This page contains examples of items I've done in the past along with a short commentary on each. Items are generally ordered from newest on top to oldest on the bottom.
I bought a few cheap cups (~$2 or so) from Target to try engraving them. I don't have a rotary attachment at the moment, so these were flat engraved with a carefully placed focal point. You get about 2" before the laser spreads too much to mark the glass anymore, which is why this is a bit off at the edges. I don't know for sure, but I imagine this is soda lime glass and I might get a bit better results from borosilicate glass but that is usually found, if at all, in labware and baking pans.
As a fund-raiser and for fun, I came up with some designs for engraved holiday 'cards' made out of plywood. I had a few more designs than those shown here, but these are the ones I liked the most. My favorite is probably the middle design which features randomly placed holiday-themed shapes. I wrote a program to spit out a new card every time someone wanted one so everyone's was different. People had me mix and match pieces as well as engrave extra personal text on the front or back. The Santa card was a fairly popular choice.
To test out designs that are flat-packed and stay inside the board held in by sprues I designed a miniature dice tower. It fits into specialty 4¾ × 6½" envelopes originally for 4×6" photos. It can handle one average-sized die at a time, but the bottom area can hold about four of the same. Unlike its larger brother, this one cannot fold in on itself.
After much searching, I found a store selling pre-made colored bonded leather fobs. Many places sold [bonded] leather fobs but put a blank or decorative metal flap on one side and stamped their logo into the other leaving no place to try engraving anything.
Despite internet warnings that some colored bonded leather ends up with odd colors in the engraved areas, these worked great as long as I stuck to lighter colors due to the dark results of engraving. I used a single layer of painter's tape to kill any overburn and keep the pieces looking clean.
As part of my board-gaming related projects, I decided to try creating a dice tower. They're fairly simple in concept so my goal was to make one that fit under 12" square of plywood with enough room left that I didn't have to worry about perfect alignment of the starting location for the laser head.
Eventually after further tweaks and feedback I will prettify the tower with design elements that make it look more like part of a castle.
I started selling my boxes at a local store. This is a picture of them on the new arrivals table, before they moved the items around the store to two other different places. Sales were initially slow, but picked up later in the year around Christmas especially after the dice towers (featured in an earlier post) were added to the lineup.
I picked up some nice wood at the local plywood store in red, as shown, and a very light brown/gray. The wood is about 1.75" square. I used it in combination with some unmounted linoleum to create a stamp of the Destructor Fleet Designs logo.
Previously I used pre-mounted blocks from Blick that used an inferior particle board.
I created this box to hold the usual trading card game suspects: Magic: The Gathering (MtG), Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game (Yu-Gi-Oh), and Pokémon Trading Card Game (Pokémon). The box is designed to hold as many cards and of the same sizes as Ultra•PRO's solid color single-compartment plastic deck boxes. It would be much easier to find them if they hadn't unceremoniously named the product line "Deck-Box".
All joints are friction fit. No glue is used in the construction of such a box. I later made a few I engraved my own design onto the side. I sold eight to the same local store I also gave bookmarks to in a later post.
I tried making some bookmarks with two 110lb weight sheets of cardstock. It is easier if you glue the sheets first, but most glues are unsuitable since they cause the result to warp or curl. I found best results with a mounting glue spray. The only downside is if you weren't careful putting the top sheet onto the bottom sheet you can't fix it. The mounting spray is actually too good.
If you engrave too far they may start to come apart, so as a result all engravings are only probably 90% of the way through the first sheet. I don't think it matters what color you use for the back. To prevent the ribbon from fraying I used a heat gun to seal the ends.
The logo is that of a locally owned and operated books, games, toys, etc. store. I made a bunch and gave them over for free, despite the work involved just as an experiment. People liked them.
It popped into my head to look up laser cut tea candle holders. Tea candles are usually very small, on the order of 1.5" in diameter and not very tall. I made the above design by generating random rings of varying sizes and location. The maximum ring size was the width of the "cutting safe square." I then spent many hours differencing the circles in Inkscape, with many saves and undos. Even then, I still made at least two mistakes where some rings are missing segments. However I've deemed it "art" so those don't matter.
I acquired a 4" square ceramic tile from a craft store which fit perfectly in the bottom and protected it from any candle heat. This why the bottom is dark and shiny in the second photo. As you can probably expect, it cast some pretty neat shadows.
I don't tend to revision things back from when I started laser cutting things, however someone asked me if it was still possible to obtain some Nectarine key fobs. The answer was of course "no" but I meant in the sense that they wouldn't look like the originals. It's a different machine and I no longer use the crappy plywood I used back then. However they wanted one anyway.
This is how I had expected the original Nectarine key fobs to look. They didn't but everyone loved the result I got back then. I wouldn't go back and change that, but I am happy to produce this kind of quality now.
The original edition of the card game Gloom came in a pretty simple paper double-deck box that was destined to fall apart quickly inside of game bags. They later improved the box, but other editions of the game (Cthulhu Gloom, etc.) still come in the poor original-style box.
This box can hold any game with 110 cards, has a slight bit of headroom for instructions, and can hold up to three 16mm dice if needed in the middle.
The software that interfaces with the machine is quite capable of handling images in addition to the usual vector files. So I lasered a bunch of logos from pouet.net for fun. Credits go to Salinga (top left), RbR (top right), phunck (middle left and upside down), elend (lower middle left), RbR (lower middle), iks (lower right). Images or photos with good contrast typically come out better, though you can of course edit images yourself to enhance that before lasering them.
This was my first real project with my laser cutter. I had done all the prep and design work prior to buying the machine. The idea is similar to The Broken Token's offerings in that it does a better job organizing the components of the game, and enables you to fit both expansions to the base game in the same box. (Only one expansion is pictured.)
I hadn't experimented with friction fitting yet so hence the tape. However the outer box does help hold it together so I may just glue it and call it good. I later removed the second support near the tile area to make it easier to remove tiles from the box. The card area is incomplete as it needs adjustments to work properly. In the mean time it does alright holding the cards as shown.
The cutouts were for later experimentation with making flat-mailable part sheets that held in the pieces with small sprues. I will eventually play around with the concept.
Anything prior to this date (and past this post on this page) was done on one of two other machines owned by other businesses. This is my own machine purchased end of spring. It is set up enough to use at the point in time this photo was taken. A table would be later moved in for the computer monitor and the fire extinguisher mounted on the wall.
Created in time for Revision 2016, these ink stamps were created to fit in with the Revision 2016 theme, return of Evilbot. They are based on various images and logos in use on the official website. They are ~2x2" in size and made from battleship linoleum mounted on particle board. Blick sells these blocks for cheap. I put them at the info desk during the event and left some blank index cards for people to try them out on.
These are examples of tiles I made and painted for the game Robo Rally. Almost all of these tiles represent items found in expansions that had gone out of print. I made a set for myself and a set for my target in the BoardGameGeek.com Secret Santa exchange. I used the wrong color acrylic for most of these as they should have been done in clear acrylic with the exception of the rad-symbol tile. More information.
Everyone loves sine waves so I put sine waves on your sine waves. Also an experiment in generating paths with a script.
Just a mashup of Futurama + my "Badge of Awesome" I made sometime prior (see below). I ended up sitting on these a while before painting two of them in July 2016.
This design was based on the TRSAC demoparty's mascot for this year's theme. It was traced from an image on their website as they lacked a vector version. Three larger prototype proof of concepts were made to convince the organizers of this idea, and they liked it. The larger prototypes had a bit more detail than the final version and were ~3.81" (9.68cm) at their widest to ~5" (12.7cm) tall. As less could fit on a sheet of acrylic at this size it was resolved to shrink them a bit for the final run.
This one was tough because of the size and detail involved that needed to be separate colors. The wristbands and leek are painted down the sides but there is no paint on the back. The colored sections on the leek use straight lines where possible for ease of masking. I also removed some details from the original design that I deemed too small to keep at this size. The final ones are around ~2.26" (5.75cm) at their widest point by ~3" (7.62cm) tall.
I sold a few of these after I corrected the alignment, but if I recall correctly most of the batch ended up unpainted and getting handed off to a Revision organizer to put into the prize bags for the competitions. I didn't follow up to find out what really happened.
I made these for the Sundown demoparty 2015, which I visited in person. It was their 10th anniversary, and they held their last Sundown in 2016. I sold a few of these key fobs to various partygoers but ended up donating the large remainder to the lead organizer to use as prizes for that year. There were still plenty left over to use for whatever he wished the next year.
The top right photo shows two where I etched the letters instead of engraving them and painted the entire body of the key fob rather than just the letters. I think while it looked interesting, it was far easier and still good looking to do just the letters.
These tokens were were for fun, to see if anyone would try to redeem them. I carefully placed them next to sleeping people, people who were away from their table spot, or whatnot during Revision 2015. Some people were a little confused and nobody tried to turn them into the info desk to try to get actual beer. I think they decided it was worth more keeping it than trying to redeem it.
The front says "no cash value - good for one free cheap bottled beer - ". The back says "if you actually get a free beer for this thing, awesome - ".
The Demoscene has an in-joke of sorts about ScenePoints, who participates in the program, and how to get them. You can ostensibly buy things with them like Pouet Gold membership and so on. I made a few tokens with their website on them worth one point and painted them white.
They have 11 sides after the US Susan B. Anthony coin which was intended to be 11-sided but was merely stamped with the pattern near the edge after vending machine manufacturers complained. (It wouldn't have the same diameter all the way around.)
The text on the backside is backwards because it was intended to line up with the front-side text, but that didn't really work out. It looks alright though and feeds into the general funkiness of "ScenePoints" crap.
I gave one or two (unpainted) away by mail, but the rest were given away in person at Revision 2015 for the fun of it.
This is my second attempt at a birthday "card." I reused the balloons and cake from the first iteration but moved things around to accommodate new lettering that was based off of a real font and not done by hand.
The end result involved a bunch of painter's tape and spray paint. I masked off each section I didn't want to paint, sprayed two coats about 30 minutes apart, then repeated for the next color. I had to do a lot of overspray to get anything to fall in to the etched lines for the balloon strings. As to the colors, the white is matte, the silver is "metallic" (sparkly), and the rest are glossy. I liked the top color and used it for the intended recipient, but also used the bottom one later for someone else.
Like a while before I decided to experiment with making "cards" again, to fit a specific size of envelope I still had plenty of. In this case I tried generating a bunch of cut out circles inside the outlines of letters. The top design uses smaller circles contained entirely inside the letter boundaries. The lower design uses more varied circle sizes clipped by the letter boundaries.
Ignoring the extra glue or hard bit of the plywood causing extra burn on the top design, I found I didn't like it as much as the other design. The second design was intentionally modeled after Swiss cheese.
These tokens are 62mm in diameter, 3mm thick. I started smaller but all the wanted text wouldn't fit. The peeled token in the images above was accidentally rotated when it was flipped. The bunny and B² should be parallel. The others were done correctly. The front reads "TomoAlien bon² ZanaGB" and the back reads "In Bunny We Trust bon2.untergrund.net". TomoAlien and ZanaGB provided design input, the B² logo, and the 2D Stanford Bunny to use.
Unfortunately this group broke apart a year and a few months after I produced these due to irreconcilable differences. At least one possibly intended to destroy their tokens. Therefore it is unknown if any still exist outside of these photos.
The top left image is the first iteration with cutouts for the symbols at the top. I also had a version made with the symbols engraved (top right), which was my original suggestion. The shapes were too small to do proper cutouts without breaking the itty-bitty pieces. They broke off quite easily even with careful handling. Cutouts can work, they just need to be bigger or have thicker "bridges". The engraving around the lower text is to replicate the 3D effect from the original logo. I think it works quite well for that.
The Kindergarden organizers didn't want the bases fixed to the bottoms for flexibility at the demoparty. I suggested using a technique I learned that adds a partial circle at each corner of the slot in the base so the acrylic flexes instead of cracking when you put in the top. This worked quite well to hold the two parts together.
For SceneSat staff, showing the front and back. Pushing the detail limit here; there are some small dots and thin lines, especially between parts of letters. I made seven key fobs to fill the small remainder at the bottom of the sheet, leaving only a usefully larger strip at the right end. As the wooden design wasn't copied and pasted here they're different dimensions.
For Function organizers, showing the front, back, and one with a name prior to peeling. Green was explicitly requested, so I used the same green as the Nordlicht tetrahedron.
Like the previous object, these were done for fun and not requested. There's no obligation, as far as I know, for organizers to wear one. As I had some left over badge holders and clips, I sent some along. All badges got a clip and every named badge got a holder, but I didn't grab enough holders for all. They should survive just fine without a holder.
There are 16 badges in total: two generic (top left image), thirteen with names, and the inverse screw-up. The inversion was due to a missing outer path, which the laser software discarded when the operator asked it to "remove overlaps". Whoops. The color is similar to that of the Nordlicht website's countdown timer, as I wanted something different from the turquoise used by most of the site and the green of the tetrahedron. They are the standard badge dimensions (ISO/IEC 7810 ID-1) except for being 3mm thick.
This was made from light green 3mm-thick acrylic, held together with clear epoxy. I forgot to measure it before mailing so I can't tell you how tall it actually is. All side pieces are interchangeable.
As I was given permission to the surface design, it mirrors an object from the Nordlicht 2014 invite and may be an award for the fun compo if it occurs. Presumably whoever ends up with it will post their own photo[s]. (A note from the future: the fun compo never happened. This object ended up with the designer.)
Finally, an official posting of the Pouet tokens. They were made at the end of the summer of 2013 but have been up on my from://kennewick site for a while, for the astute. I was finally able to hand them off to Gargaj at Revision 2014. These are, in fact, the first acrylic acrylic fob/token design I had done. The original intention was for active Pouet site developers, but I didn't impose any restrictions so they will or already have ended up in the hands of whoever Gargaj felt was appropriate.
They're about 3.9cm in diameter (outside) made from an ~4mm thick "smoke" acrylic. There are only 12 in existence, of which I own none. Short of a special request from Gargaj, there won't be any more of this design. I also passed along some pre-cut lengths of 3mm diameter "utility" cord with them, the intention being that if the recipient wanted they could loop it around the token and tie the loose ends off on something else.
Prior to the previous I had come up with the above idea, which was based on an original idea for what ended up becoming the @party awards. 1"x1" isn't terribly large, but I figured it could be serviceable as a bag tag, zipper pull, or yet again a key fob. There's somewhere between 20 and 22 of these floating around now. Unlike the Revision design, there is only one layout.
I had made some clear ("coke bottle") acrylic key fobs for organizers and other associated staff. The original goal was to make two for everyone with people's handles on them. As the organizer page doesn't include everyone involved I made generic key fobs for the rest.
The above and following photos were from before I removed the hole fillers that failed to just drop out. I used to occasionally find one in my carpet the first vacuuming missed, but I think they're all gone now. Some just required me to lightly poke them out, others a small bit of force from the back side when the laser only did 99% of the way around. None broke or chipped in the removal process of the fillers.
The top "whitespace" design isn't mine, and I used a font already on my system for the text, but I did the rest of it. They're a bit long, which was intentional for these but I'll be shortening future ones. And yes, totally coder colors! but that wasn't intentional. The "silver" one is a clear acrylic with a manufacturer-applied mirrored backing applied to it. Due to the mirroring you have to laser it from the backside requiring designs be flipped so they come out the right direction viewed from the front.
Chronologically these were made in June, but due to a request by the organizer who asked me to make them I held off on posting them until December of the same year. They're 3" acrylic wedges from Laser Bits with a coated bottom. There's a jig that holds the piece in place upside down and the pattern has to be horizontally reversed before engraving it.
Alignment was a small chore, but as long as the jig didn't move only the first one had to be aligned. Ultimately only two were prototyped due to what it would cost to make and ship a complete set for all competitions.
I ended up sending along some badges and a tetrahedron (shown earlier on this page) for free and shipping the prototypes with them. In theory one of the prototypes went to the designer of the pattern used for the top part.
These awards were made for @party and had the logo etched on the top part, with the year etched on the bottom. The base holes were cut a bit large and so the tops were glued into place, with acrylic cement. If you haven't seen the Kindergarden awards further up yet, you'll notice I learned from this and avoided repeating making a mess with acrylic cement. The image shows a slight self-reflection; the awards were not engraved on the back side. A friend of mine, Ian Roberts, took the photo for me.
Only one picture here. I had a few Cubernicus key fobs made. They only have a text logo with a cube I could find so I used the same font from the text logo to do their long name on the back. There's no particular order to the names on the back side as I originally went for alphabetical but then ended up shifting them to allow for two columns.
Since there wasn't much else I felt I could work with, the front side is an homage to that film because most of the group seems to be composed of musicians. The design isn't rotated so the top points toward the ring hole like my usual square-based designs because I didn't have room to fit everything if I did so. On some of the fobs the little pieces of wood in the letters with contained circles have fallen out. (like 'o') Oh well.
~1.44" x ~1.44" x 3/16th" (width x height x thickness) 3.75cm x 3.75cm x 5mm
The top one produced a "what is that? and how did the laser do it?" response from me, but someone else had a better explanation: I just uncovered the joint between two pieces of the original plywood. It has the standard back side.
The bottom one is a result of many tests in various locations that happened to overlap with a piece that may not have been removed at the time. I don't recall the reasons why it wasn't taken out of the board, but it looked interesting in its own way so I decided to keep it. It has no back side.
I gave up on the engraved backside as it just never really looked right to me, and it seemed the etching was nicer. Others liked it better too. This allowed me to put back in the third concentric circle as originally intended. The etching was done at a much lower power than previously so that where the shapes overlapped they wouldn't get really dark. I think they look really good.
1.5" x ~11/16th" x 3/16th" (w x h x thickness)
3.8cm x 1.8cm x 5mm
They're not very large.
The top wooden fob shows the back-side, with an accidental etch. However, I kinda like it. If the engraving on the small laser doesn't turn out, then I may use this variant instead. It is surprisingly sharp for the big laser. The second and third versions are engraved versions of the same, as intended. The laser flips state for overlapped sections such that if two shapes overlap, it won't engrave the overlap. In this case, I had up to three overlapping shapes (three sets of concentric circles). The third one is just a deeper engraving attempt of the second. The result was not as good as I imagined so I dropped down to two sets of concentric circles as seen in the fourth. As the etching one was an accident, I don't know what it looks like with the three sets of concentric circles etched. Madness, presumably.
The idea was to engrave the letters, then the red bands as a second pass engraving. The top fob is a lighter engraving with the bands turned off, the second the first one I did with a deep engraving and the bands (which can be barely seen in the photo), and the third with the bands engraved first followed by a light engraving of the letters. They all sucked. When the smaller laser is operational, I'll have another go. The letter bands might also change to be merely an unengraved section (with lines on either side) if I cannot get the double engraving to look nice.
(The original Titan logo was done by Alien, a member of Titan.)
I just really like this photo.
This was an experiment to try making an acrylic sandwich held together by some cap-head screws. If I did this over I'd likely go with a different screw to reduce the amount of countersink required to make the head flush. The internal dimensions are about 1" squared, so there's not a lot of room. The fourth hole is not countersunk as it is intended for a cord or string to allow the item to be tied off onto something. I should have made that hole slightly larger.
Now these, I hate. I don't hate Sputnik, I hate my wood-based representation as a cut-out. When I originally did the tests I had a very high rate of failure: it had to be re-cut many times and most didn't come out of the board.
So out of all 24 I tried to cut, I got 6. Now you know why I'm unhappy. I don't have a scientific explanation or anything other than since there's not a lot of straight lines it's possible that even at slower speeds, the small laser's 40 Watts just can't spend enough time to go all the way through.
They're single sided because it would be really hard to be able to do the backside with an asymmetric design. I don't think it would be impossible, but you'd be spending a lot of your time lining up and testing the laser to do the backside pass. So I didn't even give doing so any thought.
Not much to say here. Uses the same form-factor as the Revision ones. A lot of empty space on the one side.
The rectangular ones are about 6.3cm long by 1.3cm wide and 5mm thick. (2.5" x ~1" x ~3/16") This makes them smaller than the Nectarine ones by a noticeable amount. Unfortunately I had planned to put the same engraving on the front as the back, but I realized the hole would cut in to the "at" if I did so. Ideas people and I had were mirroring the engraving to fit, lengthening the piece, and putting the URL on the back. Truck's proposition of the URL ended up being the cleanest. I had also tried to put a really small engraved Sputnik back there too, but decided it looked nice and clean with just the URL.
So had an idea at some point I think before I started this year's production runs for the Nectarine and Revision key fobs to do something for SceneSat. They were prototyped around the time of the production runs. The end result was two credible designs that I put up a vote app for. Interestingly very few people wanted both, most wanted one or the other. Unfortunately people were split almost 50-50 for each making it harder to get a decent quantity of either. There's 60 of each of the squares and rectangles, and 6 of the Sputniks.
The awards are "medals" made out of acrylic, 4in (~10cm) in size and anywhere from 3mm (shrub) to 4.5mm (most) to 6mm (translucent bronze) thick. They have a 1in (2.54cm) wide ribbon slot. They are only etched and engraved on one side. Each competition (compo) got a different color. Unfortunately many didn't realize that their real color wasn't "brown" and didn't peel them until it was reiterated the paper was removable. At this time I didn't paint things I made with acrylic, but that would have helped the lettering stand out once the paper came off.
A few didn't quite come out properly for whatever reason as shown in the first image (top left). I really liked the design for 1st place and more or less just removed stuff to turn it into 2nd and 3rd, though I wish I'd been a bit more adventurous on the design. The cup in the middle was a vectorized version of the image they used on the website to announce winners.
I was asked to create some tokens, based on a provided design, for a game called Qyshinsu: Mystery of the Way. The tokens were more or less the same for each player, with one set having an extra ring engraved into it. The requester's intent was to paint them, but I believe later ended up staining them with tea or a similar liquid.
I made extra pieces because some fell into below the working table of the machine and got burned again by a stray laser beam that had far passed its focal point. As this entire comment was written long after I created them, I can almost certainly say I'd do a better job on them today.
In this vein, I didn't get any pictures of them this time around, but I have a 7 where one side is misaligned. The other side looks just fine. They're kinda like the ones above, from this year, except all have the URL properly etched in the right place and they all have a close-to-full-size "Nectarine" engraved area.
The operator tweaked something and in the process accidentally selected only one fob's final letter and set it to cut.
They don't always come out perfectly. I have a few where parts of the veneer pulled off just a little bit and one that has a knot-like thick spot near the edge. Since I hope to have so many this year, these probably won't be given out. I also had two boards where there was a line missing. No filler, nothing.
In the Nectarine ones, I ended up engraving both sides before I noticed except the last one there (blank back) so it goes all the way through. The Revision ones stop short of the veneer on the other side. Someone suggested I fill the Revision ones with colored epoxy for strength. They're certainly unique…
(I touched up these images a bit to make them easier to see, so colors might be off.)
Each full stack is has 10 fobs in it. The far right in the last row of the Revision ones is only 9. I have 179 Revision ones and 133 Nectarine ones, so I hope to go back and get a few more made to bring those up closer to 200. Other than variations in wood and so on, they generally should look the same as those I handed out already. The Revision ones might be a tad sharper.
I really don't know why I called these biscuits. They don't look like the US or UK definition of the word "biscuit." They're closer to coasters. Anyway, this was very early on when I just got into laser cutting, and I wanted to try out some basic designs. The software for the machine that ran my files at this time handled overlaps and nested engraved areas by toggling whether it engraved things. Even though the machine went left to right and top to bottom line by line to engrave things, the software would go outside in and calculate when to stop engraving if it hit a line from another shape set to engrave, but could continue engraving if it found another engravable shape inside of that.
As confusing as it sounds, it's relatively simple. Nest shapes and you get islands. Overlap shapes and you get areas that aren't engraved. If you know it will do this you can produce interesting designs. These explicitly tried this behavior out to see what would happen. This may explain why they look a lot like broadcast test patterns.
I think these were my first laser cut design I attempted. They're ornaments of a sort, but I didn't really have any idea where they would go or how they would be used. The were later put on a Christmas tree and some sent off to relatives. They're close to 12cm across.