This technique for creating high contrast panels for electronics projects and prototypes using a laser cutter gives great results using cheap and easy to find materials. It’s really useful as an alternative or substitute for more expensive and harder to find laser engravable laminates like SureLase.
The product we use at work for laser engraved signs on products we ship, SureLase, gives great results, is super easy to use and available in a large range of colours. Its downside for non-commercial users is its price and the fact that you have to buy a large 1 x 1.5m sheet. It’s also not as versatile as a plain piece of 3mm acrylic, you can’t make other parts out of it since that’d be a waste.
Here are some photos of some items made with a different method, achieving similar results and using just 3mm white acrylic and a black wax crayon. It’s easy, fast (though not as fast as SureLase) and looks dead smart.
Example electronics project facia, missing the pot and switch to finish it off:
Some inserts to be installed inside some industrial panel mount LEDs made by Chint:
A cog from a mechanical clock designed by Alan Parekh before it had it’s final wipe down:
Process pictures and descriptions after the break…
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The sheets of 10mm pink and black acrylic that I ordered arrived today. I thought I’d take the chance to post some pictures of the finished pink and black meeple as well as upload the outlines for the sets as .SVG and .DXF files. I also cut a few sets of each and threw them on ebay here.
The black, named as “Jet” on ebay to differentiate them from the normal wooden black ones, since they’re nice and shiny:
And a picture of the pink ones:
And as promised, the DXF and SVG files. The DXF for importing neatly into most laser cutter software and the SVG in case you want to play with them in Inkscape or use them with Ponoko (though they don’t offer any 10mm acrylic).
The last few times I’ve been back to where I went to University to visit my friends they’ve all been massively enthusiastic about a game called Carcassonne. Players take turns placing cardboard tiles and claiming them with meeple (the little wooden people that come with the game) to build castles, roads and farms to score points. Their one problem with the game is the lack of available colours of meeple which limits the number of players. The original game comes with 5 colours, plus an extra one if you buy one of the extensions. With the amount of game tiles available when you have more of the extensions, there’s plenty of scope for extra players, but no extra colours of meeple.
These are a set of meeple I laser cut from 10mm clear acrylic. It includes the standard sized meeple and a mega meeple, builder and pig from two of the extensions. With all of the colours of acrylic available (over 20) there’d be plenty to choose from! I’m currently looking for somewhere that will sell me lots of colours in sheets less than 2 x 3m, then I can start making some different colours.
(More pictures and details after the break)
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This is something I designed and laser cut having bought Jess some silicone cupcake cases as part of her Christmas present.
Laser cut from 5mm acrylic its purpose is dual. The patterns on top act as stencils for sprinkling icing sugar, sprinkles, colouring spray or cocoa powder onto the top of iced cupcakes. It also fits inside a standard 25cm round cake tin and the stands that slot together to go with it sit on the bottom of the tin to hold the stencil in the middle, allowing you to store a second layer of cupcakes without fouling the icing of the layer below.
The stands also aid in icing. Placing the stencil on the stands on a table allows you to place cupcakes underneath and stencil them either 1 or 5 at a time! If your cupcakes are particularly dumpy, the base of the fourth stand can be removed and used to raise a cupcake 5mm closer to the stencil, giving you a better defined pattern than if it was lower. (If they’re REALLY lacking in stature, the upright could also be added to the stack)
The two holes in the middle are finger holes to allow you to pick it out of the tin more easily once you’ve removed a layer of cupcakes, though there’s plenty of space there for it to be another pattern instead on a future version.
The stencil/stand was designed in 3d in Alibre to check it would all fit together. The 3 parts were then exported to .dxf files to be laser cut.
Want one? I want these tested and need some awesome photos before I try to sell some for real. For £20 I’ll ship you one to anywhere in the world. If you send me back some awesome photos of it in use with finished, iced cupcakes, I’ll refund everything but the postage cost. Send me an email or leave a comment.