Introduction: Etched Acrylic Postcard #2: the Spiral Connection
This is my second attempt at sending out an acrylic postcard. I learned a few things the last time with the split-etched which surprised me by successfully reaching its destination. Instead of making a card that is cruel and tough to read I wanted to make one that could reveal itself all at once by closing one eye and getting the right angle and distance from the card.
So what did I learn?
Expand the bottom layer
In the original card, I cut up the image and put half on top and half on the bottom. I didn't take into account of how the thickness of the acrylic would make it impossible to see the images line up. It still looked cool so I mailed it, but I wanted a more complete look to it.
Use a visual cue
With 24 square inches of space to use, I was only using a small fraction of them. With an expanded bottom layer it would help to have a visual cue to let the user know where to hold the card to see the images line up. I started with circles, but spirals look cooler.
Use complementary images
With the visual cues of the spiral, I needed to make sure that I had two complementary images. This means that two shapes had to come together to form a solid mass.
So with all that in mind and the results right below this, this Instructable is meant to show how the layers were created in Illustrator. Several other imaging programs can be used as well. I am just using what I'm used to.
Materials and Tools
Scrap 3/8" acrylic fromTap Plastics.
Laser cutting and etching withSquid Labs'Epilog Mini 24.
Vector illustration withAdobe Illustrator CS.
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Step 1: Make a Spiral
Easy enough. Just click on the spiral icon, the one hiding behind the line icon, and click on the screen to bring up this window.
I punched in:
Radius = 4 in.
Decay = 90%
Segments = 100
Step 2: Copy It
Alt-click-drag and wha-hey! A new spiral appears.
Step 3: Give It a Half Rotation
Transform the new spiral with a 180-degree rotation to flip it.
Step 4: Line Up the Spirals and Connect
Now zoom in and arrange the spirals so they are concentric. The results should look like below.
Now take the pen tool to connect the two spirals.
Step 5: Connect Outside
Zooming back out will let you see the entire shape. Take the pen tool again and connect the outside ends of the spirals by creating a box shape on the bottom. This completes the shape and with a black fill you will see the results of the second image.
Step 6: Copy the Shape
Alt-click-drag again for glory!
Step 7: Flip It
Like before, transforming the copied shape with a 180-degree rotation.
Step 8: Bring Them Together
Now you should be able to move the shapes together so that they form a black mass. Go into the outline mode and zoom in to really refine this if you want.
Step 9: Make the Postcard Shape
Leaving the spirals for a minute, create the shape of the postcard. I like a 6" x 4" card with 1/4" rounded corners.
Step 10: Mark the Center With Guides
Now create two guides that bisect the postcard shape for both the horizontal and vertical.
Huzzah! There's the center, ready and waiting.
Step 11: Center Spirals
Grab both of the spirals and bring them onto the postcard shape so that their center is on top of the postcard's center.
Step 12: Create Addresses on New Layer
OK, now we're ready for the addresses. Good old Flibberty and Howard are used again to show how this works.
Pretty simple, really.
Step 13: Arrange the Layers
Just to make sure everything's tidy, I like to put the layers all together nice and neat. Here I have three layers. One for the die cut and one for each spiral shape and the addresses. I copied the addresses layer so that there are two now.
Step 14: Flip and Resize Bottom Layer
Now select all of the elements in the bottom layer and get ready to tweak them.
Since the bottom layer is being printed on the backside of the card it needs to be flipped across the vertical.
As for the size adjustment, I found that a 2% enlargement makes so that the shapes can line up at a comfortable distance.
Step 15: Check Files and Get Ready to Burn
Oh wow, this looks horrendous!
If you hide the top or the bottom you can see each layer and how it will be etched onto the acrylic. Keep in mind that only the black areas get etched.
Step 16: Laser Cut and Mail It!
Now all that's left is to laser cut and etch the acrylic and then mail it off.
Now after one friend gets it and loves it and then tells your other friends you will likely have to make more. I started off with two, but I've made seven so far.
Step 17: Success!
The first two cards have made it and five more are going out today. One of the fist two is handy with a camera so expect some success shots soon. I hope.