Process

Lasercutting requires a model that can be generated on either a CAD software or Adobe Illustrator.

I had a hard time finding a mahjong file that was compatible with CMU's lasercutter, but I finally found one that was in Adobe Illustrator.

I used Adobe Illustrator to round off all the edges and remove unnecessary lines to speed up/clean up the process. The Mahjong tiles are very thick, so it will cut slowly to be precise.

There are 144 tiles in a mahjong set, so it took A LONGGGG time for it to cut. (like 12 hours in a span of 2 weeks omg)

Reflection

Yes, I sat there for MANY hours until it finished cutting.

The 1/8th inch (very thin) white acrylic plastic had the Mahjong characters etched/engraved into it, not fully piercing it. And the 1/4th inch (very thick) green acrylic plastic was simply cut and used as backing.

And no, I haven't finished gluing all 144+ tiles together.

What I'd do Differently

Because I had extra acrylic plastic, I decided to make the tiles larger than normal. Something I didn't account for was that the larger the tile is, the thicker the tile must be, or else it won't stand up.

So now... not only did I print 144 tiles that mark up the front, I had to put double layers of white and green acrylic to increase the thickness of my tile so it can stand upright and be used in a game.

If I do such an extravagant project like this again, I will need to think it through beyond a 2D perspective.

To Do

Each tile requires 3 white acrylic piece, and 1 green piece to get the correct thickness.

So yes, I will be sitting at CMU for the next year gluing 576 tile pieces of acrylic together, so I will one day be able to use it hopefully.

Personally, this was a lot more work than expected, so it's probably cheaper to buy a mahjong set if you want one. But I'm still going to finish this art project up since I prepared everything already.