Laser Cut Wooden QR Code

Summers tend to by play time for me. It’s not about production, it’s about trying interesting new things and seeing what happens. Last summer, the result was a collection of invisible paintings.

This summer, it’s a whole bunch of different things. In the middle of it all, I decided to play with veneer and lasers (who doesn’t have that urge from time to time…)

This was the result:

A functional QR code made from light and dark inset wood. It works!

More details and info after the break.

I’ve had this project in the back of my mind for several months now, but I never really bothered with it until I was in the hardware store, and saw big rolls of veneer on for a great price.

Cutting the wood into sheets turned out to be a much bigger challenge than I had anticipated. But, I found a way to make it work: masking tape.

I stained the oak a nice dark colour, and used the lightest stain I could find for the birch.

I found a QR code generator online, and did some screen tests to make sure the codes really worked. (I’d hate to do all the work for nothing…)

Once I had the simplest, smallest code I could get my hands on, I converted the PNG image into a DXF, because DXF files make the laser cutter happy.

As soon as the sheets were dry, I headed over to site 3 to play with the laser.

Then, I faced the most arduous task of all: gluing the whole thing together. Veneer absorbs moisture and expands, so white glue or carpenters glue are right out of the question. Contact cement was the recommendation of the instructions that came with the veneer, so I went with that.

Piece by piece, the laser cut wood QR code came together.
Then I took a picture, and it worked!

Then I varnished it….high gloss…bad idea. Thanks to the glare, getting a good shot it tricky. Might have to top it off with a coat of matte varnish at some point.

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Kyle Clements

Kyle Clements is a Toronto-based artist and nerd. During his thesis at the Ontario College of Art and Design, Kyle began working on his Urban Landscapes series, a body of work that aims to capture the energy and excitement of life in the fast-paced urban environment. After graduating from OCAD in 2006, Kyle spent a year living in Asia to gather source material and experience in a different kind or urban environment. His work is vibrant and colourful. Whether painting the harsh Northern landscape, or capturing the overwhelming buzz of life in the city, his acrylic paintings hover between representation and abstraction.