Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Laser Name Tag Project – David He

Motivation and Initial Designs

Part I – The Icon

For this project, I decided to design a custom icon. I wanted to display my specialty, which was the ability to fuse two elements from different franchises and backgrounds into one design. I feel there is often synergy to be found in the most unusual pairs, and I’m always looking for common themes or motifs found in my favorite franchises.

Prototype Icon Design

The first design was made with Adobe Illustrator, as a reference to both Nier: Automata and Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, which were both franchises that affected me deeply. However, the different tones of grey made the icon difficult to implement as a laser-cut piece, so I shelved it for use as a vinyl sticker.

The second icon was created as a fusion of the video game franchises Dishonored and Xenoblade Chronicles. I took the iconic Outsider’s Mark and fused it with Shulk’s Monado icon (found in Super Smash Brothers) as a statement of how art and technology can blend together in interesting ways

Part II – The Nametag

For the name tag itself, I felt it would be appropriate to add more into the background of the design. Going along with the ‘Art and Technology’ theme, I decided to create the background using clean, rasterized shapes (based on the Monado’s circular designs). This creates a sense of modernity and cleanliness, while the more stylized icon and font would be overlaid on top, representing calligraphy and art built upon a technological base.

Build Process and Modification

Initially, I planned to create the tag using two plywood layers, using a background with rasterized designs etched into it, while the second layer would be the icon and font which would ‘pop out’ at the observer. I ran into an issue when cutting this second layer out, as the font size caused the laser to focus its heat on a relatively small area, causing the wood to burn from overexposure.

Whoops! Looks like my words were too small.

Since I did not want to redo the name tag to work with a larger font, I was instead advised by one of the TAs (Emily) to work with a clear acrylic rasterization and then fill the indents with paint, creating a finish on the piece. I decided to test this method, and when I saw the result, I decided to apply it to the background as well

The Name Tag, nearly completed

The result was a very clean-looking name tag created from 2 1/8″ pieces of clear acrylic. Although I initially intended to fill the etchings with paint, I decided I was already quite pleased with the result and left it as is. To finish I had to seal the edges of both acrylic pieces with acrylic glue (a material that was a tad difficult to work with), and as of the time of this post, the tag still needs to wait a few hours to fully bond and seal. Additionally I intend to polish and sand down the edges to get rid of excess glue, but otherwise the tag is complete.

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