By Mrs. F and Sasha K.
With minimal design, materials, time and effort, you can have a pair of dangle earrings with the help of a laser cutter. This project takes less than an hour and can provide you with earrings that are a perfect match for that outfit or a last-minute gift for a friend or relative. This is also a great project for getting started with 2D design or getting students interested in digital fabrication, or a great way to demonstrate how Tinkercad can be used for 2D design.
Step 1: Assemble Your Materials
For this project, you'll need the following items:
1) Jump Rings
2) Long-nose Pliers - two pair. Jewelry pliers are preferable because they do not have grooves that can scratch or damage the surface of the materials you use them with. However, if you don't have them, just cover the grooves on regular pliers with some masking tape while you are working with the jump rings.
4) Earring posts and backs (I've used these before)
6) Access to CorelDraw or other 2D design software (Gravit.io is a great free resource.) . Tinkercad, known for its 3D design capabilities can also generage .svg files for lasercutting! It is also free.
7) Access to a laser cutter at your home, school, library or local makerspace
Step 2: Design and Laser Cut Your Pieces
Laser cutting is unbelievably fast and precise. Once you have your shapes designed in CorelDraw, you can send the print request to your laser cutter. We used an Epilog laser cutter and here is a great Insructable class that details the process. Again, consider free design options with Tinkercad or Gravit.io to export .svg files for printing. Two .svg files are attached that were downloaded from Tinkercad.
We always cut parts from cardboard or other scrap material to make sure the pieces are what we want and that the components fit as planned.
Step 3: Put the Pieces Together!
If you haven't worked with jump rings before, it is pretty easy to do - IF you remember one crucial thing: jump rings should be opened by moving, or twisting, their openings sideways to make a space for attaching pieces, NOT apart. HERE is a quick WikiHow explanation. You twist them back in the opposite direction to close.
I suppose it doesn't really matter what order you connect your 3 pieces. I connected the middle ring to the bottom wedge, then connect that combined piece to the top piece with the earring post.
The final step is to center and glue the earring post onto the back of the top circle with the jewelry adhesive.
Step 4: Enjoy Them! Give Them! Display Them!
These earrings are dangly and lightweight and best of all, a custom design. Laserable acrylic comes in so many colors and varieties that you are sure to find something you like. We find inexpensive scraps from many sign vendors who are willing to sell small pieces at a fraction of the cost of new sheets.