Intro: Wood Dash Plaques
You can make inexpensive wood dash plaques for any event with a laser. They are typically given out at car events such as auto crosses and 4 wheel drive runs. By making them yourself you can save money and add a cool look to your event. A 60W epilog co2 laser was used for making the dash plaques. Typical dash plaque size is 3" x 1 ~ 1.5", the files are set up for 3" x 1.5" dash plaques.
"I made it at TechShop"
Step 1: Wood Preperation
I used wood that was already prepared, 1/4" poplar 5.5" x 24". The poplar has a light grain that doesn't overwhelm your image, and at 1/4" it balances strength and size nicely. I also put a light wood stain on to increase the contrast of the image. You can use whatever color stain that works for your needs. In mine, I used a light blue stain.
Step 2: Print Text + Outline
Printing the text and image separately allows for different power settings in order to achieve different effects. I burned the text at 60% speed / 70 % power, and the outline at 60% speed / 20% power. I also put the outline and text on one layer so that the first pass does the text and outline. Then I printed the image and cut it out with the next pass.
Step 3: Print Image + Cut Out
With the second pass (don't move the wood between passes), the image gets burned and the dash plaques get cut to size. Note: make sure to turn off the text layer before printing the image and cutting. Image 30% speed, 90% power. Cut was done at 10% speed 90% power. When you're done cutting, you can add adhesive to the back of the dash plaque if desired. Double sided foam sticky tape works well.