Pushing Fire through Fancy Holes

This time around, I teamed up with Phil Spitler from Bonfire Labs. He's a Techshop aficionado and all-round genius.

He did the cutting, of both material, and of extraneousness. That’s just 1/16″ steel in the video, but he cut 3/4″ marble, and that machine will cut inches thick steel, with no scorching or warping.


The last time I worked with shapes, it was just lines and squares, so this was a big step toward more robust shapes and symbols. I didn’t expect the flames to retain the shape of the aperture (oh, fire, I know you), but I wanted to see what would happen when we pushed the gasoline explosion through the hole.

What’s interesting is the added sense of depth, as well as the ability to mix light and dark, and get the flames to appear in front or behind of something.

Here’s the Bonfire Labs logo – on fire. I’ve spent so much time and effort getting the explosions to look right on white, it’s a little strange to see, uh, not as white, in the mix, but the added elements and depth give the viewer more to savor.

And while the fire doesn’t retain the shape of the aperture, the difference in density between the material and the hole makes the symbol highly visible, and it’s working better than I expected – the Bonfire Labs logo is easily visible, beautiful, and well-balanced in emphasis.

I’m loving this grubbier finish, with the smoke and grit. Unlike what has come before, but working really well.

This opens up a bunch of possibilities: multiple layers, different symbols, mixes of symbols, lettering, pictograms, white silhouettes against fire against white. A whole fantasy world depicted in flames!