Introduction: Laser Cut Signature Placard

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This tutorial will teach you how to prep a file in illustrator to laser cut your signature on a placard for decoration, a keychain, or even a gift!
You will need:
1. Access to laser cutter that can engrave and cut the material of your choice!
2. The material you want to engrave on (Check if it is laser safe for your laser set up!)
3. Editing software to prepare your file (illustrator is best!)

Step 1: Write Your Signature

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Sign your name onto a sheet of white paper with a dark pen.
The more contrast the pen or marker makes the better. Practice a few times to get the signature you want!

Step 2: Import Your Image Into Illustrator

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Just drop your picture of your signature into illustrator.
Try to size it to something you can work with editing-wise!

Step 3: Image Trace to Get Rid of Background

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Using image trace feature, remove the background selecting only the outline. The tool will use contrast to distinguish your signature so brighten the image if need be.

Step 4: Clean Image

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"Ungroup" the picture to get the image into parts so you can edit and clean up.
Using the "direct selection" tool get rid of artifacts from image trace.
TIP: Using "Ctr-A" will select all parts of image allowing you to see if there are tiny lines remaining. When you clean up everything the selection box will only be around your signature!

Step 5: Create a Bounding Box and Cutting Box

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The bounding box is mainly for aesthetics so the laser can raster a box around the signature. This is optional and only for aesthetics. However, you must have a cutting box around to get it to the size you want. The laser program recognizes thin .001in thick lines to vector cut (check your printer software to cut the box).

Step 6: Laser Cut

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Use proper procedure to laser cut the engraving, make sure you follow the specification of you laser and laser-safe materials. I chose to do one out of wood and one out of acrylic to compare the looks!

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