A short tutorial on how to make your own lasercut words out of MDF. I used 9mm to cut 'Mats'. Afterwards, I applied some spraypaint. Using the opensource (free) Inkscape, you can design your own lasercut words in a few minutes. They make great gifts!
Kind thanks to Fablab Leuven for their kind support.
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Step 1: Write Word in Inkscape
Choose a nice, fat font you like. If you need some inspiration, go to dafont.com to get some nice free ones. Press F8 in Inkscape to start writing.
Tip: The fill color doesn't matter. I use yellow for visibility. Red outline is used for laser cutting (0.05mm). Hold down the SHIFT-key and click on the red box to select red as your outline color.
Step 2: Change Spacing
Select the last few letters to change the spacing (called "kerning" by the pro's). Hold down ALT and use the arrow keys to move the letters to the left. Make sure they overlap for strong joints. Repeat for the other letters too.
Tip: Don't worry if some joints look too small or fragile, you can adjust them later. For now, adjust the spacing so the letters overlap while at the same time every letter can be distinguished.
Step 3: Transform to Vector
Now the easy part (were there any difficult ones?). We will transform the outline of the letters to one big vector outline.
Just press these commands (windows, mac users: good luck!)
F1 (to select the word itself)
CTRL + SHIFT + C (to convert the outline to vector)
CTRL + SHIFT + G (to ungroup all the letters)
CTRL + "+" (to combine all the letters into one outline)
Step 4: Finetune Your Design
If you're not sure or want to finetune your design, press F2 to check. You will see blue dots (called "nodes"). Use your mouse to move the blue dots around.
Make sure the joints are wide enough so your design won't break.
Tip: this way, you can move the dots on "i" and "j" and put them on the letter (or replace them with some other symbol).
Now, go find a fablab near you, cut your design and enjoy!
Happy laser cutting