Laser Cut Portfolio Cover

Esther Van der Horst
Hello! Today, Saturday 6 May, is my last day as an intern at PlugnMake FabLab Delft. So I finished my laser cut portfolio to get my degree on school.
I worked at PlugnMake for a while, so of course I wanted to make the nicest portfolio of my class!
At PlugnMake I learned how different living hinge patterns can make the wood bend. I really like this technique, so I decided to experiment with it.
Searching on the Internet I found some different patterns to try in order to see the differences in bending opportunities. I found a few files on
a living hinge design

Living hinge pattern from

living hinge with a diamond pattern

Living hinge pattern from

I think the designs are very good, but you have to remember that people are using this patterns with different kind and thickness of wood.
Material for my project:
– Wood type: birch plywood
– Thickness: 3 mm
– Settings for our 100W laser cutter:
   Cut mode: Speed 40mm/s, min. power 48%, max. power 60%
   Scan mode: Speed 250mm/s, power 25%
I downloaded the files, designed and laser cut some examples to test
different cut of different living hinge

Testing different living hinge patterns

The pattern I found the most good-looking was the one on the top right corner of the above picture. It is a really strong pattern, and you can move it in different directions, not only one like the rest. The pattern in the middle of the lower row in the picture was the worst one. When I tried to bend it for the first time it instantly broke down.
The one with straight cuts is also pretty strong, but you need to adjust the distance between the cut lines according to the thickness of the wood in order to make it able to bend well.
The diamond patterns (the right one of the lower row in the picture) worked the best. It was very flexible and won’t break easily.
The latter is what I chose for my cover. It worked really well and it was the most flexible.
Then I started designing all the rest… I knew that I needed some space to make the patterns bend the wood. Also, my portfolio was in A4 size.
I wanted to glue my paper portfolio on the wood, so I designed a slightly larger cover to be sure that the inner paper sheets wouldn’t appear from any sides.
the cover final design

My design for the portfolio cover

If you look at the design I made in Adobe Illustrator, I wrote some text too. The text “portfolio” is meant to be cut out. So you will see the colorful paper cover of my portfolio through the hollow letters.
This couldn’t be done with my name, because it would have turned out unreadable. So I decided to engrave this part.
I also needed a binding of my portfolio because I couldn’t put loose papers in the wood cover.
I found a really awesome print company here in Delft. Its name is Druk. Tan Heck.
I really recommend this company if you need to print something nice. Prices are affordable (my portfolio had an amazing high quality), and the people working there are really helpful and kind. They even made the last sheet with some stronger paper to allow for gluing it on the wood cover.
After I picked up my paper portfolio, I started cutting the wood. I saved my Illustrator file as a .dxf file and uploaded it in RD-Works. I had set the settings right and put my name on scan mode, so it would only be engraved and not cut.
the design in the laser cut just after the job

The wooden cover from the laser cutter

I think the result is very cool. I’m also really happy with it and I can’t wait to show my teachers at school what I have made!

Esther portfolio

Final result!