Introduction: How to Deboss Paper in a Machine Shop

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What you will need for this instructable:

Debossing plate



Soft support for paper (rubber, cork, etc)

Step 1: Create the Design You Want to Deboss

The first step is to model your design. For my plate, I decided to use catenary curves to create a simple network with thickened nodes where each string meets.

Step 2: Create the Toolpaths to Machine the Part

For my project I had access to a Haas VF2ss mill, which would allow me to machine the debossing plate out of aluminum. Therefore, I created several toolpaths in Inventor 2015 HSM that would incrementally remove material at smaller and smaller intervals. The bits I used were a 2" face and .5", .25" and .125" end mills.

Step 3: Machine the Part

Load your stock material and machine it.

Step 4: Clean the Deboss Plate

Once machined the part needs to be cleaned to remove any debris and coolant in order to be able to use with paper. I used de-greasing, heavy duty hand soap which worked perfectly in a single washing.

Step 5: Press Your Debossing

Finally, set up your machine and press your paper. I used a Dake hand pump press, which allowed me to manually apply the pressure I needed to deboss. I found .5 ton pressure to be plenty and going over tended to sheer the paper leaving undesirable marks, rips, etc. I also placed a rubber sheet under the paper to allow the deboss to occur. I sourced 100# Pure White cover stock from French Paper Co.

Step 6: Final Thoughts

When using the Dake with different patterns, I quickly realized that simply placing the press cylinder in the middle and pressing didn't always produce the desired effects. Depending on the design, various pressing locations and order of pressings need to occur in order to get a consistently even deboss on the paper. It was actually quite fun figuring this process out for each design that was produced.