This year my girlfriend and I decided to make a few snowflake ornaments to give away to friends and family for the holidays. I recently learned to use the new Trotec Laser at TechShop. This project was perfect for testing out different settings on the laser since we ended up cutting about 25 ornaments.
To make this Instructable you will need:
1/16"-3/8" sheets of wood
Step 1: Sheets of Wood
For this project I used sheets of 3/8" Redwood and Poplar. Plywood is perfectly adequate but if you can I would recommend something nicer. That being said sheets of hardwood that you would want to use on a laser can get really expensive! One way to get around dropping a lot of cash on hardwood sheets is to make them yourself.
I used a band saw to cut sheets from a 2x6 of Redwood and Poplar I scavenged from the scrap bin at my girlfriends architecture school. Once I got the rough sheets out from the band saw I ran them through a planner to smooth them out. This can be a little time consuming but very cost effective.
Step 2: Draw Snowflakes
I used Adobe Illustrator to draw my snowflake but you can do this with any drawing software as long as the file is then converted to a type your laser will recognize. You can draw these a million different ways but I did them by drawing simple shapes and then arranging them symmetrically. To get the outlines I need for the laser I simply increased the line weights of my snowflake lines and then combined them into on single shape using 'Pathfinder'. Then I used 'Outline Stroke' under 'Path' in the 'Object' drop down menu.