Introduction: Text Shadows (with Secret Message)

About: Grew up in Colorado and went from the country there to the big city of Los Angeles. Hoping to get a good job and going to a good school while helping my single brother take care of his child. As a high school …
I wanted to do something to show my girlfriend she is special and being a maker I spelled our names on the wall with a shadow cast from this cool wordlamp I made out of a flashlight and some cardboard. I have fallen madly in love with Vanessa my girlfriend over the last 7 years. This new year coming up 2016 is the year I hope to ask her the big question. I do not have much money, but would absolutely love to win the epilog contest so that I can use the epilog laser to prepare all of the props for the proposal this year. I would love to do the same concept as this instructables but just scaled up, and with silhouette's of her and I from our favorite photos. Don't ask me how (Lasers) but I want the shadow to be cast on a cliff in the rocky mountains as we are on a camping trip looking at the stars. I would like to spell the sentience out on a mountain asking her to marry me with shadows cast behind me just a moment before I get on my knee and ask the big question, ssssshhhhhh don't let her know its a secret, but if I won the contest that is what I would do with the laser. I cant think of a better use for the laser than to help me make that day just that much more special for her.

This instructables goes over how to create 3D word's with cardboard, and with some clever lighting you can make it so that the shadow cast creates a cool effect.

What you will need


- Computer

- Laser cutter


- A 3D modeling program

- Autodesk 123 Make

- Laser software of your choice

- Cardboard sheets

- glue

- Light source (preferably with a narrow beam or light)

Step 1: Starting Your Part

You will need to open up your favorite 3D editing program, I used Autodesk Inventor. Start off by making a long block then start writing some text on one of the faces align towards the top, and extrude.

The letters should look like as if they are almost resting on top of the block but still connected.

Note: If you use all Capital letters you will not have to deal with any floating parts to any letters like the dot for the lower case i.

Step 2: Making It Look Cool

Top view above your peace try to make a wave like pattern to extrude out of the part. You can use different axes to make more intricate patterns, there is no science to it but I noticed extruding curved parts out are better than sharp angles.

Note: Just make sure it will be able to still hold itself together later when sliced.

Step 3: Exporting Your Part and Slicing It Up

You will need to export your part into an .STL, after that import it into Autodesk 123D Make. In this program you can slice your part up and it even has instructions for putting your cut parts together.

You will after slicing your part export into a .dxm, use a laser to cut the parts from cardboard.

Assemble all your slices one on top of the other with some glue in-between slices and once dry your part is done.

Step 4: Experiment With Lighting

When you just get in a dark room with a flashlight, your part and a with just a little experimenting you will find some cool ways to display your text.

If you noticed there is a secret message :) you can put multiple messages in one part using two sources of light and having your text on two axes.

Have fun makers.

Epilog Contest VII

Participated in the
Epilog Contest VII