FLA week 3: Biomaterials + laser cutter - SCOPES Digital Fabrication

Lesson Details

Age Ranges
Fab-Safety.2, Fab-Safety.1, Fab-Fabrication.1

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Mar Sánchez
K-12 teacher
Design technology teacher. Read More


Here I will describe my experiences with the creating a laser cut mould and cooking some biomaterials.

What You'll Need

Kitchenware: pot, stove, stirrer, scales, mixing bowls, measuring jar.

Ingredients: vinegar, glycerin, gelatin, corn starch, used coffee grinds.

Tools: laser cutter, 2D design software

Materials: 3mm acrylic sheet



The Instructions

Drawing the design for the mould.

Autocad was used to design a 3D object (a reindeer) made from 2D parts.

Using an online image as reference, I drew the 4 pieces that make the reindeer: body, 2 sets of legs, antlers and ears. I used Autocad to do this. I exported a .dxf file.

Cut the design

Laser cut the design

Using a laser cutter I cut my design. The cut out pieces will be my 3D object for the coming assignment, the remains, my mould. I cut it in 2 different sizes. My goal is to obtain replicas of the 2 reindeer made from biomaterials.


Cook the materials

Follow the recipes to cook some biomaterials.

I tried 2 different recipes to cook 2 biomaterials. One of the recipes is in the images.



Pour the biomaterials

Pour the biomaterials in the moulds.

Make sure there are no leaks in the laser cut moulds. I poured the mixtures in different containers to see what happens whit different thicknesses.

Wait a few days


Take the samples out of the moulds.

The cornstarch and vinegar recipe, after a week hasn’t dried enough. I have discarded the samples.

The gelatin base recipe has been a success. The result is flexible which looks cool in 1cm thick pieces. The reindeer replicas I intended to obtain are not yet a reality. The pieces have turned out great (no retraction, only loss of thickness) but aren’t rigid enough to build the reindeer. I going to wait a few more days to see if they will harden outside of the mould.