Laser-etched Coasters

In this intructable, I will explain how to make a laser-etched coaster in plexiglass with a design of your choice.

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Step 1: Download the Software

Download Inkscape and XQuartz for Mac computers. Both of these programs must be installed to properly design for laser etching.

  • Download and install XQuartz from xquartz.macosforge.org.
  • Specific instructions on installing XQuartz and support are found at the XQuartz web site.
  • Restart your computer or log out and back in to complete the XQuartz installation.
  • Add Inkscape to your Applications folder, and run Inkscape.

Step 2: Design Image in Inkscape

  • Choose a design that you wish to be laser-etched into the coaster. If drawing the design, this can be done directly in the software. If importing a design, choose file--import image.
  • Once the design is in the software, place a circle around the chosen design. (This will be the outline that the laser will cut out for the coaster.
    • Download the final design (with the circle) as an SVG file and download a separate file of just the circle as an SVG file.

Step 3: Import Design Into Corel Draw

  • I emailed the two SVG files to the PC that is connected to the Rayjet laser cutter.
  • Vectors are added around the circle in Corel Draw to cut out the perimeter of the coaster.

Step 4: Laser Cut!

  • Using the PC connected to the Rayjet laser cutter, send the file to the laser cutter.
    • The laser cutter should be set at 57% power and 100% speed for etching and 60% power and 1% speed for cutting to ensure that the coaster is cut out of the plexiglass.
      • The plexiglass is considered a plastic and is 0.08-inch acrylic material.
    • The resolution of the image is 500 dpi.
  • After the design is finished being laser cut, lift the lid and pop out your new coaster!

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