Step 6: Bring out the laser

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Fire up the laser cutter, turn on the extraction fans and have the fire extinguisher at the ready. If you don't know how to use the laser cutter safely, find someone who does and bother them until they agree to help.

Place your acrylic in the laser cutter, align it to where the images will etch and start etching!

Between passes of the laser, check to see how deeply the material has been etched. I found that the white acrylic I used was very resistant to deep etching, so I actually had to etch each individual layer six times. This took a looooong time.

Be careful not to move the acrylic sheet in between passes of the laser, or the successive passes will not be aligned.

Once you're happy that everything has been etched away correctly, do a final pass using the vector outline image you made earlier. This should be done on the appropriate laser mode to burn right through the material.

Remove your neatly cut little gravestones and turn off the laser cutter. Don't forget to empty out the debris bed and give the lenses and mirrors a clean with the appropriate wipes and cleaner.