We sat down with the winners of our Tensegrity Structure Contest, Jeremy and Elvin Bermudez of Nexus Engraving. Tensegrity structures seem to defy gravity when you look at them. Most of them have separate sections that are connected by wires of some type and this is where their secrets lie. Some of the wires are in tension while others are in compression which balances out these forces. A video link explaining more is posted at the end of this article, but first, let’s get the details of Jeremy and Elvin Bermudez’s thought processes when creating their very own gravity-defying tensegrity structure.

Did you download a file or create your own?

Honestly, we did a little bit of both. AP Lazer has a great list of external sites where files can be found in the resource section. We found a 3D Laser Cut Eagle on one of those sites and created our own modifications/attachments to turn it into a tensegrity model.

If you designed the file on your own, how long did it take and what software(s) did you use?

In total the actual modifications and design took about 2 hours to complete. The research took much longer than that. We pulled the original vectors of the Eagle into Adobe Illustrator to use as a template/guide for the attachments we wanted to create.

Nexus Engraving Tensegrity Structure

After that, we cut everything using LightBurn. Really, the design could be done on any program that can modify vectors.

What materials did you use and from where did you source them?

The materials used on the tensegrity model were 3/4 inch oak plywood for the base, 1/8 inch plywood for the Eagle, 1/8 inch acrylic, and an 8 lb fishing line. All of our materials were leftovers from other projects, the plywood was originally sourced from a local hardware store and, we believe the acrylic was sourced from JPPlus. We also used cardboard as a test template so we wouldn’t have to waste acrylic or wood. The cardboard was sourced from our recycling bin.

What was the inspiration behind your design?

After looking at several videos, we realized most tensegrity models were basically two surface planes with an arm extending out of each plane. They resembled tables and people were even turning them into chairs. We knew we wanted to think outside the box and get away from the tables and chairs. Then we started thinking about our local area.

The area we live in is considered “Eagle Country” by the locals because of the University the city is home to, the city has an eagle in its logo, and being veterans, the eagle is an important symbol to us. We decided we had to figure out how to use an eagle in it. Doing more research we came across lego tensegrity models and realized we could base the concept on these.

How difficult was it to execute this project?

After deciding on the eagle and seeing the lego structures, we thought the hard part was going to be making the actual eagle. Lucky for us, we found a 3D model online. We used initially used cardboard to create the arms used to hold the eagle and then used acrylic to make the final cut. We made multiple cuts, fittings, and adjustments until we were happy with the distance and angle of the Eagle. Admittedly, it was actually more difficult to string it up with the fishing line than to design it.

Would you make a tensegrity structure again?

Yes, definitely! Maybe a cut an acrylic heart shape with engraved portrait. We are still working out the design for this one.

Is this something a beginner can tackle on their AP Lazer?

Yes, It was easier than we thought. The hardest part was deciding what to do and how to be different.

Did you learn anything from this application experience? If so, what, and will it help you with future customer orders?

Yes, don’t be afraid to try something new. Chances are you have a few left-over scraps somewhere and when you’re making cuts you don’t have to use anything expensive to test it. Thinking outside the box allows us to connect with customers. For us and our business, it’s all about those connections, it’s what “Nexus Engraving” is based on.

Could you integrate similar products (or similar concepts) into your existing business? If so, please provide an example.

As mentioned above we are actively working on an acrylic heart design, we are talking about re-designing the eagle to make it into a smaller DIY puzzle kit, and maybe one of these days we might do an actual table or chair, not sure on this one.

Do you have any additional comments to add?

This was a great experience, fun project, and we look forward to the next challenge. Thank you for the opportunity!

There you have it – another fun way to test your limits and be creative with the AP Lazer! To learn more about these amazing gravity-defying structures, check out this video!

Interested in expanding your skills and trying your hand at creating a tensegrity structure? Contact our reps today!

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