Laser Cut Acrylic THINK Desk Sign




Introduction: Laser Cut Acrylic THINK Desk Sign

I've always liked Thomas J. Watson's quote "All the problems of the world could be settled easily if men were only willing to think" so I thought I'd make a laser cut acrylic desk sign with the word "THINK". 

To create the sign, I used CorelDraw to draw the outlines of the letters, surrounded them in a rectangular box and surrounded that box in a rectangular box with rounded corners.  I used a laser cutter to cut out the pattern on black acrylic and a second time in white acrylic.  I then swapped the various parts to create a sign with black letters against a white background in a black frame and a sign with white letters, against a black background, in a white frame.

You can use this technique to make create really nice desk signs with lots of interesting designs.

I made this at TechShop.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

You will need the following materials to make the THINK desk sign.  With these materials you will be able to make a THINK sign with black letters on a white background and a second sign with white letters on a black background.
  • Black acrylic, 1/8" thick, 11" x 7"
  • White acrylic, 1/8" thick, 11" x 7"
  • Any color acrylic, 1/4" thick, 10" x 8"
  • Acrylic cement (pictured above) - I used #16 Weldon Cement.
  • Fine tip for the cement tube
The acrylic, cement, and fine tip are available from TAP Plastics or other plastic suppliers.

  • Laser cutter (I used a 45 watt Epilog Helix laser cutter).  I assume in this instructable you know how to use a laser cutter.

Step 2: Cut the Acrylic

Using the laser cutter, cut out one set of parts in 1/8" black acrylic and another in 1/8" white acrylic using the "THINK Sign" Corel Draw file.  The laser cutter I used was a 45 watt Epilog Helix laser.  I used the following settings for cutting - you may need to use different setting depending on the laser cutter you are using.
  • 1/8" acrylic:
    • Vector: Speed 10, Power 90, Frequency 2500
Use the laser cutter to to cut out the jig out of 1/4" acrylic using the "THINK Sign Jig" Corel draw file.  I used the following settings for cutting:
  • 1/4" acrylic:
    • Vector: Speed 6, Power 90, Frequency 5000
When you are done you will have the parts in the photos above.  Here is a video of the laser cutter cutting out one of the THINK desk signs.

Step 3: Remove the Protective Paper

Carefully remove the protective paper from the cut parts and lay them out as shown in the photos.

Step 4: Cement the Outer Frame

  1. Insert the black back into jig as shown in the first photo.  Using the jig will help you align the pieces.
  2. Using the fine tip on the tube of cement, lay down a small line of cement on around the edge of the back piece as shown in yellow in the second photo.
  3. Place the black outer frame on top of the back piece as shown in the third photo and gently press down for about a minute.  You should lower the frame onto the back piece - don't slide it in from the end.

Step 5: Attach the Letters Frame

  1. Apply the cement that will adhere the letters frame to the back piece as shown yellow in the first photo.
  2. Lower the letters frame onto the back piece as shown in the second photo and gently press down on it for about a minute.

Step 6: Cement the Letters

For each letter:
  • Carefully put small amounts of cement on the back piece in the cutout for the letter as shown in the first photo.  The cement chemically melts the acrylic, so be very careful not to get cement on the letters frame - if you do, you won't be able to remove it and if you try to rub it off, you'll ruin the surface.
  • Carefully place the letter into cutout and gently press down for about a minute.
Since the cement dries rapidly, do one letter at a time.

After cementing all the letters, remove the jig and you'll have a sign that looks like the second photo.

Repeat steps 4 - 6 for the white back, white outer frame, black letters frame, and white letters.

Wait 30 minutes to an hour before proceeding to the next step.

Step 7: Attach the Stands

Apply cement to one of the long edges on each of the stands and attach to back of the back piece as shown in the photo.  Hold the piece in position for about a minute.   Let the cement do it's work for at least 30 minutes before setting the desk sign up on the stands.

Step 8: Voila! You Now Have Two THINK Desk Signs!

Your completed THINK desk signs should look like ones in the photos above.

Step 9: Making Other Desk Signs

The technique for making the THINK sign can be used to create other signs like the three color TechShop sign I made.  This design was cut out of three pieces of acrylic - white, blue, and red.  It was slightly more difficult to assemble because of the small white parts that went into the inside of the "e", "p", and the gear.

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    9 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome project! Are you coming to Thursday's Ice Cream Social?!


    9 years ago on Step 8

    I THINK this is fantastic! Keep up the good wor & thanks for sharing.