Plastic, yes. Or metal. And even wood (if so, have a look at our MakeMore contest). You can lasercut many different materials, since you're limited only by common sense and technical requirements. And by imagination, of course: let it go - even just a bit - and you can get very interesting results. If you are looking for something peculiar to get inspired there's no better place than Japan, usually, and this is true also for laser cutting: a japanese project developed two years ago it's worth describing again, now that there's a big interest on adopting Makers' techniques in food production.


In 2012, Umino Kaisouten - a japanese company selling nori, pressed seaweed sheets for rolling sushi - launched a project to develop laser-cut seaweed. The idea was born because Japanese were eating less and less nori, so Umino Kaisouten imagined that offering more "stylish" seaweed could give a push to nori sales. That's how the new Design Nori line came to life: it consisted of a group of sheets with artistic decorations (they were also showcased at Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum in Tokyo) and other simpler ones with typical japanese patterns.

Design Nori was a bit pricey (10 euros each sheet, more or less) but nevertheless a success in Japan and also abroad. With Umino Kaisouten patterned sheets you could go back home and make your own sushi rolls decorated with cherry blossoms (sakura, which in japanese symbology bring beauty), hemp leaves (asanoha, for growth), water drops (mizutama, for good fortune) and turtle shells (kikkou and kumikikkou, for happiness and longevity).


Unimo Kaisouten never explained its laser cutting process completely. They dropped just a few details: a "special laser cutting technology" was used, nori sheets broke when details were too fine (obviously), only one type of seaweed could be used because it was thick enough to be lasercut. There were a lot of leftover nori clippings, so they were recycled in making furikake, a japanese topping made mainly with dried fish and chopped seaweed.


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