How to Make Your Own Custom Wood Lettering

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Intro: How to Make Your Own Custom Wood Lettering

Instructions on how to laser cut your own letters for a menu board, or anything else that might need letters. I made these at Techshop (www.techshop.ws) and used wood, but other materials like acrylic, MDF, paper, and chipboard can also be used.

Step 1: Measure and Cut Your Material

1. Cut wood (or whatever material you are using) to appropriate size for laser cutter (18" x 24" maximum at TechShop SF)

Step 2:

Create files in Illustrator, on artboards that are the same size as your wood. Apply appropriate stroke settings for laser cutting and etching. For the machine I was using, strokes had to be .001pt for cutting.

Step 3: Start Cutting

Put in your material, and prep the laser cutter. Set appropriate focus distance, and adjust the home point if needed. Enter the correct  settings in the print dialog box for your material, and start lasering. (If you take the Laser Cutter class at TechShop, they will cover all of this)

Step 4: Punch Out Letters

Once cutting is complete, carefully remove your pieces, and punch out all the letters.

Step 5: Layout the Letters

Space out letters on the board you will be using, and affix adhesive, and press onto the board. In this case, I used removable Glue Dots. If you are using a metal surface, you can use magnets. 

Step 6: Voila!

That's it.

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    11 Discussions

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    espdp2

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice looking sign, and good job plugging your company at the same time. I could use something like this, but I have no idea where to find a laser cutting shop. :-)

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    bastmont

    5 years ago on Introduction

    New to this trying to figure out the brand of laser cutter used It might work for RC model boat parts.??
    Article is good and easy to understand.

    2 replies
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    dh405bastmont

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Really, you should look at the voltage and laser type used rather than what brand of cutter. They used an Epilog, but those are pretty pricey. There are many other lower-cost options that should do the trick.

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    Markoid

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Works really well for Rc Boats great for hatches and detailed parts. No more hours with a scroll saw.
    http://s1352.photobucket.com/user/Mark_Alexander_Whitehead/library/Flat%20Bottom%20Airboat?sort=3&page=1

    Stunning typography, as well.
    Reminds me of A&P coffee type from my high-school grocery-stocking days back in the Stone Age.
    Great work.

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    omni96

    5 years ago on Introduction

    You can use a laser cut paper or cut it with a cutting plotter to create the layout stencil
    By offsetting the stroke you could get holes that let the wooden letters slip through

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    dworley

    5 years ago on Introduction

    It would be neat if you could also laser cut out magnetic backing for the letters so you can change what the sign says whenever you want.

    1 reply
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    alexisliudworley

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    You can stick magnets onto the letters (there are adhesive dots and strips available) and use a sheet of painted steel for a magnetic surface. Also, you can try using magnetic paint. I haven't tried the paint, but heard it doesn't work that well, and it only creates a magnetic surface, not magnets themselves.

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    Creativeman

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Impressive! Good job, a few questions: how long to cut the entire board, does the laser "burn" through the wood. i.e. is any heat generated, and how thick are your letters? Thanks.

    1 reply
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    alexisliuCreativeman

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    It took about 2 hours to cut all the letters you see on the board. Yes, the laser burns through the wood, and creates a burnt, dark brown edge. These letters are 1/4" plywood.