Multilayer Fractal Beach

Back with more fractal goodness. This time I used a multi-layer approach with 1/8" basswood. The hard part was drawing all the cut lines to separate the sections, I don’t have an automated process for that, just lots of spline curve placement. Sharing a flat edge means it’s easy to line up all the pieces during assembly. Next up, I think I’m going to try to make a mirror frame in this style.

All in all, this is 7 layers, and about 9 hours of cut+engrave time. I was able to save a little space, and make the cuts out of five 12x6" basswood boards. The final result is 11 inches wide, about 5 inches tall, and just under 1 inch deep.


Oh wow, that’s beautiful!


Stunning. Well worth the time, in my opinion.

Fractal indeed! I like how each photo zooms in to a new level of detail. (Are your pegs toothpicks?) How did you come up with the idea? [edit…is it the map in the background?]


No pins in this one, just glue. Since I had the two bottom corners to line up with, I didn’t need any alignment pins. The background is a glass table outside.

The inspiration came from my time doing fractal art. This style of fractal (which is called an escape-time fractal) often creates strips or bands of patterns stacked up on each other, so I’ve been tempted to split them and treat them as topographical regions in a height map for a while. That’s a little technical, but looking at this picture it’s probably pretty easy to see what I mean.

In theory, I could render that with a greater “iteration depth”, and the black spaces would fill in with ever-smaller strips of the pattern. But at a certain point, the detail becomes too small for the laser to really distinguish. So I limit the render to only a handful of layers to make it easier to split apart and work with. I still had to go in and manually draw vector lines at each border to define the cut shapes.


Really cool! I am a big fan of fractals. I can imagine separating those pieces had to be pretty time consuming.


Oh wow! That looks soooo! cool!

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I misread “basswood” as “baseboard” and imagined this going all the way along the bottom of a wall. That’d certainly be more interesting than most typical moulding options!

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This is stunning! I’d love to see the mirror frame when done.

Oh wow, those layers are just so cool!

I need more wood to arrive before I can tackle another one with lots of layers, but I did prototype a mirror frame process using a similar technique.


Wow! This is so very beautiful!