Another tool-French Curve

Lately I’ve been pretty inspired by everyone’s posts. I saw a protractor recently and it totally turned on the light for me…In a past life, before kids and homeschooling, I was a patternmaker for a busy company in NYC’s fashion district.

One of my tools I used was a French curve. Not exactly the drafting kinds, I needed one for necklines and armholes, which are cheap, don’t usually have measurements, and are not so easy to find around here. They are made of a cheap plastic that breaks when the air touches it… So, I’ve gone through quite a few…plus glued my latest one at least half a dozen times. Then…I realized, through inspiration brought on by someone’s protractor, that I could make my own…with better materials than my broken original.

I have to say…I’ve made some pretty cool things on the Glowforge…and even though I’ve made a ton of cool stuff, for some giddy, unknown reason, I’m most proud of this so far. From scanning my broken curve, drawing it out on the computer, adding a measuring sytem that I didn’t know how to figure if it was accurate, printing the cardboard test, being shocked the measurements were accurate, comparing to the original, and finally printing one out in acrylic…I’ve been insanely proud of it.

I’m so proud that I waved it around in my husband’s face in a very childish show and tell…I might have been skipping. Okay, definitely not super impressive to all, but maybe the years of trying to gently handle my French curve and carefully gluing shattered plastic back together has broken my sanity a little…I feel like a mad scientist who just brought something useful to life…though only useful to me :joy: :joy: :joy:

Okay, now before and after pictures! I used proofgrade medium clear acrylic for the finished product, though I’m considering something stronger like wood to sell to fashion students :rofl: something that will get them through college.

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I’ve never used one of these contraptions but I think I can at least begin to appreciate how satisfying this must have been! Sounds especially complicated to me to get the measuring marks right, so bravo for you! I’m glad you shared it here so you could express your glee. It’s hard for non-GFers to understand the thrill of an accomplishment like this.

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Now that is really awesome. Congratulations on your accomplishment!

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These are the kind of projects that are the most satisfying, I think. Great job!

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It’s a thing of beauty!

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I’m so glad my quickie orange protractor has spawned such a thing of beauty. It IS satisfying, isn’t it?!?

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Practical cut for practical cuts. Well done.

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You have no idea how many protractors I had to buy this key because my kids kept losing them. I found the lastest one in the garage covered in some type of goo. Apparently claybar eveloped it and now it won’t stay flat, no matter how much I scraped off. So, seeing your protractor, and I think another user posted a clear one, turned on a light for me…like how I found out I could make my own pancakes and didn’t have to buy a box mix…that kind of light :joy: :joy: :rofl: :rofl:

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I had to see one of these in action, so I googled it and found this video

The next suggested video was how to use a knife properly, then how to make chocolate… I’m pretty sure I now I need to ignore the children / work and stream YouTube all day.

Great tool! It looks like it’s part of a family of tools that you can knock out.

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I’ve actually got all the other ones; for some reason, the drafting ones are a much better material. I bought them hoping that they would be able to replace my constantly breaking curve. Haven’t had them break at all in the years I’ve owned them. Unfortunately, for fashion patterns, you need the one I made, the others don’t work quite as well, the curves are more narrow…and for some reason, the one I need is always terrible quality. The regular drafting curves aren’t the best for necklines or armholes. But it is a great video, very informative. Outside of necklines and armholes, I’ve never used them. :rofl: :rofl: So, the drafting set I have has never been used.

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I think…I should follow the video stream and learn to make chocolate today…

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There is a website/service that folks talk about on here where they upload their SVG files, hand over money, and they get their part cut out of metal, that might also work! :slight_smile:

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I think I’ve seen something like that before. I’m quite happy with what I made, I like being able to see through it, and I think the glowforge acrylic is much better than what it’s normally made of. Even the 1/8inch acrylic is like 3 times thicker. I’ll keep in it mind though if I want to fabricate car parts…not gonna lie, I’ve been looking at plasma cutters, wazers, and cnc machines now…I’ve always been a DIYer…but glowforge has moved me into an extreme level of thinking…also…that video did not bring me to chocolate…the next videos were about DIY face masks. :expressionless: :expressionless:

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This is glorious! …the finished product and your story about it. Many of us here can identify directly with your feelings of delight in creating something that’s quite simple in essence, yet a very essential tool or part that helps accomplish another task. Nice work!

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Well done!

I have had this on my to-do list for awhile. Just too many things on the list.

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Nice! Echoing many already on the congrats for making a tool you need (as well as opportunity to sell some, too). I had a little happy dance when I finally realized I could make templates to make some of the leather work I do easier & faster & more consistent… the time to figure out the SVG was well worth it!

Your curve looks like a different curve than the “french curve” tool I have & see used on some sewing programs–but I admit I’ve never really use mine when I’ve made garments–got good at either modifing the pattern or creating a “design element” to adjust fit once the fabric was cut… and have never braved making my own pattern yet, though I’ve often thought of it! Still on my to-do list!

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I learned patternmaking through draping, although I can make flat patterns too. The company I worked for only does high end fashion, what you see on the runways at fashion week, and also production patterns from any designs that were bought.

Since I haven’t worked at a company since my youngest was born, the only patternmaking I’ve done is for my children’s clothes and costumes for them and other kids. My son likes to cosplay his favorite cartoon characters, so it’s always fun to try to recreate the character he wants from scratch (I have more fun making patterns now than I did when I was doing it for a living). But I still use all my tools, including the French curve.

To be honest, this is the only French curve I know; I didn’t know others existed until I went looking for a replacement. Draping is a fun way to learn patternmaking, especially since you can manipulate and mark the fabric to your desired shape, so you’ll see what it’s going to look like before devoting your time to the paper pattern. You can always start small, doll clothes or face masks. Good luck in your adventures!

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Hehe awesome! I need a cnc plasma cutter!

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I have my new bigger one up & running now. It can take a 4ft x 3ft piece of material (actually 4ft x anything if you support the portion extending past the table) and has automatic torch height control. Super machine. Running a Hypertherm plasma and cuts are so much faster & cleaner so not nearly as much post processing required.

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Which model do you have? What are you cutting with it? Is the learning curve pretty steep? I’ve got tons of questions!