Looking to impress your sweetie, or maybe just have some fun with laser cutting and acrylic welding? This instructable covers the basics of how to create some valentine hearts from laser cut acrylic and to weld/glue them together.
To do this you will need the following:
- Red and clear acrylic. I used 1/8" thick.
- Acrylic weld or cement. I used Tap Plastic's Acrylic Cement. It melts and welds the acrylic pieces together.
- a fine tipped syringe or needle tipped bottle to apply the cement/weld.
- laser cutter.
I've uploaded a pdf from Adobe Illustrator of the shapes I cut. Feel free to modify it or use it as is.
Step 1: Heart #1 and How to Weld Acrylic
The first heart consist of 2 hearts that have a slot cut in them. Slide to 2 pieces together and then weld them in place.
Unlike gluing, welding actually merges the pieces together. With metal this is done with heat. With acrylic it is a chemical process. The cement melts the edges of the two pieces and then then join together. Use the cement in a well ventilated area and I usually wear plastic gloves when using it.
Apply the cement with either a syringe or needle tipped bottle. The cement is very fluid and even with a very fine tipped needle it will pour out of its bottle with out any squeezing. For best results you want to get it just in the seams of the 2 pieces of acrylic and not on the faces of the pieces. It will dull or smear the face of the acrylic if it leaks or runs on to it. I like the syringe because I can control the flow better. The needle tipped bottle is great for corners of straight edges but watch out the cement will pour out as soon as the bottle is tipped. I would suggest practicing on some scrap pieces first to get a feel for how the cement flows.
The cement works fast and the pieces will be welding together in just a few minutes. Very little heat is produced.
Step 2: 2 Color Message Heart.
Why give those little heart shaped candies when you can make your own custom message heart.
The great thing about laser cutting is that the cut line is incredibly thin. You can easily make puzzles or inlays with it. I made the original heart design with the text and laser cut it out of clear acrylic. Then I took the same heart and copied and offset the edge to make a red border. The clear one nested inside the red outline with only a tiny amount of wiggle room (and I have the red interior to do something with too).
Once I placed the clear heart inside the red, I used cement to weld them together. At first I had them laying flat on the table but when I added the cement. It went through the seam and leaked onto table. What worked better was to pick the two pieces up and hold them in place vertically. Then use the syringe to add a little of the cement to the seam at the bottom. Once that had set, I went around the rest of the edges. Its not the strongest bond so I wouldn't put to much pressure on it or twist it. But it looks great.
Step 3: Heart #3. 3D Heart Stand.
For the final design I took 2 hearts with a slot cut in them and then extended the bottom so it made a cross (or plus symbol) when they were slotted together. I then cut that cross out of the center of a clear plastic circle. First I welded the two slots together. Then I inserted them into the circle and welded the circle to the cross at the bottom of the hearts.
Have fun cutting and welding acrylic together.