On hearing that we needed to create a free standing structure that contained a clock, literally the first thought to flash through my mind was an image of the Big Ben. It's unique features make it a distinctive entity in the world of clock towers and I wanted to see if I could reproduce those features in my art piece.
At first, I considered making a model of the entire palace of Westminster. In fact, I even located a cut-out diagram on the internet that would have made it possible. However, given the limited time and real estate available on the laser cutter, I decided to keep my ambitions limited to just the tower.
I had to expand the diagram in Corel Draw to be big enough to hide the face of the clock behind it. The issue with that was that it severely pixelated the art work on the tower.
I made the requisite cardboard cutouts. However, I was finding that the laser cutter was cutting dimensions slightly bigger than the dimensions in my Corel Draw file... Almost 10-20% bigger. So I had to re-size all the snap-in joints by trial and error. Eventually, the tower and the base were ready.
I did want to pay homage on my base plate to Charles Barry, the architect building the Big Ben, but later decided it was a bit much and scrapped the engraving.
I finally cut the towers on a black sheet - the engraving, even with all it's pixelation, showed up as a beautiful grey-brown image on the face of the towers.
Another issue I faced was that the slots at the base of the towers (that would be inserted into the base plate to enable them to stand) were too long because of the idiosyncratic behavior of the laser cutter, and the base plate material wasn't fat enough to contain them. So I cut duplicate base plates and glued them together to double the thickness of the base.
I finally glued the clock to the back of one tower, glued in both towers to the base plate and we were done. Long live the Queen!
I was a bit stressed about working with my hands. I'm not a very handy guy, and building stuff is a bit outside my comfort zone. However, after doing this, I feet GREAT!!! (Unsubtle hint to click ...