How to customize skateboard grip tape (laser cutter)

Dude! Laser cutters rule. Just ask anyone that's ever been to a Tech Shop.  You can easily etch and/or cut many materials with the laser cutter. I am only going to cut in a small area... etching wouldn't really be effective for several reasons on this project, especially since we are going to cut from the backside of the material. I made this at Tech Shop (Pittsburgh).

Material list:
Laser cutter (or Tech Shop membership)
Stock sheets of skate board grip tape
Vector based graphics program (I prefer Adobe Illustrator, but I will use Corel Draw for this project)
Job Control software (or whatever software that is used by the laser cutter you have access to)
Manual laser focusing device

Step 1: How to Customize Skateboard Grip Tape (laser Cutter)

Step One:
Create the art/design of your choice in the vector based graphic software. To cut using Corel Draw you want to convert your outlines to "hairline" thickness. Tech Shop’s trotec laser is set up to recognize the color red as a cut command, so we will also make sure to convert our outlines to red at this time. For the skateboard grip tape we will be cutting from behind, so you are going to want to reverse or put your design in “mirror” mode.
For this project I used a stencil style font and typed "Plankeye" since I was making these for my buddy's shop, Plankeye Board Shop. As a design tip, you want to make sure what your cutting is going to look right.  Example: the inside section of an “O” is going to fall out if you don’t design it in a way that allow the inside section to connect to the remaining material.
They have them at tech shops? Well I live in Canada and I don't see any tech shops that have a laser cutter -.-
<p>I just bought a 2500mw hobbyist laser cutter for $250 from GearBest.com. It should do jobs like this (bed size is about 12&quot; x 15&quot;). Requires a Windows PC/laptop. A membership at a tech shop (find them at MakerDirectory.com, then click Makerspaces link for about 100 locations) is typically around $100/month, but I've seen them for $50/month ( i3 near Detroit, for example). You'll get access to any equipment you qualify (study) for, some with 24-hour access, and lots of knowledgeable people to get advice from. YMMV.</p>
<p>can this be done even when the tape is applied to the board?</p>
Thanks, the Matthatter. That is kind of the plan, I am a screen printer (mostly t-shirts www.AUniqueImpression.com) and I so some product development. I'd like to do more stuff like this for people. I figure I would do the custom grip tapes for a buck a peice plus the cost of the tape and shipping. <br>I also have an apparel line that for me started screen printing www.RockandRide.com and just launched a skate oriented line called Boulavard of Allies, but that is all local right now except the Facebook page. If anyone wanted custom grip tape just PM me.
You still want to print some custom grip tape?
<p>aaron,</p><p> Do you me laser cut the grip tape... I would be happy to work with you on a project.</p>
that is pretty sweet. you could probably start a side business of cutting out shapes out of grip tape
Not everybody had an 8 thousand dollar laser cutter..
I don't have one either, hence &quot;I made it at Tech Shop&quot;. Not everyone an internet connection in their home... that didn't stop me from posting this on Instrucable.
Sick! I've been wanting to do this for a while but never got around to it. Thanks for sharing!

About This Instructable




Bio: I have several sites... Maker forum www.WidgetEmpire.com , an online community for people like us. www.AUniqueImpression.com - screen printing (t-shirts, apparel, stickers, posters ... More »
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