Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Grind 3-D Art Into Skateboard Decks

In skateboarding circles, what's on the bottom of your deck is as important as landing a hardflip on top of it. But old 2-D graphics are totally played out. So 80 designers are grinding skateboard art into a third dimension, with the help of a laser engraver typically used to cut sheet metal. The Refill Seven exhibit, which recently debuted in Sydney, flaunts the work of hotshot designers like Michael C. Place (A), Michael Leon (B), and Mr. Cartoon (tattooist for Justin Timberlake, Eminem). Each created an image to be etched into the seven layers of plywood that make up a skateboard deck. Then curator Luca Ionescu uploaded the designs onto a PC tethered to the Epilog Legend 36EXT laser. The Epilog — which uses a lens and two mirrors to focus and shape the beam — pulses faster than most other lasers, allowing for a smoother, crisper cut. The result: photo-quality 1,200-dpi etchings (C). Because a laser can only carve on flat surfaces, Ionescu used a rotating clamp that angles the deck during cutting, keeping it perpendicular to the beam to prevent distortion on the curved noses. Each design is being burned on up to 50 boards (D), which will be for sale this fall at the Reed Space gallery in New York for $500 apiece. "I'm having a hard time thinking they're going to be ridden and destroyed," Ionescu says. "But their purpose is to be ridden, so their fate lies with their owners." Source : Wired