Projects from the Hack Arts Lab, University of Chicago

Rotary etching on acrylic

Using the Laser Cutter with Rotary Attachment to Make a White Elephant Gift

Hack Arts Lab and Weston Game Lab student staff member Henry Filosa helped us break in our new(ish) laser cutter rotary attachment by etching into an acrylic cup. Henry’s notes: “It’s a glass for a crew white elephant party tonight (hence the inside joke). The hardest part was preparing the image while simultaneously learning Adobe…

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Jamie Saxon's Paper Cut Mountains

Making Paper Mountains

Jamie Saxon (Postdoc at the Center for Spatial Data Science and the Harris School of Public Policy) shared this wonderful post detailing an ambitious project involving topographical data rendered via HAL laser cutters into beautiful paper sculptures:  

Final piece - embroidered dog in wood frame

Embroidering a Dog Pillow with Laser-etched Frame

Before beginning work at HAL/WGL, staff member Peter Forberg’s first project was to embroider a picture of his friend’s dog, Rosie. Using, he converted a photo of the dog into a few primary colors saved as a PNG. Then he used Hatch Embroidery software available on the HAL computers to turn the PNG into…

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Finished piece: HAL logo as assembled 3D letters

Building and Lasercutting 3D Letters

HAL/WGL student staff member Efraim Dahl started this project to build and design a decorative logo for HAL Studio, and to learn how to use the kyub software. Here are his words and documentation on the project/process: The 3D modeling is done in the kyub web-application. This web-application is not yet publicly available and is…

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LEGOs and Laser Cuts for Data Visualization

compileHer is a UChicago student organization that engages Chicago middle school girls with computer science. Their recent Capstone event featured educational activities created with various UChicago faculty. Prof. Gordon Kindlmann designed an activity to teach elements of data visualization, involving building a terrain out of LEGOs, covering the terrain with a box with a grid…

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Smart Lamps for Energy Engineers

The Energy Engineers Pilot Program at Dunne Technology Academy, a program of RDCEP and the Computation Institute (one of HAL’s main sponsors) recently wrapped up. Students were tasked with building and programming the desk lamps’ Raspberry Pi controllers, which permitted the lights to respond to data streams. This project grew out of earlier CI work…

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Woodcut Printmaking Using the Laser

Here is another group project for Professor Jason Salavon’s class, Data and Algorithm in Art (ARTV 22502). Students Edouard Bordeau Brooks, Kyle McCornack, and Annie Asai teamed up to create a serial progression of laser-etched geometric designs in plywood. These designs were then printed onto paper using a traditional woodcut process. Lastly, the resulting images…

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Table with Laser Engraving

UChicago undergrad Rachel Jackson created this small table for the DoVA course, Shopcraft: Methods and Materials. The bulk of the wood processing and joinery was done at the Logan Center Shop, but the leaves design in the top was created at HAL on our VLS6.60 Laser. This is an example of the raster etching capabilities…

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