First, I am going to assume you have already have experience with using the Epilog laser etcher/cutter. In addition, I also assume you have some familiarity with Corel Draw X5 or are good with software in general. I made this at the TechShop
in San Francisco. What this means to you is I'm not going over simple stuff like how to focus the beam, set home origin so I am assuming you already know these operations.
There are some items you might want to etch which are too small to place by themselves in the Epilog laser. The reason the small items can’t be placed in the machine without a jig is that the machine shakes slightly when it’s doing vector and a lot when it’s doing raster work. Another problem is that it you will need to align the piece perfectly perpendicular to the laser rail so that the art work is aligned properly.
The easiest way to print on small pieces is using a jig. Wikipedia ‘s definition of a jig is: “… a jig is a type of tool used to control the location and/or motion of another tool. A jig's primary purpose is to provide repeatability, accuracy, and interchangeability in the manufacturing of products. “
So here is a quick way to make a jig. For this example I am going to make it for a luggage tag made of anodized aluminum.