Since I am a fan of the recent movie “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” I decided to make a sticker of the main character from that movie. To further complicate my design, I added the arch reactor of iron man on his chest.
I took a screenshot of spider-man directly from the movie myself and found a template of the arch reactor on the internet. I had to trace out the colors by hand since the image did not have clear borders around the colors. Since I am more comfortable using photoshop compared to Inkscape, I used photoshop to do the trick.
I traced out the primary colors by hand, do some cleanups on the edges, and filled the shapes with solid colors.
I went through a similar process to paste the arc reactor on the chest. Added the missing color and cut off the edge a little to make it seem like it is behind the jacket.
Once the image was imported in Inkscape, it was ready to be printed. However, I noticed that the layers of the colors were all messed up in there order and shapes. To challenge my skills with Inkscape, I reshaped each color the way I wanted them to be as a sticker.
Left is what it looked like when I imported the image. Right is when I edited each color parts.
After a short session of printing and assembling the stickers, I was done with my project.
During the activity, the majority of the time was spent constructing the design in photoshop. The physical works were quick, unlike the name tag project. However, the most challenging part was assembling the stickers. As you can see on my final product, there are air bubbles, and the arch reactor is slightly misplaced. Even though I was using transfer tape and was extremely cautious, it was challenging to make it perfect.
In my free time, I spend it playing a video game called Overwatch. One of the characters (Mei) has a little helper robot called snowball. I wanted to have an Overwatch sticket, so I thought to make my own! All of the pictures I found all had a fair amount of shading (as is seen in the original picture) and some rough edges. I thought I would use this as an opportunity to use inkscape to manipulate it into what I need it to look like.
To start, I used a color trace method in inkscape , the result was…less than good. I was able to get 4 layers that gave me the primary shapes, but they were very incomplete and distorted. This was going to require a lot of path and node manipulation.
Color traced image
Exploded image of the layers I got
I needed a way to work on each of these layers without moving them so I could see them and then needing to layer by eye or snaps which did not work great due to the odd shape. So, I actually sent each layer to its own inkscape layer, where I could then hide each layer, or expose while I worked on the paths almost like working with transparency film.
Layering in inkscape used to keep everything aligned but still allowed me to work on each path individually.
From here, it was a lot of splicing paths, joining paths, connecting paths, and switching between node types to get a final image that I felt was a good representation of Snowball, but that had all the right path shapes I needed to be cut.
Final look of the illustration
From there it was time to pick out my colors, I got three out of my four colors from the scraps bin, but for the last I had to buy a foot of vinyl.
I then prepared my material by cleaning with some 99% isopropyl alcohol to make sure everything would stick to itself without issue.
My next hurdle was going to be how to apply these layers so they line up as best as possible, my hands are not steady enough and the material not forgiving enough to do this freehand. So I came up with a method to help me. I started by adding a rectangle around the image that I wanted the cutter to cut (ideally all the way through, but I could not find the right depth, and I did not want to risk damaging the machine). This rectangle was unique because it was referenced to the image, so it would be a constant, fixed, and predictable location for every layer. I would cut each layer, then first peel off the vinyls to the outer rectangle, then cut the square backing to match.
rectangle around whole image
Then remove the unneeded sections to prepare for layering. For my base layer, I secured it to the table with tape, then I would line up the edges of the backing paper of next layer over top of the base layer. Then I would place my transfer tape on top of all of it, making sure to have enough tape at the top that also grabbed the table.
Then I would peel back the tape using the top part on the table like a hinge, then remove the backing.
Finally, I would just squeegee the tape back over the base layer, therefore depositing my next layer perfectly placed on top of my base.
This procedure was repeated for each layer, providing me with the finished product.
Overall, I liked how this came out. I am happy my idea for lining up the layers worked as well as it did. In the future, I would use a more sticky tape to affix the base layer to the table. I used the transfer tape itself which I had to be very careful with because it would want to lift up with each layer application, so I had to keep an eye on it and move slowly.
Final product with size comparison.
For this project I wanted to make a simple nameplate. Generally I prefer more minimalistic designs, and the main icon I wanted to incorporate was this dove:
I wasn’t going for anything complex; my idea was just a simple name sign in wood. I followed the process of tracing a bitmap image as the instructor demonstrated in class in order to raster the dove. Creating, resizing, aligning, and grouping the various shapes for the design helped familiarize me with the Inkscape interface and different shortcuts to speed up the workflow. Since I love music and have been playing multiple instruments for several years, I wanted to somehow incorporate a piano into the layout; however, as the design developed I couldn’t figure out how to gracefully put one in. Eventually, the groups of two and three stars around the border were originally meant to emulate groups of two/three black keys on a piano.
I do wish I could’ve spent more time on a more complicated design and expanded into using multiple mediums as some of my classmates did (eg. vinyl, paint, acrylic). Admittedly I did feel a little rushed, and good ideas take time to grow. However, I do appreciate this project in that it’s sparked a joy in freely creating things by hand, as well as a desire to do some more exploration in personal projects. The dove icon is of personal significance, so I would like to make another design on my own time in the future. I now feel much more comfortable in exploring different features in Inkscape and vectoring/rastering designs. I think this project was a good start to understanding the nature of this class: that it’s not about coming up with the perfect design, but simply letting creativity flow and ideas diversify, finding inspiration and instruction from my peers, and just seeing where things go.
The final nametag
When we were first assigned the nametag project, I knew I wanted to do something music related. I’ve always loved listening to and playing music on the piano & guitar :). I was also probably inspired when I first opened inkscape and when the text tool was selected, the font had already been set to symusic.
I immediately started looking online for music staff silhouettes, but of course I didn’t want them to be perfectly straight. I saw a few examples that captured the feeling or design I wanted, but wasn’t quite the right size to fit my name, or was almost but not exactly to my liking.
And one common theme I saw is that the proportions were awful in all the examples I could find. The notes were tiny! Also, I’d of course have to get rid of them to fit my name on there. So I learned how to use the pen tool with splines, drew one line that I felt had the right length, thickness, and ‘wavyness’, then also learned about the spacing tool to create 5 copies and space them equally apart.
Of course, through all of this, there were several members in the FabLab helping me discover and use all of these tools.
Then I found a trebel clef symbol, and fit it onto the 5 lines (proportionately). Then I drew my own double bar line at the end, because I realized it seemed a bit empty on that corner.
My original intention was to have all the space in-between cut out (between the staff lines, in the letters of my name, etc) but I realized that would make my nametag quite too flimsy, especially towards the right side where there would be barely any material left. So, by the suggestion of a FabLab member, I decided to raster the image onto a more solid back.
After laser cutting and rastering, the members who have already helped me so far made a final suggestion – to add a magnetic nametag fastener on the back, and it turned out great!
Magnets on the back
Reflection: (I’m not sure how explicit this has to be)
Overall, the nametag definitely came out a lot better than I originally thought that it would come out. I also learned that laser cutter rastering doesn’t come out quite as dark as I thought, and I have to be more careful in balancing the grayscale – I’d expected the letters of my name to be much darker than the musical notations but they turned out very similar shades (despite being 100% black vs 30% gray). I feel that I’m much more comfortable in inkscape, because even two days ago I had only the vaguest idea of its features and capabilities, although I know I’m just barely scratching the surface.
I think one last thing that I have to get better at is getting a sense of scale from the computer screen to the final product – I had originally thought it would come out much bigger. Because of that, there were some design/sizing decisions that I was about to make that the wonderful FabLab members safely steered me away from (I’d almost made a 1.5-inch wide nametag)
This project has me very excited for the later ones to come, I had so much fun creating this nametag despite being a relatively small project. I love the open ended nature of the makerspace, providing both creative and technical freedoms 🙂
Name tag in-class demo
Key chain charm inspiration
I was excited about working with a laser cutter since I haven’t created anything with it yet. The demo name tag of the Great Wave I made during class was smaller than I’d like, with complex details and the burnt edges of the cut out name was hard to read. At first, I wanted to redo it for my project but then I wanted to do cut out more interesting shapes, which reminded me of lapel pins so I went straight to Pinterest and started a new board looking for inspiration.
I am a graphic designer and wanted my name tag to reflect that part of me in a fun way, especially since the Fab Lab is a hub for creation, I am sure there would be audience that would appreciate it. I was inspired by a key charm my friend gave me last year that was a sparkly .psd file hastily named asdasds.psd because it was #relatable. Also, I am a sucker for seeing online motifs and tools manifested physically, blurring the lines of digital and reality so this was right up my alley.
I decided to remix the Photoshop file icon, by changing it to my initials (HS), and INFO instead of the original ‘PSD’, incorporating the class into my design. I wanted a transparent back so it can incorporate the file name text, allowing the shirt to mimic a desktop background. The holographic vinyl in the scrap bin caught my eye and I definitely wanted to incorporate it into my name tag. The design is fairly simple, only three colors, and only having to match up and layer the color once. I am proud of my arrangement of color and placement, as the sticker cutting process had three colors cut in only one try and I had extras prepared in case I messed up.
Vinyl going through cutter
The tricky part was making sure the acrylic shape was proportional to the sticker dimension. I forgot to resize it the first time, since Fab Lab has different software and machines on separate computers in different rooms hooked up to different machines so it was not as seamless as I would like to hope. I was also worried that the name tag might be too small to be readable; it was difficult to translate a digital design on a screen to a physical and wearable object.
At the end, I was quite happy with the results. The thing I should have kept in mind was the technique of putting the vinyl sticker on the acrylic, since I have a noticeable air bubble trapped in the middle of the sticker. I also liked how resourceful and efficient I was with the material, as I only used scrap materials and didn’t spend money on laser cutting time. If I could do this again, I would like to try having clear acrylic with glitter as the base instead of plain clear acrylic. I also like other spin offs of Adobe Creative Suite file icons if given more time and motivation.
Name tag result
Laser Name Tag Project
I was a little nervous before this project, because I had not worked with laser cutters before. At first I wasn’t sure what to make, but I knew I should do something related to music, since I am a music major. After brainstorming about it for some time, I settled on the Idea that I should make a synthesizer name tag, because I want to go into sound design and I’m always working with sound synthesis.
When I first began making the design for it I wasn’t sure if my idea was going to work out because I could not get a clear image of a synthesizer. Thankfully I eventually found a drawing of one, the Pittsburgh Modular Voltage Research Laboratory. I decided to raster this into the material. Originally, I completely forgot about any vectoring, so I decided it would be cool to cut holes out for the patch points and put in some little patch cables later.
Originally I had planned on doing this with wood, but I really liked some of the acrylic examples that were shown to me so I thought I would go for that and give it a try. Luckily, there was some black acrylic in the scrap basket.
This is the tag after it first came out of the laser cutter:
After this I wanted to make tiny patch cables for it. I initially wanted to use string, but I saw that I could use some scrap wire from the electronics section at the fab lab, so I began experimenting with it. Although it looked ok, there wasn’t any way to hold the wires in the holes so I decided to hot glue them.
And this is the finished project:
I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out, but I would do somethings differently if I did it again. One thing is the size, It is basically the full 4 inches square, which is probably too big for a practical name tag. Also, the acrylic makes it sort of heavy for its size. The music note I put on it was intended to be a different shade of rastering than the rest, although it didn’t really turn out that way. All in all I thought the project was fun and it turned out neat, but if I got another chance I would make it smaller. I had a lot of fun designing and creating this and learned a few things about laser cutting.
When I first initially started this project, I had some inspiration based on the example name tags that were seen during lab. However, this was my first time using Inkscape along with the laser machinery so in the end, I decided to keep the design simple.
While using Inkscape for the first time, I was kind of confused on how to use the program and how exactly it would print out the image. However, after playing around with the program and seeing the laser, I got the hang of it and designing became slightly easier.
Since I love eating chocolate, I chose to base my name tag around a chocolate bar. To spice things up a bit, I replaced the “O” in my name with a pumpkin because I was born in October and Halloween is my favorite holiday.
During the lab section, we briefly talked about raster vs vector. I was mostly leaning toward keeping my name tag using the raster method, but I was still curious of how the vector method would turn out to be. So in the end, I decided to use the vector method on my little California state image. I was fairly shocked at the precision of how the image was cut out.
In the end, the overall name tag came out pretty amazing. Even though the end design is very simple, it was personalized by me making it pretty awesome! If I were to make a revision on this project, it probably be to make it slightly larger and use the raster method on the whole name tag.
My name-tag was inspired by my current masters degree and my previous studies in film. I wanted my name-tag to incorporate elements that were important to me. I am a Librarian Studies graduate student and like many librarians, love to read/like books. Additionally, I was a Film and Television Producing student many moons ago and I still love films. I was also excited to have a chance to work with Inskcape again. I have used Inskcape before to make a magnet for a 3D printer at my former job, but I am not terribly knowledgeable about laser cutters or the Inkscape program.
I knew that I wanted to have a project that was layered, similar to Professor Emilie’s acrylic design. The original concept was to do the name-tag on acrylic. The wood was meant to be a prototype as I was told that if the wood did not look good, then the acrylic would not either. However, after spending an additional two hours after class on Thursday, trying to make the name-tag feasible, I decided to stick with wood, primarily out of frustration.
My first attempt- the reel was in two pieces
Note the charring in the wood
The reason my original project did not work was that I had too many nodes. Consequently, when the laser printer followed the nodes, it had to go over the same spots multiple times, which increased the pieces breaking apart and getting damaged. The raster was perfect, but the items were still attached to the original wood. Thus, we re-vectored it and ultimately, it was too much for the pieces to handle.
As a result, I tried to keep the calligraphy aspect, but I realized that for letters like “m” and “n,” there were still too many lines and thus, I would run into the same issues. Therefore, I got rid of the lines in the “s” and the “i” and changed the latter half of my name to simple text to not spend hours trying to get rid of extra lines. I was kind of sad about that because I really liked the calligraphy aspect as I wanted to give the appearance of having written the words by hand.
Then, I decided to switch book images. My original had lots of lines, like the calligraphy name, and to simplify everything, I found a simpler silhouette.
On Tuesday, I decided to come during open hours and see if my tweaks worked. I had to reset the parameters, like making sure the lines were still 0.001 inches, the fill colors were red 255, etc. Luckily, I realized that my .pdf file was not correct and I was able to correct it before going to the laser and printing it out.
This is to show how many Inkscape projects I had before I completed the assignment
Overall, I still need to improve my Inkscape skills. Although, I thought I had removed the lines that would cause issues, I was assisted by the lab technician with removing others to ensure that my name-tag would not char the way that it did last time. While I got to do some of this removal, he ended up doing a lot of it for me because I was not competent and I was very slow.
If I had more time, I would have done my name differently, made it larger so that the letters would be less likely to fall apart. When I printed with the laser, it destroyed the cut-out letters, so I decided to use the name from the leftover wood. To help with this, the lab technician suggested that I draw a rectangle to give the illusion of a name-tag backing.
The finished product is a hot-glued amalgamation of several pieces. I spent time trying to decide if the reel should go over the book and not the letters. In the end, I decided that I liked the idea of having the film reel near the letter, “s,” and draped over the book and the name portion.
Moreover, I am glad that it turned out well. I received a lot of help and this was quite daunting. I had never used a laser cutter. The first time I used the machine, I was constantly getting Maxx or Duncan to help as I worried that the fire was too high and that I was in danger of burning down the lab. I may decided to incorporate this in my final project.
I made a circular name tag with my name on the bottom with one of my favorite fonts, two cocktails with the drinks, inner part of the glasses, cut out, and a moon engraved on the black acrylic. Below is my design.
I used different shapes of gray to engrave the moon, table, and tiny details (such as olives, pineapple, cocktail glasses). I used the red stroke for all the cutting parts such as the inner area of the glasses and the name tag itself. I wanted to cut out the inner parts for aesthetics, so that any background it’s in can look like drinks in the glasses, like the photos on the top of the post or below.
One mistake I made was making the straw too thin, which broke while removing the inner piece of the tall cocktail glass. I had to use a super glue to stick it back. The pineapple, small triangle on the left glass, was originally cut out, but I glued it back due to personal preference.
Using black acrylic as the material was very fun, although the speed was very slow and felt like it took forever to finish cutting/engraving. Though completing this assignment, I learned about and understood the difference among different materials and their unique characteristics while using the laser cutter.
Design and build process
When discussing this assignment in lab, one of the instructors mentioned that we could make our nametag into whatever shape but preferably not something sharp for obvious reasons. I immediately thought of circles which led to the idea of clouds. Also, though several of the nametag examples given in class were very intricate, I knew that I wanted mine to be very simple as I consider myself as such. After looking through several Google images of cloud silhouettes I thought of layering different pieces of material on top of each other to make the nametag more interesting.
I also decided to add a still from the movie Ponyo which is one of my favorite movies and thought it would fit the almost child-like cloud design. As for my name, I decided to make it a vector on both cloud layers. For the material, I figured that the illustration would be burned into the wood best and decided on a blue acrylic for the top cloud layer.
I superglued both layers after laser cutting them and the final product is pictured below.
Considering how I wanted my final product to be very simple, I’m quite happy with how it turned out. Looking back, I wish I had found a different type of wood or possibly stained it to be slightly darker. Also, though I imagined the blue acrylic to be a bit more translucent, I am glad I was at least lucky enough to find a blue material that would contrast with the wood. I’m very thankful I had to help of the staff at the Fab Lab especially when it came to set up the laser and ensuring I had the right color and width for my design. If I had to do this project again, I would reconsider the materials to make my vision come true of a playful and simple nametag.
My project for this week was to make an engraved name tag. My Career Fair is rapidly approaching, so I decided to make a variant of the name tags that are used in that setting to give me a creative edge in the battle for employment post-graduation.
I began by finding the relevant documentation for the name tag inserts:
After easing into the use of Inkscape, I got to work on making my design. I wanted to maintain the name/major/date format in the original design, but try to make the text a bit bigger. This resulted in version 1 of the design:
Version 1 of the nameplate, using basic text and a curved edge.
The post-production result for version 1.
The result for the first iteration had a few issues that came as a result of first-time experience in the Lab. The laser takes some time to warm up, so the top of my engraved name (notably the I and H) was cut a bit short. In addition, the laser cut had not fully burned through the top end of the 1/8 inch plywood, resulting in an unrefined edge along the top.
Version 2 brought new changes, the most prominent being a decorative border around the outer edge of the nameplate. In addition to the border, I learned how to align objects horizontally and vertically, allowing for a more clean layout on the design.
Version 2 of the design, featuring a border and aligned elements.
Version 2 of the resulting product, with a missing section of wood on the bottom left edge.
I didn’t realize until the near-end of the engraving process that my choice of wood did not give me enough room to carve out the entire piece. As a result, a small section on the bottom edge was missing from the final product. I’ll look to keep a closer eye on that in the future.
Onto Version 3! This one was focused on refining the design I already felt comfortable with. Changes include:
- Adjusting the curve on the edges of the inner border to feel more aligned with the outer border
- Enlarging the name and date texts to make more efficient use of the whitespace remaining withing the tag.
Design for version 3, with adjusted text and borders.
Printed result for version 3, with no major issues or concerns remaining.
Design and Planning:
For my name tag, I wanted to pick something that not only would represent me, but that I could actually use in my day-to-day life. When I’m not in classes, I am a full-time Linux Systems Administrator for the University’s College of Engineering. As such, I was thought I’d make the name tag have something to do with Linux and computers in general. So I had to start by having the Linux mascot on there, so Tux was used to represent my Linux involvement. I then also used my name converted into ASCII binary and placed it underneath my name in regular ASCII. I also wanted to show that not only was I a Linux enthusiast, but I am also an administrator, so a little command line excerpt from Linux to show that I am root also seemed appropriate. That was for the front. for the back, I figured I could try and get fancy. I added the Commodore logo which was the brand of the first computer I ever used. I also included a QR code that would correspond to a vcard with my contact information. This still seemed to simplistic for me, and I had work-provided name tags that were no real different. So I thought, what if I had it hold my business cards that was I can take it to conferences and have them at the ready! and my idea was born! Finally, I decided to use the same font that is used on most computer terminals, and I downloaded the custom font pack and chose one I liked.
To accomplish the ability to hold business cards, I decided to try a three piece construction, a front and back, with a spacer to give room for ~10 cards. The back had a cutout to allow the top edge of the cards to be seen, as well as a finger cutout to make it easier to pull out a card. Earlier ideas had the slot for the cards on the side, but without complicating the design further, it was going to be too easy for the cards to fall out, as such I opted to use gravity to my advantage.
Final set of pieces cut out of 1/8″ clear acrylic on the Universal Laser. Since gluing acrylic can be tricky and I decided to use a mechanical means of fastening the three pieces. This then would also make it such that I could print multiple backs and fronts and swap them out depending on the occasion. Since the software would be far more precise than I could be with a drill, I opted to have the laser vector out the holes for the screws.
In doing this, I did discover that sometimes (either by my hand or a bug with inkscape) my drawing has been nudged by ~1/64″ and since I was working at a precision of 1/32″ I needed to correct this. So a lot of fine detail work and use of inkscape’s snapping tools helped me make sure the three pieces were as identical as I could make them.
Overall, I am quite happy with how it turned out. things I would need to address if I could do it again would be to find a way to give the rasters more contrast since they can be a bit hard to see. Also, my QR code ended up not working, I think due to the contrast issue described. Otherwise, my meticulousness with the measurements was fruitful, everything fit together great, the slot for the cards fits like a glove, yet allows them to be pulled out easily. Furthermore, it was functional as I was able to wear it!
I did add a piece of orange paper (go Illini) to the front to help with contrast. I tried to use paint pens and sharpie to color in the rasters, but I could not get it to look right, so I wiped it all off. Furthermore, printing it in a mirrored manner so that the rasters are actually on the bottom/inside instead of the outside would eliminate the shadowing effect which might make it easier to read.