlife

Initial images with colour set/swatch
Initial images with colour set/swatch

designs.  I used the Silhouette Cameo drag-knife cutter to cut the paper designs, after first tracing them (again) in Illustrator.  And tomorrow I will be printing a set of the mask designs onto ceramic transfer film.

These will then be put on tiles, some onto mugs, and fired.

I have started making T-Shirts using the same basic design and set of six colours.

The last two weeks have been quite hectic, work on an artists’ book, sewing, laser cutting (plywood and leather) and far too much time in front of a computer.  And this blog is in need of some serious attention.

I still have a few problems with plywood trawler , it needs re-working to make the pieces stay in place after laser cutting.


Lino print and laser cut

Laser first: A successful session laser cutting the two boats, with Louisa. After some trial and error we had a good result and both boats assembled well, one mistake on the roro which I have since corrected.  I have also made some small changes to the mortice/tenon slot joints on the sides of both boats, to reduce the likelihood of breakage during assembly.  I am going to try 3mm perspex and possibly some other materials.  This session took up much of the morning.

After lunch I tried lino printing, ‘A Dog’s Life’, and the result was good, generally.  I was printing onto cheap white cartridge, made several prints before I realised I wasn’t using sufficient ink.  So then made five more, all of which were am improvement on the first five.  When they are all dry I will have a look for possible further cutting, but this would be tiny.

Also started on a new lino cut version of, ‘Tread Lightly…’, which I think will work better than the previous two.