My friend is a chemistry major. So as a gift, I decided to make a nerdy chemistry beaker cufflinks for him. So he can wear it during formal events. Make you own cufflinks under $5. Actually you can make 10 unique cufflinks under $5. But first you need to have access to a laser cutter for this project.
Step 1: Gather the Material
Materials that you need:
- Elmer's Glue-All works, but Gorilla Glue is better
- 1/8th inch thick wood panel (I used white birch wood, only $1.85 for a sheet of 9in by 12in at my local art store)
- Masking tape (very useful)
- blank cufflinks 10 pairs on amazon for $4.17 (http://www.amazon.com/Cuff-Links-Blanks-pairs-10mm...
Equipments that you need:
- Laser cutter (I used the Universal Laser System)
- Computer with illustrator or any vector editing software that is connected to the laser cutter
Step 2: Creating Your Design
First you need a design. Attached are the file for the beaker design.
*Note: if you are making you own design, the blank cufflink base is 0.400 inch diameter so your design must be at least larger than that.
Laser cutter have two setting vector cut and raster cut.
- Vector cut is cutting the material all the way through. (To vector cut, the line on the design much have hairline or 0.01 pt width)
- Raster cut is like the laser engraving.
- In the beaker design, the red line on beaker design is vector cut and the green and black lines are raster cut.
Laser cut Setting
- Red Vector cut - Setting on vector, Power: 100%, Speed: 2%
- Green Raster cut - Setting on raster, Power: 100%, Speed: 40%
- Black Raster cut - Setting on raster, Power:100%, Speed 60%
*I separate the green and the black because I want the outer edge of the beaker to have a deeper and darker shade than the interior part. By changing to a lower speed, we can achieve a different texture cut. You can also do the same with decrease and increasing power.
Step 3: Laser Cutting
Laser Cutting Setup
- Turn on the Laser Cutter and the air supply
- Important: Put the masking tape on your material where you want to cut. The masking tape helps to make a clean cut.
- Make sure your material is lined up
- Either auto focus or manual focus the laser cutter
- Then just click print and let the laser cut do its job.
Step 4: Peel of the Tape and Check the Cut
You see on the picture the difference masking tape makes, so remember to use it.
After you peel of the tape, double check all the cut is good. If something is wrong, just adjust the the setting, fix the design and try again. I got a 9in by 12in wooden panel, got plenty enough to test and make more.
Step 5: Gluing the Cufflink to Laser Pieces
Just glue the cufflink to the back of the laser cut pieces. Wait for an appropriate amount for it to set. Make sure to not put to much glue.
Step 6: Voila!
Done! All finished! Add a little personal touch to every formal gathering.
Few finishing touches you could add such as stain the wood a different color, varnish the surface, or even use a different wood or acrylic. A colored acrylic would also look really good. Or even do a layered design, with acrylic on top and wood on the bottom. The possibility is limitless. So get making!