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Laser Cut Acrylic Stencils

This project was an experiment with laser cutting acrylic on an Emblaser 2 diode laser cutter to get a feel for how much detail could be included in a stencil and still retain a solid structure. The work from this project led to the development of the Native Bird stencils released under the Making It brand.

The process involved using Inkscape to trace existing images and then refine to a path suitable for laser cutting. Some detail was refined or removed to ensure the walls and joins in the stencil were strong enough to laser cut effectively. A template was created for these stencils to fit over a standard flat white or latte cup. The resulting SVG file was imported into LightBurn to set up the cuts for 3mm acrylic and as the laser frequency in the Emblaser 2’s diode cuts black acrylic the most efficiently that was used for the stencils.

What we learned:

  • Diode lasers are quite slow but for a small studio they are safe and comparatively easy to use
  • Black acrylic cuts well on a diode laser
  • 3mm acrylic is remarkably strong and small connectors and lines can be cut without losing detail
  • An average flat white raises its game with a stencil on it 
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