Introduction: Customized Items With Lasers

So...some of our patrons have figured out that our laser cutter is AWESOME at making customized gifts, gadgets, and such and we want to let the rest of them know the possibilities. This instructable is going to show you how easy it is to make pre-made items customized for your personal pleasure.

And remember, our MakerSpace always has someone on hand to help you if you get stuck.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Stuff you need to bring:
  • Your items (glasses, spoons, notebook, coffee mug, ANYTHING*)
  • File or picture (or just an idea!) of what you're going to put on your items

Stuff you'll use at the library:

  • Laser Cutter (ours is a 40w Epilog Zing)
  • Masking Tape
  • Computer with Corel Draw

*almost anything. For a list of materials you can bring in, see our website: https://www.jocolibrary.org/makerspace/laser-cutting-and-engraving

Step 2: Prep and Measure

Measure your item(s):

  • For round/glass objects, measure the height of the object and then around the object's widest part where you'll be engraving.
  • For other objects, lay out and measure the location that you want the engraving to be.

Prep items:

  • For wood and paper objects, you may want to use masking tape to decrease burn marking.

Step 3: Prep Your File

  1. Open Corel Draw on the MakerSpace computer.
  2. Set your dimensions:
    • Most files should reflect the laser bed size: 24" x 12"
    • For round/rotary items, you'll want to use the measurements from the previous step. In this example, the glass is 5" tall and 10" around.
  3. Create or import your file.
  4. Move and adjust your image to your liking:
    • For rotary items, remember to also rotate your image.
    • Use ruler guides and your object's measurements to find just the right spot on your item to engrave.

Step 4: Fire Up the Laser

  1. Position your items in the laser cutter.
  2. Focus the machine:
    • hit the 'Focus' button
    • make sure dangly bit barely touches item
  3. Turn on the venting!

Step 5: Hit 'GO'

  1. Send your file to the printer (File > Print)
  2. Adjust settings depending on your material (we can help you find the right settings)
  3. Hit GO on the laser cutter.

Step 6: Finishing Up

Feel free to finish up your project in the MakerSpace. You can sand, finish, wash, paint, etc. right here!

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