Intro: Laser-cut Butterfly Necklace
- Laser-cuttable wood. I used LaserBits aromatic cedar plywood. I've heard stories that cedar on its own is very hard to laser-cut so best to stick to ply unless you know what you're doing.
- 200-grit sandpaper for finishing.
- Optional: oil, for finishing. I used some safflower cooking oil and it seemed to work fine!
- One length of waxed cotton. I used brown, 1.5mm cotton that I bought on ebay.
- One clasp. I used a magnetic clasp, also found on ebay.
- Laser cutter. I used an Epilog 60W machine. Even the plywood cedar is pretty hard to cut on that machine so YMMV if you have a lower-wattage machine.
- Vector drawing package. I used Inkscape and then transferred to CorelDraw, which is what's attached to the laser cutter.
Step 1: Designing the Pendant
- set the document size to the size fo the laser cutter bed
- turned on a 1mm grid
- freehanded half the butterfly, using the grid only for the endpoints
- copied and flipped the half-butterfly
- combined the paths
- added a circle for the loop at the top
- using the grid to line it up, added a circle for the hole in the loop
- combined the larger circle and edited the path to make it all join up.
Finally, I cloned the outer path again and combined it with the inner so that I could fill the space between them and sett he outline of the shaded region to none.
Step 2: Laser-cutting and Redesign
- etched the filled region first, using the option "raster only" to make sure I didn't accidentally cut
- then, I deleted the filled region from the file and did the vector cutting pass. IIRC, I had to use power 100%, speed 10% on a 60W laser cutter.
Step 3: Finishing
The pendant came out of the laser cuter with a bit of soot on the edge so I sanded it off. (I've heard that hydrogen peroxide works well for this as well.) I also sanded the surface a little to smooth it up.
Then, I applied a little bit of oil with a kitchen towel.
Step 4: Adding the String
Finally, I added a cord made of waxed cotton. I used some magnetic clasps that I found on ebay. Hopefully they won't turn my girlfriend's neck green!