These digitally fabricated steampunk goggles took over a year of tinkering, procrastinating, and experimentation to build. I started with the metal pieces, designing them in Solidworks and cutting out waxes on a CNC milling machine over at Tech Shop SF. From there, parts were cast in bronze at a place called JR Casting. I designed all the leather parts in Illustrator, creating cut-out paper models to test the design as it became more refined. Then all the cut patterns were sent off to Ponoko to get laser cut in leather. After that, it was a couple evenings of dyeing, painting, stitching, and sweating to get everything together. You can see an album featuring progress shots of the goggles coming together here.
I really started seriously pursuing digital fabrication when, a couple of years ago, I was operating the laser cutter over at Instructables. A man named Robert Lang came through the door to work out some prototypes in paper. He was doing origami designs, etching the results of computer-based experiments on paper, and then folding them. It all came together for me when he explained how he could have a couple of crucial measurements and relationships drive an origami design that he could infinitely tweak before transferring it to the paper all ready to fold. From there, I began playing with ready-to-assemble designs, flat printed designs, and 3d printing.