So what did I learn?
Expand the bottom layer
In the original card, I cut up the image and put half on top and half on the bottom. I didn't take into account of how the thickness of the acrylic would make it impossible to see the images line up. It still looked cool so I mailed it, but I wanted a more complete look to it.
Use a visual cue
With 24 square inches of space to use, I was only using a small fraction of them. With an expanded bottom layer it would help to have a visual cue to let the user know where to hold the card to see the images line up. I started with circles, but spirals look cooler.
Use complementary images
With the visual cues of the spiral, I needed to make sure that I had two complementary images. This means that two shapes had to come together to form a solid mass.
So with all that in mind and the results right below this, this Instructable is meant to show how the layers were created in Illustrator. Several other imaging programs can be used as well. I am just using what I'm used to.
Materials and Tools
Scrap 3/8" acrylic fromTap Plastics.
Laser cutting and etching withSquid Labs'Epilog Mini 24.
Vector illustration withAdobe Illustrator CS.
Step 1: Make a Spiral
I punched in:
Radius = 4 in.
Decay = 90%
Segments = 100
Step 2: Copy It
Step 3: Give It a Half Rotation
Step 4: Line Up the Spirals and Connect
Now take the pen tool to connect the two spirals.
Step 5: Connect Outside
Step 6: Copy the Shape
Step 7: Flip It
Step 8: Bring Them Together
Step 9: Make the Postcard Shape
Step 10: Mark the Center With Guides
Huzzah! There's the center, ready and waiting.
Step 11: Center Spirals
Step 12: Create Addresses on New Layer
Pretty simple, really.
Step 13: Arrange the Layers
Step 14: Flip and Resize Bottom Layer
Since the bottom layer is being printed on the backside of the card it needs to be flipped across the vertical.
As for the size adjustment, I found that a 2% enlargement makes so that the shapes can line up at a comfortable distance.
Step 15: Check Files and Get Ready to Burn
If you hide the top or the bottom you can see each layer and how it will be etched onto the acrylic. Keep in mind that only the black areas get etched.
Step 16: Laser Cut and Mail It!
Now after one friend gets it and loves it and then tells your other friends you will likely have to make more. I started off with two, but I've made seven so far.