Initial Progress on Upcycle: “Kawaii” – Kirby

My upcycling project is a sculpture of Kirby, laser-cut from cardboard boxes taken from my workplace’s recycling. After further consideration of how this sculpture will come together, I realize I will likely want to find scrap acrylic and wood from the cutters’ location as well, to give certain features a bit more flair.

Here is a brief overview of the construction process:

  1. Create the SolidWorks 3D model via sketches and lofted features. This was a bit more difficult than anticipated, but I learned a lot and thankfully Kirby has some relatively simple geometries. I decided to keep a sort of boxy look to his limbs, as the stacking of the cross-sections will give a bit of a jagged look to the sculpture anyhow.
  2. Next, I will need to split the model into bodies that will match the thickness of the cardboard, and transfer those profiles into drawings for the laser cutter.
  3. Once all drawings are prepared, I can cut them from the cardboard, then do a “dry stack” of them, to ensure the geometries turned out like I am envisioning.
  4. If satisfied, I will re-stack them with adhesive between layers, and it will then be complete.

Currently, I am working on the finishing touches of the model, and hope to begin work on the laser cutter drawings tonight (2/5/20). This will likely be the most time consuming aspect of this project, since a 6” diameter should give me at least 24 cuts to make, assuming my cardboard is ~1/4” thick. I think another challenge I may encounter is the fact I am using upcycled cardboard from varying suppliers, meaning slightly different thicknesses could cause some cuts to work, and others not. To overcome that, I plan to use slightly higher parameters for the cutter than typically used for cardboard, in order to ensure I have clean cuts through all the types.

I look forward to seeing this start to physically come together – I’ve spent quite a bit of time thus far digitally constructing, so it will be satisfying to start work off the computer. If there happens to be any pros with laser cutters reading this, I will likely be struggling in the ITLL lab throughout the evenings of this week. Please @ me in the #worktrade channel if you are able/willing to help! Thanks for reading.

*Roughly the pose I will have Kirby striking. Taken from artist Shigeru Miyamoto:

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Abdulrahman Nashawi
    February 9, 2020 7:30 pm

    Hi Thomas! From looking at your CAD file, I think you have made a really good job with your 3D model, and it looks pretty complicated, from a CAD point of view, so well done! I like how you thought about how to layer the object and how you considered the cardboard thickness. If you have not started laser cutting yet, I would suggest adding a point or a very small circle in the middle to reference your alignment and have everything centered. Are you planning on hanging the project or do you think it will support itself on a flat surface?


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