Introduction: Make Pro-Rubber Stamps

last year, my friends gave me a nickname "Humorist" because of some of my jokes nobody understand (I admit it's quite fair).

But I realised that I'm not the only one to make strange jokes and sometimes I want to approve some of those jokes!

So why not creating my own LABEL?
And I went with the idea of making my own STAMP!

Stamp somebody : IT'S HUMORIST APPROVED !!

This Instructable shows how to:

     -Make the stamp itself ( of course )

     -Make a very fine tool for engraving

     -Make a nice inkwell for your Rubber Stamp

Step 1: Preparation.

First step; preparing your job.

We will need a plaster tile to engrave the stamp.
But plaster has tu cure and dry before being engraved.

so let's do it first.

All you need is a plaster tile in which your stamp can fit ( lets say 15cm X 15cm ),
with a thickness of 1cm (thicker will be too long to cure, and thinner too fragile).

To get a flat surface I poured the plaster in a cereal box cut in halves.

(if you're a bit impatient like I was, accelerate the drying process by putting the tile in your oven at 50°C)

finally you'll get this

Step 2: Design the Stamp

While it's drying, we have time for the stamp

First of all, you have to decide what your stamp should look like.

Make a drawing with Inkscape.

DRAW the REAL drawing you want to see, NOT reversed.

-- Draw the contours
-- Fill with parallel lines the zones where ink should be present
-- Check that every path outlines closed zones.

Step 3: Create a Path and G-code for Engraving

Now you've drawn your future stamp,

use Inkscape's Gcode tool plugin

and create Gcode using "Path to G-code" function

(view full size picture to see the detail.)

Once you have your Gcode, check it with NCPlot. (look for free NCPlotV1.3)

Step 4: Prepare Engraving

To engrave the plaster you'll need a fine tool

This tool is about to scratch plaster quite fast, and so engraving it.

You'll need:
     -a small rod, or a broken drill bit.  ( Pic 1)
     -a small grindstone. (Pic 4)
     -two rotating tool. ( pic 5 )

The rod turns fast and is fixed.

Slowly approach the grindstone to the end of the rod to reduce it's diameter to the diameter of a pin ( or smaller )  (Pic 5,6 and 7)

Then stop spinning the rod and slowly grind one side of the point.
do the same on the other side of the point.

Finally grind the very end of the point.

You should get a very small rectangular / parallelepipedic  tip. (Pic 9)

Step 5: Engrave

It's time for engraving your stamp.

If you have a CNC router, It's time to power it up.

    ( Otherwise, you can engrave by hand, having transferred your drawing to the plaster )

Put the flat surface under the drill.
Start engraving.

The following video shows in 8x speed the engraving of the smiley
(note: I chose a larger drill bit for higher speed because this pattern isn't as detailed as the "APPROVED" stamp)

Step 6: Make a Frame

We now need to pour some sealant plastic onto the engraved plaster, for it to cure with the appropriate shape.

But we also want this plastic to be a bit thick (0.5cm)

so we make a frame from junk wood or anything else.

Step 7: Fill With Plastic

( and wait ...)

In the previous steps we made nothing more than a mould.

We need to fill it, and the best material I found is construction site sealant.
It's both strong and a bit soft.

You can also use Silicon

Pour it into the mould
Make sure it goes EVERYWHERE in the mould
Smooth the Surface
Let It Cure

The sealant I used Cures in the Air  by evaporating it's solvent.
So I helped it a bit by offering it a journey in the oven, at 30°C

Step 8: Remove Plaster.

It's the easiest part.

Simply remove the plaster by breaking, and detaching it from the sealant.

FIRST TIP :  To break the plaster into a lot of easily removable parts, position the plate absolutely parallel to the ground and smash it on the floor.

SECOND TIP : Dunk it into hot water so the plaster softens.

THIRD TIP : To remove SMALL PARTS, use a screwdriver.

FINAL TIP: If there is still some plaster stuck, use acid to dissolve plaster and a brush to remove the residues.

Step 9: Mount the Stamp on a Support

We now need to make a neat stamp.

First we cut the excess of plastic around the stamp.

Report the stamp's outline on a piece of wood and cut it to it's shape.

Polish the edges and add a nice handle!

Then, to stick the rubber surface to the wood, use the same plastic you used before.

MAKE Sure you correctly orientate the stamp with the handle.
Let it dry/Cure on a Flat Surface so the stamp will be flat too!

Step 10: Make an Inkwell

You now have a very nice stamp.

It only miss an INKWELL

Let's do it from scavenged materials :

an old Metal box (tea box for me) And a Printer

Take out of an old printer, a kind of sponge material. if you don't have one a real sponge may work too.

Step 11: Forming the Box

The box I had, and the one you may find, was too tall.

I had to shorten it a bit.

Step 12: Make the Sponge

We can't let the sponge as it is because it would be too messy.
So we need to cover it with some fabric.

Look at the comments on the pictures, I detailed all steps.

Step 13: Conclusion.

Et Voila !

Some superb stamps for your own desires!

Remember, If you don't have CNC, It's no problem, you can engrave by hand!

If you want to make stamps with your kids, replace plastic by play dough, it'll be great fun ( it will make temporary stamps but, if you make a stronger plaster tile you can form as many as you want and this quite fast  )

I hope you enjoyed and I can't wait seeing your stamps!!

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