Laser Cut Photo Puzzle.

Introduction: Laser Cut Photo Puzzle.

This double sided laser cut custom puzzle gift was just the project to become more comfortable with drawing in AI after years of Adobe Photoshop.

Side one was a photo from mammoth hot springs in Yellowstone NP and the other side was a lily pad covered pond also in the NP with the phrase "real love is bringing home burritos"

Supplies

Birch plywood 1/8 or 1/4" - cuts very cleanly, and makes for durable work

Masking tape- to help protect material from burn marks

Printable bumper sticker vinyl as used here for the color images or 2d art safe to lasercut

Laser cutter

Step 1: DESIGN STAGE

For this puzzle I downloaded vector file from Vecteezy and customized the lines to have several pieces become a friend's favorite symbol. Each custom puzzle is a delightful challenge balancing durability, usability for client needs and good design work. I have also done puzzles with a family name as pieces and ultra simple puzzles for client's partners.

Be mindful of your layers going to print. If you decide to etch a raster for your design ( instead of printing a photograph) make sure it is set to center and hairline width.

In this puzzle I chose to draw in the final rectangle board in the retina engrave software.

Step 2: PLANNING FOR THE PRINTING/CUTTING

-Choose your dimensions for the final puzzle.

-Choose placement on the board, do you need to nest other work on there? Did you leave room to a test cutting area on your material?

-If you are new to laser cutting or lining up work feel free to create a boarder around your photography or intentionally print it slightly larger than the final wooden surface.

Step 3: DECORATE! AND MASKOFF

-Decorate your plywood with printed photography or drawn art

-Take note of the average dimensions of each puzzle piece. try to over lap tape making it easier to peel later , thinks 1-2" strips instead of large sheets of tape.

-Masking tape your print

* The masking tape helps prevent burn marks from showing up on your room or on a printed photograph at the edges of the cut pieces. It is not essential but can be helpful for a clean look depending on what material used for the image,

- The image on the left if from my first time making a puzzle where I didn't overlap my tape enough.

Step 4:

-Test your laser cutter for proper speed and power to create a cut all the way through with out burning. Take note if you are on a less frequently maintained laser cutter to do a test in the furthers corners of large puzzles.

- Align your start points (origins) and run the job.

When completed consider gently lifting a puzzle piece to make sure it cut all the way through before you lift everything... I've been there. ( lion photo to show how a laser might be ever so slightly underpowered in settings and didn't cut through everything.)

- Remove your tape

- Enjoy

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