Laser Cut Christmas Trees

I had half an hour at the end of the day at the DoES Liverpool makerspace the other day, so I had time to cut out christmas tree decoration from card and mdf that comes out of the cutter fully finished.

The cut files are available for you below, or on Thingiverse, to cut your own from some A4 card and 3mm board — I used mdf, but plywood and acrylic would work too. If you are demoing laser cutting around christmas time or you want to cut some decorations, these trees dont take too long, and don’t need anything besides assembly after they come out of the cutter.

Laser Cut Christmas Tree Decoration

Laser Cut Christmas Tree Decoration

I’d seen a similar idea for a card pull-out decoration on Thingiverse, but as I had some problems downloading the files, I had spent some time beforehand drawing up a similar concentric extending design and cutting it by hand to check it worked as expected.

Card pull-out decoration from Thingiverse

Card pull-out decoration from Smoutech on Thingiverse (Image by Smoutech, CC-BY-NC)

As the test cut worked nicely, I also created a mount to support the centre of the card — included a cut-out to go over the mount — and added a spikey surround to the card, all to try and give it more of a tree shape. After I cut the first one, it was clear that just having a single drop for the outer shape wasn’t enough to make it look like a tree from a glance. However, because the conical shape that the extended cardboard makes is stackable, they can be layered up to give a more dense tree. Using 3 layers, each with the slot rotated by 30 degrees offsets the layers to fill in the christmas tree shape. And to finish it all off, there’s a star on top.

Using two colours of green for the foliage seemed to work well, I’ve put the lighter card in the middle of two darker ones, but judging by the number of full size artificial trees that are on sale in colours besides green, the only limit is the selection of card colours you can find!

Complete cut files in SVG format are available to download here, or you can visit the Thingiverse page for this ornament.

Instructions

Cut the stand from 3mm sheet material. I used mdf, but plywood and perspex should work too. Once cut, the two larger pieces will slot together snugly, but they shouldn’t need to be forced.

Cut one of each of the Foliage files from green A4 card. 200gsm inkjet/craft card is ideal, but it will still work with paper. Once cut, gently hold the inside of each foliage sheet and pull the edges down, to pull the card into a cone shape that is as tall as the stand.

Then place each foliage sheet onto the protruding top of the stand so that they sit over each other and push slot in the star into the slot on the top of the stand to hold the foliage in place.

Optional extras

  • Use a colour other than green — there’s plenty of choice in artificial trees, so go nuts!
  • This is a quick progect (the foliage sheets take me 2mins 45sec) and the card & mdf is relatively low cost, so this is great for demos or teaching.
  • You can print the Foliage files for cutting by hand with a scalpel/craft knife too.
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One Comment

  1. Jon
    16th December 2012 at 1:05 am

    Very interesting design system, I like your solution to “foliage” and looks like it works great!

    Jon
    Founder of CNCKing.com

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