Introduction: Free Lasercut Guitar Picks Using Polypropyline (Omaha Makers Group)

Another instructable here from our May 21st meetup for the Bare Paint initiative.  I have about 5 spare boxes of polypropyline cases that were held over from the Win 98 era for Zip disks.   Remember the iOmega drives?   Really this will also work with CD/DVD cases that are of similar translucent polypropyline.

Step 1: Step 1 Design

First, using MsPaint in Windows7; select the object most resembling a guitar pick.   I chose the one on the right, the heart symbol.    I then add a paragraph symbol over the heart, then erase the internal lines.  I decided I liked the smoother lines as well, so I am making 2 different shapes of plectrum, the second being more heart shaped.  Arrange the picks so that they can be cut on a 3.5" piece of plastic.

Trace Bitmap within an open source product called “Inkscape.”   Learned about this from Ben who was good enough to teach me its merits.  Save file as “Picks.svg."   Import Picks.svg into Corelware, then save as “Picks.cdr”    Resize to be about under 3.5” in width and then send to the Lasercutter from CorelLazer.

Step 2: Step 2, the Burninating!

Now for the fun part, I use Shurtape brand masking tape to keep the scorching to a minimum, then tape the case down to the engraving area of the Lasercutter.  This first pass, I turn down the power of the laser to half.   I soon discovered that there isn't a whole lot of flareup when using Polypropyline material, so I went back to full power.   Using the Lasercutter  program I send the cut to the device which begins cutting out my guitar picks, 6 at a time.

Step 3: Step 3, Shaping the Pick

Try a run of picks in a different color, then punch the picks out of the polypropyline.   Remove the Shurtape masking tape, and take to a belt sander.   Sand one side of the poly-pick on both edges, but do not sand the other side.   Remove excess with a good, sharp knife.

Step 4: Finally, a Free Guitar Pick!!!

Once you have removed the excess plastic roughed up by the sanding process, you have free guitar picks galore.  Give them to your friends, students or classmates to use.

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