A Quick Laser Cut Sailing Trophy




Introduction: A Quick Laser Cut Sailing Trophy

About: We are a father and son making team. We make stuff, lots of stuff, sometimes it is practical, sometimes just for. Sean's is dad and his father and maternal grandfather are (and were in the case of his Grandf...

A quick to make yet impressive looking laser cut Acrylic trophy I made for a scout event, but change the text/logo and it will work for any sailing related event. Instructable by James.

Step 1: Materials and Equipment

You will need
  • Cardboard for test cuts
  • Corel Draw or Other vector graphics editor
  • 3/8" Thick Clear Acrylic 12"x9" Sheet
  • Perspex cement
  • and about 30 minutes
You will also need access to a Laser cutter which is why I made it at TechShop San Jose on one of their Epilog 60 watt machines. On a smaller machine you may need to do 3 or 4 passes to cut the 3/8" acrylic.

Step 2: Files

I have included a file for the design I made, it is in Corel Draw format but it could be very quickly recreated in any other vector graphics program.

There are two things to watch. Firstly the slot you cut in the base needs to be really tight.  I made it 0.37".  Also the top of the cut out in the middle is very fine. You might want to extend the horizontal segment I have at the top to make it help release a bit better. Obviously if you are using my file you will need to change the text and graphics.

Step 3: Cardboard Cut

The first thing is to run a test cut in some scrap cardboard.  The cut is run using settings that are good for cardboard, not for Acrylic which would probably start a fire. Having a test cut is useful both to check the text and graphics look good but also to use as an alignment guide.

Step 4: Etching and Cutting

A trick my Dad taught me when cutting thick plastic is to remove the top protective covering but not the backing sheet.  That way it protects it from getting scratched but also lets you see when you have cut all the way through. However I thought there might be a problem with the very fine center cut out getting glued back in to place.  Removing the backing from that area enables it to move a little bit helping it not get stuck.  It was useful having the cardboard cut as I used this as a guide. Then I removed the top covering and placed it in the cutter.

Remember to re-focus the cutter on the acrylic as it is thicker that most cardboard.  Run the job with settings for 3/8th inch acrylic.  For the etching I used 45% power but it needed two passes to get it as deep as I liked.  I also used two runs of the vector cut using 8% speed, 90% power (the max we use at TechShop) and 5000Hz frequency.

Step 5: Gluing and Cleaning

To glue it together I kept the backing paper on as much of the acrylic as I could.  This stops little buts of cement getting places you do not want them.  I also gave the pieces a good dust off before I started as if the powder that gets left from the etching gets mixed with the cement it could be messy. On the base it is important to apply the glue from the side with the backing paper on as application even done carefully can be messy. When you have cement on the 4 sides of the cut-out in the base, plug the sails in and let it dry.

Leave the cement to cure fully for about 30 minutes, remove the remaining backing paper and clean with soapy water and polish gently with a soft cloth.

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    Times have changed, when I was in scouts all we got was a cheap ribbon for participating in the regatta races.
    That is cool that you have adult leadership to expose you to laser cutters and stuff.