My main reason for writing this instructable is to give you the template, the rest is gravy.
Step 1: Download the Template From This Instructable.
I did everything in Adobe™ Illustrator but have provided the .svg files if you are using inkscape.
This template was made by carefully measuring my Macbook (Circa 2012 - Early Retina Display) - I am NOT promising that this will be the same as YOUR Macbook - Apple changes up the designs every now and then.
Step 2: Cut Out and Test-fit
ABOVE PIC: A piece of black construction paper sitting exactly on my laptop.
Cut the red lines out using the laser cutter and test fit on YOUR Mac. Apple changes their designs from time to time. Make sure that this precisely fits the Macbook that you are going to etch.
DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP - it could save you a lot of hassle down the road. I did leave a little bit of gap around the Apple logo - this was to afford extra protection - it is plastic and probably won't laser well.
Step 3: Do ART
I made the rounded rectangle grey so I could see the results better.
NOTE: The metal color of the Macbook makes for a trick of lighting. When you laser etch it it will be white...... but at most angles it will look darker than the silver. Make sure your art work both lighter and darker than the grey. Some art doesn't.
Make sure you LOVE the results both positive and negative colorings - there are no take-backs.
Step 4: Prep Art for Laser Cutter
This will vary depending on the brand of laser cutter you have. I have a Full Spectrum P 20x12 with a 90W laser.
BUT, that being said, chances are the instructions are fairly close.
Change the rounded rectangle back to transparent, give it a red stroke, and SEND TO BACK.
Make sure the Apple logo has a white fill, give it a red stroke, and BRING TO FRONT.
Make your art black.
It is ok if the art bleeds over the red rectangle - this will ensure the art goes all the way to the edge of the laptop.
Example art above.
Step 5: Cut the Template Out of Cardboard
Align everything accord to your laser cutter's instructions - focus on a piece of cardboard that you have tapped down to the tray so it doesn't move.
Do a vector cut:
YELLOW: I put the yellow line in to make sure you kept alignment - I burned it at 2% (so it wouldn't go through the cardboard - but leaves a mark).
RED: strong enough to cut through the cardboard easily - you don't want to move the cardboard trying to get out the piece.
BLACK: Set not cut this..... Passes - 0 on my cutter.
Step 6: Prep Laptop
If you are cutting very close to the Apple Logo I would recommend covering it aluminum-foil tape, the kind they actually use to seal duct-work. The laser can't cut through it and it will prevent any misalignment from damaging the plastic logo. It is really easy to cut to get a tight fit on the logo with a razor knife (x-acto).
Place the laptop so it fits exactly where the cardboard was and with the Apple Logo in the same orientation.
You may take a moment to notice that the laser is probably pointed exactly at the top left corner of the YELLOW box on the cardboard (ok, it is a burn-mark right now).
Focus to the height of the laptop.
My laser cutter has a "Move Relative" that I use to move the laser, focus, and then move it exactly back to its starting point - if yours doesn't this is. This is where the YELLOW box comes in handy. You just need to put the laser back to the top left corner of the yellow box..... you can trace the outline of the cutting area and it should exactly follow the YELLOW box....... can't be safe enough.... triple check everything.
Step 7: Laser You Laptop
My settings were:
- Raster (threshold set low enough to not see the red or yellow) :
- 100% Speed
- 30% Power
Set according to your own equipment. I have a 90W laser - and I did overkill.