Instructables

How to make laser-cut jewelry for Valentine's Day

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Picture of How to make laser-cut jewelry for Valentine's Day
White earrings pair.jpg
White on model.jpg
White pendant.jpg
This Instructable shows you how to make some personalized laser cut jewelery using Ponoko - maybe for your Valentine ;) . If you've never worked with a laser-cutter or have only used a vector art package once or twice before, then this guide is for you.

After a previous Instructable on making a laser-cut lamp, I realised it was important to create clearer step-by-step guides. As long as you've got a computer that can run a vector software package you'll be able to achieve some very cool results.

If you prefer to skip the Instructable and just get making, feel free to download the .eps files I've already created.

Let me know how you get on!
 
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Step 1: Stuff you'll need

Picture of Stuff you'll need
You'll only need a few things for this Instructable:

A steady hand
Inkscape
Ponoko Inkscape templates

Chain or Leather for the necklace
Earring hooks
Jump Rings
Pliers
Ink and Paint Brush
A rag

Step 2: Sketch some ideas

Picture of Sketch some ideas
The first thing I did was sit down with a pencil and some paper and sketch a few ideas that were floating around my head. I just tried a few different forms for a pendant necklace and I am thinking of engraving a pattern onto them.

At this stage I have a vague idea of the materials that I want to use. I'm thinking of white or clear acrylic and rubbing ink into the engraving details so that they stand out a bit more.

Step 3: Finding images for engraving effects

Picture of Finding images for engraving effects
butterfly.jpg
butterfly2.jpg
For the engraving on my pendant I was thinking of using a butterfly shape and tiling it over the entire shape. I Google Image searched butterfly and some great images showed up for engraving.

Good images to look out for have simple shapes and outlines. They also have nice clean backgrounds. This will help make things easier :)

Save the image or images in a folder on your computer. You'll be using these later.
longyi.kim15 days ago
You should definitely be careful about using images off the internet and make sure any image used is under a permissive license (creative commons would be lovely). Otherwise, you run the risk of creative an unauthorized derivative work and setting yourself up for a copyright infringement suit (not fun). There may be some fair use arguments but that's a very narrow defense, especially on commercial products (even if relying upon a small amount of a copyrighted work).
I had no idea this was even possible. It looks pricey, but I'm glad I know about this! Thanks!
dimovi4 years ago
That would look great laser cut out of cherry from CutYourWay.com
I just used these guys. Excellent work and incredibly quick turn around
douks3 years ago
were can i find a laser cutter because it does't Exict were i live

And those who have it braught it from out the Country and it Costs more than 2000 Euro
thepelton3 years ago
There are disks full of copyright free images that you can use any way you want. I found them at the local bookstore.
hennahonu4 years ago
Which engraving style did you end up inking? Was it the raster or vector? What depth?
jhorvath5 years ago
Ponoko is awesome and if we had the capital we'd sign on with them. In the meantime, check in your area for shops like ours that offer laser cutting/marking services. Also lots of awards and trophy shops have lasers and might be willing to cut your stuff.
volquete5 years ago
ponoko is a great site, but if you're buying, it's expensive because of shipping from new-zealand to America. but, it's still great for selling!
KoLAddict6 years ago
I'm having a hard time getting the ink to go into the engravings, instead, it prefers to go in the spaces in between shapes. also, the acrylic on the front isn't smooth, so I guess that's why.
danemery (author)  KoLAddict6 years ago
What type of ink are you using? Did you make the same design as was in the Instructable or was it your own design? Perhaps it might work if you let it dry a little before rubbing it off.
I'm using waterproof ink, on a different design, but the front wasn't flat acrylic, it was kind of scored.
KoLAddict6 years ago
how do you make the guides on the top and left sides measure in millimetres? they only measure in pixels for me.
danemery (author)  KoLAddict6 years ago
When you create a guide you double click on it to bring up the editing window. There is a little drop down box on the right which will allow you to change the guide units to mm.
Gonazar6 years ago
Great instructable! What kind of ink are you using?
ERNesbitt6 years ago
What a wonderful service! If you don't mind my asking, approximately how much was the cost for the laser cutting?
2nd picture on Step 15 shows the cost: $3.13 to cut $2.21 for materials Now, that's just what I see, so maybe there were other costs (like shipping) to figure in. Hope that helps! :0)
danemery (author)  PerfectlySquare6 years ago
Yep PerfectlySquare is right. Thanks for that. Shipping is additional and differs depending on where you live. It may be good to note that the eps file contains 3 pendants and 3 sets of earrings so that works out less than $1 each.
Be warned though.... while this service is MAKE-tacular, to my knowledge they don't have a facility in North America yet. That unfortunately means that larger stuff you can make can be cost prohibitive to the average weekend tinkerer in regards to shipping expense, since they're based out of New Zealand. For example, the lamp instructable linked in Step one apparently cost over 60 dollars to ship. They do have plans to get a North American location though, and you can see Dan's comments on the lamp Instructable for more details. (Is it here yet? Is it here yet? Is it here yet?) I have to admit though, given how reasonable the price of materials and cutting are; once these guys get over the shipping hump, they will no doubt EXPLODE with business. (Makes me wish I had some venture capital lying around. Sadly, I don't even have Mountain Dew money.) On the bright side...if you were looking for an excuse to experience the natural beauty of New Zealand, this is it!
danemery (author)  PerfectlySquare6 years ago
We are so close its painful. I can't give you an exact date but I can tell you we have ordered a machine. We have also had some developments on the cheaper shipping front which we cant wait to roll out. Make sure you have signed up to our newsletter so you get the info on this as soon as we release it.
*signs up* And thanks for the update. I am a BIG believer in this service and what it can do for artists and makers, so it's great to hear you guys are close. Best of luck, and I'm sure I'm just one of many chomping at the bit!
WOW! AWESOME INSTRUCTABLE! Very very detailed, GREAT pictures, GREAT videos, this Instructable is just AWESOME! Nice job, I hope to see more great Instructables such as this, this one is really good. Nice job again, +1 rating. (added to favorites)
Kiteman6 years ago
>doh<

I still have a Ponoko project on my to-do list!

Dan, i will eventually get back to you!
danemery (author)  Kiteman6 years ago
Sound great!
LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
Awesome! I can't wait to make my laser cutter now!