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How To Make A Glowing Metal Sign (For Pi Day!)

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I wanted to make something special for my girlfriend's annual Pi Day party, so I decided to use some sheet metal I had on had to make a glowing π sign at TechShop. Here's how you can make something similar yourself!

Materials Needed: The sign in action:
 
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Step 1: Design the Vector File

Picture of Design the Vector File
Using Illustrator to draw a shape you want to cut is simple enough. However, if you're interested in saving metal (as I was since I had a limited amount of stainless) it may be possible to nest two letters into one square of sheet metal. In order to do that with π in the font I chose, I realized I'd have to widen the gap between the legs.

To do that:
  • Draw the letter at a size that you think will fit onto your sheet.
  • Turn the text into an outline with Text > Create Outlines.
  • Draw a line across the corners of each let, then use Object > Path > Divide Objects Below.
  • Now, select the whole thing, and copy / paste to create the second copy, then rotate and move that selection into place.
  • Finally, nudge each leg to make more room, making sure to work on both copies simultaneously in order to ensure that the two copies stay exactly the same size. Keep toying around until you have an image that fits nicely.
So beautiful.
Magnificent!
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