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Laser cut print block

August 10th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Hodapp’s laser cut business cards are really cool, but they take ~7 minutes each to etch and cut out.  I was curious if perhaps we could instead etch a business card stamp and use that to mass produce some business cards.

I did some research and found out that while Linoleum print blocks would be safe to etch, many cheaper print blocks are no longer made from true Linoleum, instead they are made with a cheaper PVC plastic.  With that in mind I stopped at a couple hobby stores and picked up a variety of print blocks.

The first one I tested was the one I was most doubtful of, a greyish flexible substance which looked suspiciously like a PVC plastic.  The burn tests were not very conclusive, there was no solid bright green flame, but there were spurts of green flame.  It was enough that I did not want to risk it.

The second material tested is pictured above and it came through the burn test without any issues and it looked like pictures I had seen of real linoleum with a glue backing.

Using the B/W gradient pattern that Hodapp created I did several test runs to determine how much power would be needed to get a good depth.  I also shamelessly stole the Hive13 logo from his project file.

The first result turned out pretty well except for a couple mundane details:

As you can see I forgot to mirror the image, and the thin line that goes around the 1 & 3 is too thin to survive stamping more than once or twice.  It still stamped pretty well though:

For attempt #2 I mirrored the image and used Gimp to beef up the outline.  Since I was in a rush I did not really try to make it have a super smooth outline after “growing” the perimeter of the logo.  This resulted in a rather pixelated border.

Total cut time per stamp was ~30 minutes, but could probably be sped up by optimizing the cut power // speed.  Also I think this stamp a fairly large stamp and smaller ones would obviously be faster to cut out.

Final stamping action:

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