Picture of Laser Cut Printing Plates

If you've got access to a laser cutter you can easily cut out plates to use for printing with ink, like in the olden days!

This technique works best for simple/bold designs, and not as well for intricate/complex designs.

Of course you could etch your printing plate with the laser, but that takes a lot of time, and this cutting technique is fast. That's the main benefit of this technique.

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Step 1: Laser cut your pieces

Picture of Laser cut your pieces

Once you've got a digital file and are ready to cut it, use a laser cutter to cut out the pieces. I used 3mm Baltic Birch plywood, which cuts really well, and is super-cheap at less that $2 for a 12"x12" piece. Make sure you save the parts you cut and the piece that's left after you cut, as we'll be using that to line up the pieces.

(You don't have to reverse your design, but I always due as a matter of habit, since I've been doing printing of various types for so long.)

Step 2: Assemble the pieces

Picture of Assemble the pieces

Once you have the pieces, and a nice flat piece to glue them down to, use the cut-out-from piece from the previous step as a spacing guide when gluing down the pieces. If you don't go too crazy with the glue, you can leave the guide in place while the glue dries.

Oh, I also sanded the pieces quite a bit using some fine sandpaper. You may not need to do this, since we'll be sealing the wood next.

Step 3: Seal the piece

Picture of Seal the piece

The first time I tried this technique my prints turned out terrible! A local print maker gave me a tip... seal the wood! I ended up sealing this plate with some polyurethane coating. It's nice and smooth and shiny, so it shouldn't absorb any ink when printing.

rasterweb (author) 1 year ago

Milwaukee, aka "MKE" - my hometown! :)

Im Proud to see more Milwaukee natives posting!!!! keep up the great work bro!!!

Eye Poker1 year ago