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Laser Engraved Alphabet Blocks

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Picture of Laser Engraved Alphabet Blocks
The purpose of this project  was to create a personalized set of alphabet blocks for my 1 year old niece. I wanted the traditional capital, lower case, and number sides, but also superhero/cartoon characters for each letter as well as a puzzle she will be able to do when she's a little older. In order to store them perfectly in a cube I ended up with 27 blocks and doubled up the A.

My rough inspiration came from "Young Mad Scientist's First Alphabet Blocks" by Xylocopa  http://www.xylocopa.com/product/mad-science-alphabet-blocks. As a science teacher I still plan on making a more science based set one day, but my graphic design skills need work.
 
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Step 1: Designing the blocks

The trick to this project is to burn each side of all 27 blocks at the same time. As long as the blocks are carefully aligned when it comes time to use the laser this is a huge time saver.

In the computer program Paint, create a template of large boxes for the letters etc. to go into. Two of the sides will be light (unburned) images on a dark background  and two sides will be dark images on an unburned background with a dark border. Using copy and paste I created a 5 by 6 block pattern with equal spacing horizontally and vertically to allow for the edges of the blocks to eventually be rounded.

The actual size of the boxes is not important at this point. More important is getting maximum detail without getting pixilated.

With the templates created, copy and paste images to fit in each box, saving the files as separate versions. I used:
Side 1- Dark box with light capital letters (A-Z plus additional A)
Side 2- Light box with dark numbers (two sets of 0-9 plus basic operations)
Side 3- Dark box with light lower case letters
Side 4- Image relating to each letter. I used superheroes and cartoon characters. Maybe sports teams? Animals? Food?

Note: The hardest part of this project was finding or creating and then manipulating appropriate images. Ideally they need to be only black and white so that the burning process is an all or nothing operation instead of shading. Original artwork is preferred as it avoids any potential copyright issues.


rdeay3 months ago
nice job - Good Idea for my first Grand Daughter
Joey19774 months ago
What kind I laser did you use and where do you get it?
jwarkentin (author)  Joey19774 months ago
A friend has access to a Full Spectrum Hobby Laser.
HaGue4 months ago
GREAT!

www.lord-of-the-dice.de
wilgubeast4 months ago
That looks great. Love the puzzle idea, too.
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