Introduction: Laser Cut Desk Name Plate

About: If you need to get in touch, please email me instead of sending an instructables message. matthew dot beckler at gmail dot com

This is an easy-to-make desktop name plate, that sits upright on your desk. It comes in three pieces, and you need to glue the two side pieces to the front piece. I used 1/8" baltic birch plywood, but if you use a different thickness, you will need to adjust the size of the interlocking cutouts.

Step 1: Download and Customize Template

Download the attached SVG or PDF file (both are included in the ZIP archive). I created the SVG file with Inkscape, so beware if you import this SVG into Corel Draw, there might be some scaling issues (I have heard that different programs assume different relationships between SVG units and real-world units). I would suggest editing it in Inkscape, exporting a PDF, then importing the PDF into Corel for laser cutting. You can also just import the PDF here directly into Corel and editing it that way.

Edit the name and choose a cool font. You can add vector or raster images as artwork for your project. Each object can have a fill and a stroke around the outline. For all objects you want to engrave, use a fill but no outline. For all objects you want to cut out, use no fill but add an outline, and make sure the outline has width "hairline" in Corel Draw. The colors for each depend on your specific laser cutter settings, but I like to use pure black (#000000) for engraving and pure red (#FF0000) for vector cuts.

Step 2: Fire the Laser!

Use your laser cutter to engrave and cut the design. Depending on the software driver for your particular laser, you might need to adjust the color settings. In my template I used pure black for the parts to engrave, and pure red for the parts to vector cut.

Depending on your material of choice, you might have to play around with the speed and power settings for the engraving and vector cutting. If you aren't using 1/8" thick material, you will have to adjust the size of the interlocking "fingers" between the three pieces.

I made it at TechShop, specifically the new Pittsburgh, PA location!

Step 3: Glue the Pieces Together

When the laser cutter is finished, you can glue the pieces together. I would suggest doing one side at a time, to ensure that everything stays properly aligned at right-angles while the glue dries. I used plain old wood glue.

Here are a few more photos so you can get an idea of how they fit together. There is a little gap at the bottom of the front plate, and I might try to eliminate that in my next design.