by Douglas Black, April 10, 2013
Inkjet and laserjet printing are routine. 3D Printing? Meh. Let’s add fire.
Anyone my age (boomer) had some sort of experience as a kid with the wonderful world of wood burning. You got your little kit with planks of craft wood, plug-in burner, assorted chisel points, and groovy patterns to follow, and they always depicted cowboys, mountains, and wildlife. Or maybe locomotives.
These fun Saturday afternoon talent-in-a-box projects are nearly extinct. Nearly.
Thanks to an enterprising young designer in Switzerland, the craft of wood burning has a distinctly 21st century reboot.
Lucien Langton, a student at Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL), an Art and Design School in Lausanne, Switzerland has the smoke rolling again with something he calls the FireWriter.
Says Langton’s website –
FireWriter is a machine using contemporary rapid prototyping electronics combined with humanity’s first technology: fire. The purpose is to propose a dialogue between image reproduction and its destruction. Inevitably, alterations of the support are linked with alteration of aestethics. The result offers aspects of engraving with a mechanical / pixelized pattern.
Right. It’s a wood burning kit. Cool.
But no scorching with a chisel, hell no. This puppy uses a torch at nearly 2200 degrees Fahrenheit and the precision of a hacked inkjet printer.
The graphics are loaded via digital file into the Processing software and then line by line, dots are burned into the board.
We can see this working as an etching tool on copper or woodblock for printmakers. Just a thought.