Every year for the last seven years, I've been involved in a charity called Movember. If you have never heard of it - for shame - http://www.movember.com.
For the last four years I've been working at Amazon, which is awesome and I love it. At Amazon, I unofficially started doing the Movember thing and encouraging people to get involved. This year, I want to reward a select few outstanding MoBros and MoSistas with some desk trophies.
These desk trophies where constructed from laser-cut acrylic and have a clear stand imprinted with our (entirely unofficial) internal logo. They are easily dismantled to a more easily transported size, and have a front layer that adds depth (and class - because Movember is classy). The clear base is etched on the upper surface, and reflects the logo from every angle - which looks more awesome than the pictures would suggest.
Step 1: Materials
Inkscape (Software to draw design : http://www.inkscape.org )
Ponoko (Online personal factory : http://ponoko.com )
White Acrylic Paint
Small Paint Brush
Weld-On #3 ( http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B0046CVPN4/69-2334-89-20 )
Weld-On Applicator ( http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B000KZUTDS/69-2334-89-20 )
Step 2: Design : Concept
I already had a basic icon that the trophy should look like. To make the whole thing look great - I wanted to have the accents (eyes and Mo) as a raised layer. The base would be clear with the unofficial logo cut into the surface.
I decided to cut the whole thing out of acrylic (from Ponoko):
- 3mm/0.118" orange body,
- 3mm/0.118" black matte for the eyes and mo, and
- 9mm/0.354" clear for the base.
The eye whites would be painted with acrylic paint.
Step 3: Design: Stand Up #1
From the outline, use Inkscape and manually trace the logo with vector lines.
Insert the source image, add a new layer and lock the layer with the source image. This makes it easier to draw on, and tweak the design.
It takes some getting used to the controls of Inkscape, there are a bunch of tutorials and help docs at the Inkscape website.
Step 4: Design: Base
Next design the base. The base consists of a rounded rectangle with slots for holding the body, and text about the trophy.
The slots need to be the same height as the acrylic thickness used in the body (you may want to add some give - prototyping helps to know how much give). In this case, 3mm highs slots were needed.
The text can be created using the text tool and once happy, convert the text to a path using the "Path -> Object to Path" operation.
The edge and slots will be cut, the text will be etched. For Ponoko, this is Blue, RGB(0, 0, 255) for cut, and Green, RGB(0, 255, 0) for medium etching.
Step 5: Design : Stand Up #2
Because we plan to paint the eyes, we are going to cheat and get the laser to cut a mask out of the protective paper that is used on the acrylic. I like this method because I am not very good with a paintbrush.
The paint is going behind the eye accents, so duplicate the eyes. Select the inner portion of the eyes on the body and use the "Path -> Outset" to expand the eye inner slightly. This will give a little room for error later on.
Next, add tabs to the feet. These need to line up with the slots made in the base. The base for this is 9mm thick, so the tabs are a 9mm extension from the body. Ensure that the wide of the tabs and slots are the same - the laser will burn away just enough acrylic for a good fit.
The Mo ends were removed from the body - this was found during prototyping to look way better.
Step 6: Final Design
The final design for Ponoko. Blue, RGB(0, 0, 255) is for cut, and Green, RGB(0, 255, 0) for medium etching.
Etching the outline for where pieces are going to be welded makes the welding process easier. It gives a visual guide for where to place the pieces - as well as stopping any run off from spreading.
The base is 87mm x 45mm. The body is 84mm x 108mm. The Mo is 84mm wide.
Step 7: Order and Wait...
I managed to fit 12 of these on five sheets of acrylic (1x orange, 2x black matte and 2x clear).
Time to double check, triple check and double check again.
Once satisfied, send the designs off to print. Note: if using Ponoko, make sure to include instructions to keep the protective paper on the acrylic - they usually do, but it pays to be cautious.
A week or so later... you should have all the raw materials. Time to construct!
Step 8: Build : Paint
Remove the paper from the area to be painted - use a needle or pin to help lift the corner of the paper. Once the paper is removed, paint over the area. You don't need to be too concerned where you paint, but paint can seep into the gaps of other vector lines, so try and keep it under control.
The paint should be given time to dry, about 30mins, then re-paint to get a good smooth coat. Wait another 30mins to let the paint dry.
Step 9: Build : Weld
Remove the paper where the top layer elements will be placed.
Peel the back of the top layer elements.
On a flat surface, apply Weld-On 3 to the lower layer. You should only need a small amount. I used one drop for the eyes, and four drops for the Mo. Place the upper layer elements on the base - adjusting the position gently but quickly (you have about a minute to adjust).
Be careful with the Weld-On. You might want to practice before doing the real thing. The idea is to make sure that the applicator is sucking air in while you are working. When you need to place some on your acrylic - you apply only enough pressure for the air to stop being sucked into the applicator.
Drips of Weld-On will cause the affected area to dull slightly - losing the shininess of the acrylic. So practice and be careful.
Step 10: Build : Done!
You should now have an army of desk trophies - ready to reward those worthy of such high honour.
I left the protective paper on them to reduce damage in transit - plus give the awardee the pleasure of peeling the paper off. Also, peeling the paper off is a pain.
Step 11: Done!
The final product!