This method is great for making a batch of signs in bulk, and means that the same sign can easily be reproduced at a later date. It involved applying paint to engraved areas, and then sanding back the unengraved areas to reveal the sharp edges of the engraving. This example shows the production of three sandwich boards for the Tchai Ovna House of Tea in Glasgow.

Prepare your vector artwork for laser engraving - you can use this as an opportunity to mock up the final look of the sign by playing with fill colours and superimposing onto a textured background, as I did here. I was using 18mm spruce ply which was to hand.

If you would like to colour the background of the image, now is the time to do that. In this example we were going for a bare timber background.

In areas of the artwork where two different colours border each other (eg. in the 'V' of 'Tchai Ovna' in the picture), remember to design in a thin raised 'wall' of unengraved area, to mark the boundary for painting later.

Step 1: Laser Engraving

Engrave all areas that are to be filled with colour, to 2mm depth. We used masking tape to engrave through so that most of the fume marks that occur with raster engraving, took to the tape rather than to the timber. Once engraved, we removed all masking tape. You may want to leave the masking layer in place, particularly if you are using sprayed paints, as described in this instructable.
Having recently purchased the Trotec Speedy 400 for our school, this is a very useful Instructable for us. Thank you.
excellent well done. :)

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Bio: I am a freelance design engineer and drummer. My business site is at http://www.zero-waste.co.uk and is often concerned with appropriate technologies ... More »
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