Good day fellow makers, today we walk you through a tutorial on laser-cutting and laser-engraving a wood magnet of eighties icon Mr.T. I pity the fool. The truth is, we always need magnets in our fabrication space, but why not make them fun while functional and marketable (yes, we sell them too). For other modern laser cut wares, visit our Etsy store: www.etsy.com/shop/Nanogramstore or our Big Cartel shop www.nanogram.bigcartel.com/.
STEP 1. Find your stencil image.
We say stencil because lasers are machines, preferring to read monochromes. For engraving, typically use stark black and white images. Try to find the highest quality JPEGS or even better, get your digits on a vector image. Here we have Mr. Lawrence Tureaud aka, Clubber Lang ready for magnetization a la Nanogram.
Step 2. Insert the drawing in AutoCAD.
You can use your preferred method of digitizing of course. We only show you our modus. For this magnet, we set a square of 2″ x 2″ and scaled Mr.T accordingly. Draw guidelines. Hey, we are architects.
Step 3. Digitize.
To begin tracing, we typically set up 2 line styles in AutoCAD. RED is cut, GREEN is score. Our ULS 550 (Universal Laser Systems) laser engraver / cutter only reads RGB and line weights of 0.01 and under.
To trace the figure, follow the profile of what will be cut in RED. This doesn’t need to be super accurate as later you will see we then offset the cut line to create a border.
Step 4. Offset.
When complete with tracing the outline, we offset the wood magnet figure by 1/4″ to create a border. To recap: what is RED will be cut, then what is BLACK will be engraved. We deleted the interior line. Note: remember to size a hole for the magnet you will be gluing to the back of this! You will need to get out a set of calipers or a ruler. Measure twice, cut once.
Step 4. Ready for printing to PDF.
While in AutoCAD paper space, use zoom – scale – 1XP to set the scale of the drawing to 1 to 1. Print to .PDF and open this file in Adobe Illustrator. It will be scaled correctly.
Step 5. Vectorize Mr. T.
Adobe Illustrator is the shizzy. It’s a simple way to convert JPEGs (raster) to vector. If you don’t own it. You need to. Open your original black-and-white image, click to select it. Use Object – Image Trace – Make and Expand command and …boom. Now cut and paste this vector image into your printed magnet outline drawing. Scale if needed.
Step 5. Ready for Laser Cutting.
You can now remove your guides, unless you plan on engraving this into your design. Print to the laser engraver/cutter.
Step 6. Burnt Wood.
For this exercise, we utilized 1/8″ basswood. It’s light but not as durable. The lasercut magnets that we sell on our store are instead made of cedar, cherry, and walnut. These are much more durable. Note the hole is cut to receive the magnet.
Step 7. Cut and Engrave a Face.
Our magnets are a two stage system. The back is cut fully through and then we apply a wood veneer to the face of the backing. One, this expands the options of the wood types you can offer the public (wood veneer types seem endless) and two, this provides the backing to hold the magnet in place. Duh.
On the left you see a walnut sample, on the right is cherry.
Step 8. Get to Gluing.
First, apply the wood veneer face onto the laser cut magnet base. Then, glue a magnet to the back into the hole you so accurately and diligently measured. Once dry, you can start pushing magnets on the net in your very own sweatshop ( I mean studio).
Step 9. Hang Them Up and Pity Fools.
We would like to formally thank Mr. T for sharing his face for this tutorial on DIY laser cutting your own wood magnet.
If you would like to learn more about Nanogram is its uber modern wood designs for the people, please visit us at our Etsy store: www.etsy.com/shop/Nanogramstore or our Big Cartel shop www.nanogram.bigcartel.com/.
You may just find that one-off gift for your girlfriend, boyfriend, dad, mum, husband, wife, bridesmaids, maid-of-honor, groomsmen or bestman.