Laser-etched book edges

Making a book unique, even though I absolutely can't draw.

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In the singing tradition I participate in, there's a (sub)tradition of singers decorating the edges of their book, because otherwise the books all look more or less the same.

This obviously works better for people who can draw.

The top part of the book's design was procedurally created, inspired by the Processing sketch 'Ornamental Tree' by Algirdas Rascius ( (CC-BY-SA, thanks Algirdas!) I changed parameters and made the 'leaves' on the tree look like the shape-notes in the book.

The bottom part of the design was made in Inkscape.

This was my first time using a laser cutter, and they're great. I am very excited to find an excuse to use one again as soon as possible.

Complete code

Zip Archive - 4.91 kB - 06/05/2018 at 13:39


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Charlie Williams wrote 06/05/2018 at 08:17 point

@agp.cooper - Colonisation.pde is just an excerpt, I can post a more complete version— the actual code I used contained a bunch of very different approaches which I could switch among while I figured out what would actually work, so it was kind of a mess. Happy to share it though.

@Mike Szczys - I think we were 100% speed, 85% power? Much higher than initially estimated— the thing with the paper edges is that they don't really get any _darker_ than what you see there, you just cut deeper into the paper. Etching down a bit gives depth, which looks cool, but obviously you want to make sure you don't start cutting into the book's actual content.

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agp.cooper wrote 06/05/2018 at 08:14 point


Got a version of Rascius's code working correctly. His code is a mess as well and probably did not work that well (at least my first port did not work that well).

The bit that I really like is the use of bezier curves instead of hard coded curves.


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agp.cooper wrote 06/04/2018 at 12:31 point


I was going through your code, Colonisation.pde, (I am neither a java or OpenProcessing programmer but I can code in C) and I got stuck? "p.animate()" has no reference in your code unless it is in "java.util.*".

Checking your source, "'Ornamental Tree' by Algirdas Rascius", I find a lot of code for "animate()".

Does your code actually work? Just asking.

I am hoping to translate Rascius's code into "simple" C and using "xbgi" for graphics by tomorrow.


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agp.cooper wrote 06/04/2018 at 07:37 point

A big like from me!

I have been try to work out how to do this for a long time!

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Mike Szczys wrote 05/31/2018 at 13:51 point

That looks fantastic! Any tips on laser cutter settings?

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