Hey there! My name is Georgina Yeboah and I recently created these magnetic pins based off the characters from my webcomic Over 8 Miles! You can find the link to the webcomic's main page below this intro and the Tapas link.
I made these pins as an assignment to explore digital fabrication and laser cutting for a course at school. I love the project so much I wanted to share the process with the world! What artist doesn't want customizable pins of their original characters that they can display on their fridge and on themselves! :D
The real cool thing about this universal pin is that it is multi - purposeful. There's no need to hassle with changing pins by taking it on and off. Now you can interchange pin faces on the go! Not using the other pins or want to carry them around? Then display them on your fridge for all your friends to admire.
This Instructable will show you how you can make your own magnetic portable pins for one pin for whatever design you want!
These characters and any works related to my webcomic ARE MINE AND SHOULD NOT BE DUPLICATED AND SOLD FOR COMMERCIAL USE!!! I RESERVE ALL RIGHTS TO THESE DESIGNS SO DONT STEAL THEM!!!! This is to inspire other creators to make THEIR OWN PINS BASED OFF THEIR OWN DESIGNS. Thank you. Now on to the tutorial.
Step 1: Purchasing Your Material!
Before I go to laser cut anything I need to know what dimensions I'm working with. I went and got myself a 12 by 12 in plexi glass board since I wanted to work with a material other than wood. Before you buy make sure you can laser cut said materials. The people selling it to you would know so ask ask ask! Also ask which side of the board the cut will be taking place so you have a better idea of whatever you plan to cut will look like.
Step 2: Prep Your Pin Designs on Illustrator!
This is where the fun starts. Based on the dimensions of your board you can start creating your pins! Make sure the pin base is relatively the same size as the pin faces. The first row were the same size as the second row were slightly smaller.
As for how to design your pins for laser cutting, there are tutorials and guides online but for these pins I'll give a quick rundown of what is happening:
1) Pins that will be engraved or rasterized will be black. The last cut will be green. The laser cutter reads the colours as what to cut first. (red, blue and green with red being first and green being last.) Since all my strokes and fills were just rasterized thats what the laser cutter did. The green and red strokes would be cut.
2) Be mindful of how you design your pins and what will be cut. I made the mistake making both half of the Over 8 Miles symbol touch, causing the symbol to fall right through the pin. If you want to make cut outs then make strokes of your symbol or image and have a break in between at some point to prevent the whole design from falling through.
3) Make sure the pin base (Your universal pin) is the same size or even slightly larger than your magnetic face pins.
Step 3: Take Your AI Design to the Laser Cutting Machine!
I took my designs to a place that specialized in laser cutting. For a small fee, the setup was all done for me with some few adjustments. The cuts were charged at 1/$ per minute. Once the cutting was completed I took my pins home and started the assembly!
Step 4: Adding the Magnet Sheets
I bought myself two packs of magnetic sheets (Although I just used one). and made circular cut outs for each pin face and the the pin base. The sheets I used were pretty thin but still did the job. But if you could feel three to find even thicker sheets for more secureness.
I realized that I did not want the sticky adhesive side of the magnet to cover the entire back of the pin. This would cause the shine through the rasterized parts to be dimmer. As a solution I kept the white part that came with the magnetic sheet and made a cut around it so the magnetic sheet could stick to the back. The results turned out great!
Step 5: Add the Final Touches and Voila!
I added the pin to the back of the pin base with a hot glue gun. (The only pin you'll ever need at that!) and was done with the project. Now I could use my magnets as pins and my pins as magnets and alternate between pin faces without having to remove the actual pin itself.