Creativity: Laser-cut Designs

Playing with Cogs

Starting with the geometrical cog design, to familiarise yourself with the way in which cog trains are built (see first image in Image Collection below) it is easy to draw a cog pattern on Medium Density Fibreboard for cutting the cog wheel shape for cutting out.

The precision of the cutting process needs technical expertise for accuracy so that the cogwheel notches interlink smoothly to allow the cog train movement to continue without jamming.

You will find that the fascination with cogs grows more and more as you continue to engage in this activity !

Once you have explored the way in which cog trains operate you may like experiment with laser-cut cogs from laser-friendly plywood. Again, technical expertise is essential for setting the necessary parameters on the Laser-cutter computer.

Here are a few experimental examples. The 3mm. thick plywood, as you can see, becomes charred at the edges. However, it is possible to use poster / acrylic paint to create exciting colourful patterns. Children in a nearby Primary School (Class Year 6) were completely absorbed in experimenting with a set of 5 cogs each to make their own cogwheel gear trains.

Other materials such as user-friendly acrylic plastic can be used to make a variety of interesting cogs of differing sizes to create inventive cog gear trains. You will find that the more and more you engage in this activity you will almost become obsessed in creating your own cog wheel arrangements.

Exploring different ways in which to create inventive visual representations of the brain, for example, can be initially developed by using graphical designs from which laser-cut templates are produced.

An example, here, shows how colourful cogs can be arranged,where so called ‘slave cogs’ can be driven into motion by a central ‘master cog’ (large dark blue cog).

Other creative assemblages with cogs can be made by using metallic acrylic paints (e.g. gold, silver, copper and bronze) where the cogs engage in a moving gear train mounted on a frame infrastructure using miniature cogs as pivotal points.

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