Introduction: How to Make an Awesome Laser Cut Poster

Picture of How to Make an Awesome Laser Cut Poster

I'm on a team with two other engineering students, learning about design and entrepreneurship. Our task is to ideate, design, manufacture, and sell a product in the period of about a month. As you might guess, it's been an intense learning experience!

I really like the product we came up with, and haven't seen any quite like it before.
I wanted to give you all some inspiration to make your own sleek posters, following these steps!

Alternately, orders are still open until midnight on the 5th of December, so if you'd like to support us and our designs, you can buy them here.

Best of luck, and stay inspired!

Step 1: Materials

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It's all about the materials. You want a classy product; you make your design out of classy materials.
Get some nice matte black art board from an art store.
We used 16"x20" Canson black matte art board. It's really classy. 

You also need some design software, like Adobe Illustrator, or (it's free) Inkscape.

You also need to connect with a laser cutter. If you have your own, great! Do a few test cuts on scrap material to make sure you don't burn your final product.
You can also get yours manufactured. Sites like Ponoko will cut them for you one at a time.
We used Boston Lasers, which is a really nice place, run by a father and son. The catch, however, is that you have to buy a full hour of their time- which is pretty reasonable, if you're making a lot of things, but pretty expensive if you're just making one.

Step 2: Design

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I used Adobe Illustrator, but Inkscape works too.
When you're laser cutting, you typically pay by the time the laser is in use. This means you want a design with simple, straight lines.

If you're doing text, you'll probably want a stencil font.
We used Gunplay from dafont.com. When you use a free font site, remember that it's always good to donate to the font's creator!

Step 3: Prepare for Cutting

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This depends on the laser cutter you're using.
Typically, you will want to keep your through-cut design on one layer, and turn it into simple outlines for the laser to follow.

And then either send it to your manufacturer or do it yourself:
Cut it out!

Step 4: You're Done!

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Revel in the glory of your beautiful poster.

Comments

Antzy Carmasaic (author)2012-11-20

looks great.
how about putting it in front of a light box? that will be pretty cool...

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Bio: An engineer, seamstress, cook, coder, and overall maker. Spent a summer at Instructables; got a degree in E: Neural Engineering at Olin College; made a ... More »
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