Offline Commenting




About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author ...

As someone who spends a lot of time engaging with people online, I often think about how great it would to extend online commenting out into the greater world. Now, you may be saying to yourself, "What kind of world is greater than the internet?" Well, let me tell you, my internet companion, if you turn away from your computer screen, there is a big wide world out there; a magically tangible world of people and things!

Relax... there is no need to fret!

This transition from the online world into the real world is made easier by these things called "stamps." Like the similarly named "stamp" tool in Photoshop, a stamp allows you to replicate an image over and over in your file (or "environment," as they often call files in the real world). Now you can easily engage in the actual world with the same repetitive and meaningless interaction that would normally exclusively be reserved for the internet. Does it get any better than this?

(on a side note, none of this commenting behavior is encouraged on Cut it out kids!)

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Step 1: Go Get Stuff:

You will need:

A (totally awesome) Epilog Laser Cutter
High-Quality Laser Rubber
Self Inking Stamp Pads
Corel Draw
A paintbrush
An Exacto knife

Step 2: Write Out Your Words

Download the attached file, open it in Corel Draw and change the comments to suit your needs.

There are 3 different sized stamp files for you to work with.

You should obviously make your stamps the size of the stamp pad (typically listed on the box it came in).

One thing I have come to find is that it is ideal for the text to fill as much as the stamp surface as possible (or you may get ink on the corners of the pad). However, you should still leave a small margin around the edge of the stamp.

If you want to start your file from scratch, make your squares the size of the stamp surface and then fill them with test. Next make the text white and the fill of the squares black. Once you have done that, invert the whole image so that the text reads backwards.

Step 3: Raster Cut

Turn on your laser cutter and air filtration system.

Align your rubber in the back left corner of the laser bed.

Print the file using the following raster setting:

Power: 100
Speed: 60
DPI: 600
Auto-focus: On

You will probably want to do a second pass (do not move your material inside the laser cutter). Print your file again, this time turning off the auto-focus.

Step 4: Modify the File

Delete all of your text (or make it invisible). Remove the black fill from your stamp squares to that they have a transparent fill (alpha).

(Don't move your materials inside the laser cutter. Leave it alone!)

Step 5: Vector Cut

Now that your file is prepared as a ling drawing, your next job is to vector cut it out of the sheet. For this, make 2 passes using the following vector settings:

Power: 100
Speed: 40
Frequency: 100
Autofocus: Off

Step 6: Clean Off the Stamps

The stamps will now be covered in nasty rubber dust.

You can try washing them off in the sink using your paintbrush and a citrus based soap. I found this didn't work too well.

What I ended up doing was brushing them off while dry using a dry brush (this may be a bad idea and I don't recommend this as such fine rubber dust can't be good for you).

Step 7: Cut From the Sheet

Chances are, that the two vector passes did not completely cut the stamps out, but left a nice set of guides for cutting/ripping them out.

Cut or rip the stamps from the sheet.

Step 8: Mount

Make sure your stamps are completely dry and then mount them on the self-inking stamp pad by peeling back the adhesive cover and pressing them firmly in place.

Step 9: Stamp a Label

Stamp a label and attach it to the top of your stamp so that you know what stamp it is and which side is up.

This is very important!

Step 10: Comment

Make your pressing comments upon life.

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39 Discussions

Uncle Kudzu

8 years ago on Introduction

Great idea!

Note to hand-carvers: you can print your comments in reverse - use a laser printer, not inkjet - and transfer to rubber by placing your print face down on the rubber and rubbing the backside of your laser print with solvent. The laser toner will dissolve a bit and leave toner on the rubber as a guide to carving.

Another thing you can do is find a store, probably staples or another office type company, and you can probably order your custom stamper. I know for a fact you can make one on Shutterfly or Snapfish.


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

Hey, I see no reason why you couldn't win...of course you will need to enter the contest first!


10 years ago on Introduction

or, you know, you could just cut the letters out yourself with an x-acto knife, which is entirely possible.


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

I made stamps before just by drawing my design on one of those pink erasers (remember, lettering has to be backwards!) and carving away with an exacto. It worked pretty good. I used a stamp pad for inking it. One step up from that would be using a block of linoleum and some carving tools from your local craft store.


Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

One step down would be a potato, I think I did that in grade 5 art class. Just cut it in half and cut out your letters.