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MAKER: Fabricating a Flat-Pack Portable Display Using Laser Cutting and Kerf Bending

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Make It!

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Paper Authors


Riley S. Booth University of Calgary

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I'm a biomedical engineering MSc student at the university of Calgary. My research interests include haptics, rehabilitation, mobile and wearable technology, engineering education and educational software. I'm currently developing a wearable device for blind and/or deaf users to interface with a computer.

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Peter Goldsmith P.Eng. University of Calgary

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Peter Goldsmith is an Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Calgary. He holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto. His research interests are in human-computer interfaces, control theory, robotics, mechanism analysis and design, applied and pure mathematics, and engineering education.

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A familiar machine of the maker community is the laser cutter. Unlike 3D printing, most projects made with a laser cutter are flat, or assembled out of flat components. A technique called kerf bending, also called lattice hinging, allows flat pieces of material to be cut and then curved, opening up a much greater range of opportunities. This method combines engineering aspects of mechanics of materials, subtractive manufacturing and design. As well as being very useful, creativity and artistic flare make this technique quite ascetically pleasing. One application that could showcase this method is making a display case. For Calgary’s art, science and engineering festival, Beakerhead, some portable displays were needed for the Petri Picasso group, an interactive exhibit for painting with fluorescent bacteria. A case was machined from plexi-glass, but could have been made at a much lower price, been equally functional, and perhaps been even more visually appealing. As a demonstration of this maker skill, a model display case will be built, accompanied by the procedure on how to use this method. For a visual example of the method, please refer to:

Booth, R. S., & Goldsmith, P. (2016, June), MAKER: Fabricating a Flat-Pack Portable Display Using Laser Cutting and Kerf Bending Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25619

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