Introduction: Highlighting Acrylic

Picture of Highlighting Acrylic

Lasers can "draw" nice, clear lines in many materials. In pale-coloured or clear acrylic, though, the cuts only really stand out in bright sunshine.

I've seen people use crayons, but I was concerned that if you hang an object in a warm area (such as in the sunshine), the wax might melt and drip out. I needed something else.

This is how I made those cut lines stand out, even on a dull and rainy day...

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

As well as your lasered acrylic, you will need a dark-coloured acrylic paint, a brush and disposable cloths or paper towels.

If you want to try reproducing the exact same model, but can’t do your own laser engraving, I’ve attached a file to this step so you can get your own Suncatcher parts cut, and have a go yourself for about $22 plus postage (assembly instructions here).

Step 2: Daub

Picture of Daub

It's very simple - using the brush, daub paint over the area you want to highlight.

You don't need to be very accurate, but you do need to work the paint into all the corners.

Step 3: Wipe and Repeat

Picture of Wipe and Repeat

Once the surface is covered, leave it or a couple of minutes, then wipe the surface clean, which will leave paint in the cut lines.

If you wipe to firmly, or didn't get the paint into all the lines, you simply dab some more paint on, and then wipe it off again.

Step 4: Done

Picture of Done

The effectiveness of the technique isn't really obvious until you compare highlighted pieces to non-highlighted.

You can do this on a pale surface, or when the pieces hang side-by-side.

If you try this, let me know how it goes - post some pictures in the comments.

Comments

MakerBox (author)2016-05-23

great instructable (as always), thanks for sharing, i aim to try this very soon to outline the controls on my DIY bench psu.

jeanotP1314 (author)2016-05-19

Great idea! I will try it next week :)

Thanks!

Kiteman (author)jeanotP13142016-05-19

Cool - post pictures when you do!

gizmologist made it! (author)2016-04-28

You can also laser the acrylic with the masking on and daub your paint before peeling the masking off. I've used this successfully with spray paint on large pieces.

Maldrax (author)2016-04-10

Nice, but I tried this before and I made some scratches on the acrylic surface although the care in the cleaning stage...

Kiteman (author)Maldrax2016-04-10

The paint isn't going to scratch anything - just make sure you wipe it off with something clean and reasonably soft - I used kitchen towel.

azizkres (author)2016-04-08

This is awesome! I made some custom clear acrylic business cards a few years ago (and still using them today). I ran into that issue. It is very important for a card to be legible. I went with white though and used flour... it worked pretty well and doesn't come out since the raster lines are very thin...

Kiteman (author)azizkres2016-04-08

Flour? That's novel!

XaqFixx (author)2016-04-06

Shiny!
Are you willing to share your cut files?

Kiteman (author)XaqFixx2016-04-06

I already did:

https://www.instructables.com/id/Serenity-Suncatche...

I have another Firefly instructable here as well:

https://www.instructables.com/id/Fireflys-Mule-Tran...

Enjoy (and possibly vote?)

NTT (author)Kiteman2016-04-07

I wish they'd bring Firefly back :o (

Kiteman (author)NTT2016-04-07

I hear you!

XaqFixx (author)Kiteman2016-04-06

Cool. I voted

Kiteman (author)XaqFixx2016-04-06

Thank you!

BrittLiv (author)2016-04-06

I really like the final design!

Kiteman (author)BrittLiv2016-04-06

Thank you!

About This Instructable

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Bio: The answer is "lasers", now, what was the question? If you need help, feel free to contact me. Project previews on Tumblr & Twitter: @KitemanX
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