This is another quick and easy project to make on a laser cutter. (I just joined TechShop, and I now have access to all kinds of wonderful equipment, so this is one in a series of "I made it at TechShop" Instructables.) This project assumes that you have already had some training on safety and basic use of your particular model of laser cutter. My directions are based on my experience with a Trotech machine, but they are basically agnostic - they should work whether you are using an Epilog or Trotech machine.
Step 1: Materials:
a spare piece of white paper, for contrast
These were my tools:
Adobe Illustrator, for creating the words
a Trotech 100-watt laser cutter
Step 2: Preparation:
Size the word to fit on one of your clips.
Format the file for your laser cutter.
Step 3: Etching:
Place your clip on the cutting bed.
Use a focusing jig to be sure the laser is the correct distance from the clip.
Set your power and speed settings to the default for Stone > Marble. (Why Stone > Marble? Because after lots of failed (too faint) attempts, those settings seemed to work to mark the hard black surface of my binder clips. Binder clips are cheap. Your laser settings may vary. I began with the default settings for stainless steel and adapted from there... )
After your word has etched once, open the laser cutter and look carefully at your clip without touching it. Is the word etched deeply enough? If not, you may want the laser to make another pass to etch it more deeply. I wanted my words to be clear, so I went with 2 passes.