Personalized candy can make for a fun gift, party favor, or just conversation piece. While this instructable shows how to engrave custom text and images on M&Ms, the same basic technique can be used on a variety of candies. Feel free to experiment with different types of candy to see how well they take laser engraving.
I made this at TechShop www.techshop.ws
Step 1: Materials and Equipment
Vector drawing software (I used CorelDRAW)
Laser cutter (my TechShop has a Trotec Speedy 300)
3.5" x 3.5" x 1/8" acrylic sheet
Bag of M&Ms
This instructable assumes some basic familiarity with CorelDRAW and a laser cutter.
Step 2: M&M Dimensions
In order to laser engrave an M&M, we need a way to hold it reasonably flat on the bed of the laser cutter. The cross-section of an M&M has an approximate width of 0.47" and a height of 0.24". We will laser cut a series of holes in a piece of acrylic to hold the M&Ms. We want the holes to be as large as possible (to keep the M&Ms stable) but not so large that they risk falling through. A hole diameter of 0.4" seems to work pretty well. Here you can see the cross-section of the M&M compared to the hole diameter.
Step 3: Design the Acrylic Tray
Start by drawing a 0.4" diameter circle. Use the Step and Repeat function to create four more circles spaced 0.6" apart center to center on the horizontal axis. Then use the Step and Repeat function to create four more rows of circles also spaced 0.6" apart center to center on the vertical axis. Finally, draw a 3.5" x 3.5" square enclosing the matrix of circles. This will allow us to engrave 25 M&Ms at a time.
When drawing the circles and square, make sure you set the line color to red and the line width to hairline so that the laser cutter will know you mean to cut the lines rather than engrave them.