Introduction: Laser Cut Game Tokens, Super Easy!
Ever need tokens for your games? With a laser cutter, you can make your own. Super easy! Below I quickly walk through the steps. I also provide my svg file if anyone wants to use it.
Thanks to my friend, Drew, for the idea.
Step 1: Buy Acrylic
First, buy your acrylic. I bought 1/16" red, black, and clear translucent acrylic from Ebay. I chose 1/16" to create a suitable amount of thin tokens within an enclosure I had in mind. The 1/16" tokens turned out to be a little insubstantial and didn't have a good "feel" the way a heavier token would, but larger diameters seemed to make up for it some. If you're not space constrained like I was, consider 1/8" thick instead.
Also, the clear and transparent red weren't the best choice for my tokens. The black, despite how the photo turned out above, seemed to have the best contrast where the image "popped" the best. Probably a mix of opaqueness and color contrast.
Step 2: Find/create Image
Scour the internet or create your own image. I chose the thumbs up because I wanted it to be generic enough to work with any game. It could also be rotated into a thumbs down giving more options for the tokens. Had I been careful in the placement of the acrylic and in the operation of the laser cutter, I could have cut an image on the back as well.
Step 3: Create Vector Graphic
Inkscape is a fantastic and free vector graphics editor and that works very well. Nicer but costly programs like Corel Draw work better.
Import your image, draw a circle around it, group them together, and copy/paste until you have several rows of coins. Note, the line thickness and color in your graphic matter for some laser cutters so be sure you have them set to the correct settings. For my laser cutter, I needed the link thickness to the set to "hairline", the cut color set to "RGB red", and the raster color set to "RGB blue" or "RBG yellow".
I realize that I'm breezing over the inkscape steps, but there are plenty of great beginner tutorials out there. Here is a good one:
Step 4: Cut!
All laser cutters have their own unique settings so you should either be familiar with yours or work with someone who is. In my case, I "rastered" the image and "cut" the circle. Do several practice tokens to make sure you have the correct speed, power, and dpi (dots per inch) settings.