Step 4: Draw the gravestones as vector images

Use your favourite vector image design software (I used Adobe Illustrator) to draw out your gravestones. As you do, think about how they will be etched by the laser cutter.

The laser cutter works by burning away a thin layer of material in a single plane on the surface of a sheet of acrylic. By burning away successive layers, you can gradually carve away a 3D object. This is quite a limited approach to 3D fabrication, as it cannot produce complex objects with overhanging features. What's more, it's very slow; each pass of the laser may take several minutes but only remove a tiny fraction of an inch of material depth.

Shade your 2D vector images according to the different depths at which you want to etch them. In my images, I used darker shades of grey to indicate where I wanted more material to be etched away (except for the cilantro stone, where I deviated from this scheme for the sake of contrast).
<p>You're getting a lot of attention on gardening related Facebook pages and blogs. Nicely done. I hope you, or someone, markets something like this.</p>
<p>these are amazing! I just saw the photo floating around on Facebook and am so glad I google searched and was able to figure out how you made them. Thank you for sharing. </p>
OMG! You have to sell these! I would absolutely LOVE these when I get my own house! Although you should make them customizable so you can use with any plant. I love the cilantro headstone the most. The detail is gorgeous and the description is brilliant. Although I hate cilantro because it tastes like soap to me so I'd love to use that template (design and descrip) with other herbs! Brilliant idea! Truly brilliant! :D
I love this!
just too cute I love it
I write for the geek crafts blog, and I just included your cool herb headstones! <br><br>http://geekcrafts.com/herb-graveyard/?preview=true
Methinks you'd do well selling these on Etsy. I'd be first in line!
I love it... and since we have a 35W Epilog (grin) I'll end up making these.<br> <br> Here is a thought... after making your complete set, use casting silicone to make a mold... then crank out a bunch using <strong>ALUMILITE</strong>. You can pre-paint the mold, pour in the alumilite... and in 90 seconds have a complete set.<br> <br> Might be a way for you to make some money. (<em>I may actually do this and sell them here in Texas at the craft fairs... but I'll make my own designs so as not to infringe on yours</em>.)<br> <br> Very creative and excellent idea!!!<br> <br> <strong>Alumilite</strong>: <a href="http://www.alumilite.com/">http://www.alumilite.com/</a><br> <br> Here is the process you would use... a simple one piece mold. <a href="http://www.alumilite.com/HowTos/OnePieceMold.cfm">http://www.alumilite.com/HowTos/OnePieceMold.cfm</a><br> <br> Thanks,<br> Jerry
That's a great idea. If I put these into mass production, then I imagine I'll go down the molding/casting route rather than etching each one individually. Thanks for the tip!
i really love this. the basil is just AWESOME! what does the parsley say? I'm guessing it's Latin. <br><br>I'm definitely going to try to make these, sans laser cutter. :)<br><br>
The Latin inscription on the parsley reads, &quot;Parsley is a green decoration for dinners.&quot;<br><br>Let me know how yours turn out!
This is great, but will not attempt to even make.
Thanks, ubugmj!
Super results1 I wish I had a laser cutter! I guess this project is not for me... I'm a perfectionist and I don't want to put too much time into achieving the same level of quality.
That's why I recommend checking out sites like ponoko that let you upload files to be laser cut. But yes, I know what you mean. I'm sure there'll be laser cutters appearing as prizes on here every so often, though ;-)
open office draw is a free software that works fine with (my) zing laser cutter.<br>With a little explanations this allows to let friends and relatives to design by their own.
Cool, I use Open Office but I haven't explored their Draw program much. I'll have to look into it.
I like the concept, but the chosen target (cilantro) is one of the herbs that actually deserves to die, rot and be buried forever. If somebody planted this stuff on my grave, I'd wake up again and make sure the area stayed clear of this weed.
You're clearly mistaken. Cilantro is unarguably delicious.
I'm glad you can tolerate the &quot;taste&quot;. A lot of Thai food is unfortunately completely wasted by this stuff.<br><br>Me it reminds of stinking bugs.
I will never make you eat any, I shall keep it for myself - and for those who also would like some. You, however may have all the raw tomatoes and cooked spinach you can handle. I only like the tomatoes cooked, and the spinach raw - and they may both have cilantro in my portion.
in this 100 degree heat we've had for 4 weeks now, i could use these to mark were my plants ~used~ to grow! great idea!
One word comes to mind... Brilliant!!
Thanks, I'm quite pleased with how the designs turned out.<br><br>It just occurred to me that these gravestones could also be used to mark the passing of favorite pets, such as a hamster or <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil_Brush">even a fox</a>.
Brilliant instructable and idea, and might I say? Gorgeous designs. I'm especially fond of Basil!
Thanks, I'm quite pleased with how the designs turned out.<br> <br> It just occurred to me that these gravestones could also be used to mark the passing of favorite pets, such as a hamster or <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil_Brush">even a fox</a>.
How Brilliant!!! I totally love this. I wish I had access to a laser etcher thingy. I would so buy these should you ever decide to sell them online!!!<br>
There's a chance I'll try selling these at some point, but I really recommend checking out some of the laser-etching and 3D printing services available online (e.g. ponoko.com), as these would allow you to design and produce your own.<br><br>Glad you enjoyed them!
This is a very cool idea. Fully doing this when I next go home.
Great! We'll fill the world's herb gardens with tiny graves.
Aw, thanks for the credit. You did an amazing job out of a very throw-away idea.<br><br>Excellent execution!
Glad you liked them! Feel free to throw away more ideas in my direction...<br>:-)
I love it! Cute and creepy, like Casper the friendly ghost :)
Ha, I hadn't thought of it like that! Thanks!
Charming project!
Thanks guys!
creepy, and awesome!
You'd be surprised how often I hear that.
I work on a Halloween haunt that gets a lot of little kids and the one thing that we always need is humorous tombstones. This is perfect!!!

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Bio: Artist in Residence at Pier 9, currently exploring a vast array of new tools with which to injure myself.
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