How to Laser Engrave Handwritten Calligraphy




This instructable will cover the basic steps to convert handwritten calligraphy to laser engraved calligraphy.

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Step 1: Draw Calligraphy and Save As Picture

Draw some inspiring calligraphic text using pen and paper. Scan or take a picture of it.

Note: The author of the beautiful calligraphy used in this instructable is Rodgee Mae Guden, all credit should go to her. Permission has been granted to post this instructable.

Step 2: Load the Raw Picture

Open Gimp (≅ Photoshop) and load this picture.

Step 3: Select Text

In the Toolbox items, choose the "Select by Color Tool" icon. Then click on a part of the text in the image, to select the color corresponding to the text, this will select all things with the same color, the idea is that all text gets selected. If only part of the text is selected, while holding the Shift-key (meaning "add to current selection") click on a part of the text that is not yet selected and repeat this procedure until all text is selected.

Step 4: Create a New White Background Layer

In the menu, select "Layer" -> "New Layer...".

Then make sure "Fill with:" is set to "White", then click "OK".

Step 5: Create a New Transparent Layer

In the menu, select "Layer" -> "New Layer...".

Then make sure "Fill with:" is set to "Transparency", then click "OK".

Step 6: Fill the Text Selection With Pure Black Color

In the menu, select "Edit" -> "Fill with FG Color".

Step 7: Export the Resulting Image With Black Text on White Background

In the menu, select "File" -> "Export As" to export the image somewhere.

Step 8: Import the Bitmap Image With Black Text on White Background Into Vector Drawing Software

Open Inkscape and import the exported image, then click "OK" in the popup dialog.

Step 9: Convert the Bitmap to a Path (vector-based)

In the menu, select "Path" -> "Trace Bitmap...", then click "OK" in the popup dialog.

Step 10: Smoothen the Path

In the menu, select "Path" -> "Path Effects ...".

Then, the "Path Effects" pane will be visible. Click the "+" icon in this pane.

Finally, select "Simplify" in the popup window, then click "Add".

Step 11: Delete the Bitmap

In the menu, select "Edit" -> "Invert Selection", then press the Delete-key to delete the bitmap.

Step 12: Complete by Adding Your Cutting Lines As Desired

We choose to laser engrave the calligraphic text, but we haven't addressed how to laser cut the final piece yet. This is left to the freedom of the reader. In this instructable, red cutting lines are drawn to realize some wall hangers and a keychain.

Attached are the final vector-drawings as used in this instructable.
The material used here is wood, MDF, 3 mm.

Step 13: Results

Here are the originals along with the laser engraved and laser cut results.

Step 14: Applications of Results

And here are the results put to practice.

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    Reply 15 days ago

    Thank you Audrey!
    I briefly checked your profile page and you seem to be working on interesting DIY projects! Keep up the good work!