Make 2D > 3D Design Guide

This Make 2D > 3D Design Guide offers techniques for more affordable and outstanding 3D Designs using Laser Cutting processes.

FARE MADE’s Laser Cutting Services are a gateway to a spectrum of creative design work, transcending the 2-Dimensional nature of post-industrial materials and machining processes into a broad field of 3-Dimensional applications.  3D Designs are typically thought of as products of 3D Printing, but their applications and feasibility are extended by Laser Cut Processes.

Laser Cutting Services

1 /// Stacking

Stacking is the most fundamental process in building and design that guarantees elegant results. Stacking can be thought of as a vertical assemblage of modular components, for example a brick or stone wall. Stacking can also be conceived in terms of  vertical layering of planar elements on top of one another, provided that these elements are the same or display maximum similarity in size and proportion. The example of planar stacking is a rectilinear skyscraper.


2 /// Layering

By Layering laser cut elements, materials can twist and extend, embracing and defining space. It is one of the most applicable 2D > 3D laser cutting techniques due to its possibilities. It is also a fundamental process of 3D printing, however laser cutting proves to be more affordable, faster, and suitable for larger applications. Not to be confused with the stacking, layering expresses the juxtaposition (or transformation) of form across layers of space. Layering parts through space can be directly applied to architectural and topographic contexts and also bring increased awareness of design processes behind products, such as fashion accessories, household items, visual merchandising and signage.

tunnel 1

3 /// Contouring

Use  contours or organic cross sections to generate visual patterns that can be cut and combined in 3d components. These contours can vary in thickness to create smooth transitions and  3D curvature.


[design by Jane T.]

4 /// Surface Joining

Intersect laser cut components at planar or nonplanar angles with finger joints, contact welding, or dimensional slots.



5 /// Heat Forming

Apply heat with a heat gun, magnifying lens or radiant surface to thermoformed plastics to deform, twist, bend, or texturize laser cut materials, manipulating the material at a preferred scale.



6 /// Slot Bending

Laser cut linear, alternating slots (in a z-formation) into materials, resulting in a component that stretches and bends along reduced, modular cross sections so that a material component becomes a pliable, formative and reinforceable surface.

slot bending_2_web


7 /// Stitching

Component edges can be joined by material stitches or ties to reinforce their components into geometric forms, offering a tactile result that commands a full circuit of digital and analog processes. Stitching requires consideration of material properties to achieve preferred strength and durability.



8 /// Elastic Deformation

Materials such as leather can be laser cut to elastically stretch with applied stress, to contain objects or resist movement of other components in a system of parts. Laser cut stretching patterns provide a direction and capacity for durable materials to achieve organic forms and durability in functional projects.

BAG_2 copy


9 /// Suspension

Laser cut parts can be merely suspended or even applied to tensegrity structures (a balanced conceptual design of tension and compression elements) to achieve 3D structures, systems and objects. From architectural installations and fixtures to everyday personal accessories, designs which compose suspended elements gain the benefit of elegance, functionality and austerity.

10 /// Projection + Reflection

Light is considered a material to some designers. Light can be formed from its source to its destinations by laser cut patterns, graphics, and text on a surface medium. Such laser cut designs can generate vastly interesting results, from forest-like dappling in architectural spaces to focusing light shapes on aspects or features. Projecting on 3D surfaces can further enhance this design technique. Reflecting surfaces can be features themselves, applied to complex and simple forms, or juxtaposed selectively with other foreground and background elements. Composing with light brings an immediate effect to any audience.

green light_web


11 /// Paneling

Paneling is the application of surfaces and materials to a structural network of component forms. The structural network can exercise many mathematical forms and topologies towards a variety of direct architectural, interior, signage and installation purposes. Paneling uses also extend to urban modeling, art, film and fashion. Unlike folding, a related process, paneling decides the nature and properties of the panel component.

The faces by Adrian Bica_collage

[design by Adrian Bica]


12 /// Folding

Folding is a related process to paneling which can begin in 3D programs that unfold 3D data (such as Rhino, Sketchup or Pepakura) and end with refoldable laser cut components for both specifically designed, complex outcomes and organic, modular compositions. Applications include installations, sculpture, origami (“paper-folding”) and representational modeling.


13 /// Array

Laser cutting can also use similar or iterative components that join in planar arrays and polar arrays. This process can result in constructed representations of complex or mathematical surfaces (including hyperbolas, helices, spirals, trigonometric waves, and multidimensional functions).


[design by Carolyn But]


Think FARE (Fabricated Realities)?

Digital fabrication processes are not limited to the basic outcomes of their systematic operations. Using these 2d to 3d techniques, we can exploring reality and our social, creative, environmental and ethical principles.  We can use these techniques to use our tools, push the limits of our imagination and share knowledge, compassion and understanding.