I've started to do some textile projects and wanted some unique buttons that I could add to my finished creations.
In this Instructable, I'll show you how you can use a laser to create custom, unique buttons made out of wood. The same process could be used on acrylic if you'd like to use that as well. But I think the wood gives it a unique look.
I made this at TechShop.
Step 1: Prepare Your Laser
I'm using a scrap piece of 1/4" plywood for my buttons. It measures 7" wide by 2" tall.
I'm using an Epilog 60 watt laser at TechShop Detroit. Before you can start, you must focus your laser. An easy way to do this is to use a piece of paper and raise the bed of the laser until you can't move the paper any more between the focus attachment and your work piece.
Step 2: Create Your Document
I used CorelDraw to design my buttons. Begin by creating a document with the same size as your work piece.
Here's where you get to be creative. Draw the shapes you'd like for your buttons. It's important to use a Hairline stroke. That's what the print drive will interpret as vector cuts and will cut the material all the way through. I found that 0.0625" for the thread holes is about the right size.
Add some text or images if you'd like to engrave the buttons.
I've attached my CorelDraw document to this step so you can download it and see how I did it.
Step 3: Send to the Laser
In order for the laser to correctly cut/engrave your buttons, you must set some configuration options.
- File > Print
- Preferences. This will open the Epilog dialog.
- Resolution: 400
- Piece size: The same as what your document is
- Job type: Combined
- Raster setting:
- Speed: 80%
- Power: 90%
- Vector setting: (for 1/4" plywood)
- Speed: 10%
- Power: 90%
- Frequency: 500
- Click "OK"
- Click "Apply", then "Print"
- Hit "Go" on the laser
Step 4: Final Product
Once you start printing, give it a minute and your job will finish.
You now have cool buttons that will add some unique flair to your wardrobe!