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

Posts Tagged ‘Assignment 1: Laser Name Tags’

Ranvit – Laser Name Tag

For my name tag, I was very interested in testing out how precise a laser cutter could be. I initially wanted to incorporate a very intricate silhouette – like the one below.

However, I began thinking about vectoring such a design – just to kick it up a notch and work with negative spaces in the design. However, I was worried that a very thin vectored pattern could be susceptible to breakage.

So I wanted to make a simpler, thicker pattern that I’d want vectored and cut out.

I have been playing basketball for 10 years and I’ve watched basketball religiously for 4 – so I wanted to incorporate this into my name tag.

I began drawing my basketball shape, since I couldn’t figure out how to do this with ellipses alone.

My iterative process.
First I was hand drawing – then a volunteer showed me how to invert a trace, and I arrived at neater solutions

I then realized that I could work with 2 layers – first layer contains the silhouette of basketball lines, and I could paste this onto a second layer that contained text, which fit within the silhouette lines!

I made the basketball lines in the second layer GREEN with Raster/Vector, so that the lines would be Rastered, but using the vector path algorithm.
It was very cool seeing the laser do Raster/Vector.

The 2 layers!
I wanted to do black lines, and an orange background, both on acrylic.
However, I really liked the idea of using multiple materials also, so I made the background out of plywood.

I then used superglue to glue them together to get my finished product

Jeremy was the volunteer who helped me out with my design process and implementation. I was talking through my ideas with him. I originally wanted a singular layer, with the basketball-holes-silhouette, and my info on the rest of the name tag.
It was Jeremy’s idea to use 2 layers, and write my info on the second layer. Hats off to him.

He also recommended setting a slower speed while Rastering my wood, so that I would get a deeper etch. I felt like this was important since my name tag already has depth from using 2 layers.

I’m beyond satisfied with how my project came out, and thinking through my ideas and implementation with Jeremy BEFORE I started any printing was vital to the success of this on the very first try.

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Assignment 1: Laser Name Tag

Since I was a kid I’ve been a fan of Studio Ghibli films, especially those written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, so right off the bat I knew I wanted to create something related to that for my first project in this course. So I decided what better way to reflect that than to incorporate one of his most notable (and cutest) characters, Totoro, from “My Neighbor Totoro”?

My Neighbor Totoro film cover

In the demo version I made in our lab section, I simply added a simple silhouette image of Totoro along with my name (pictured below).

Initial design, made in lab section

However, for my final version, I wanted to make Totoro the most prominent feature of the name-tag as well as incorporate my name into the design more cleverly. Originally, my idea was to vectorize along the outline of Totoro so that the name-tag was shaped like him, then put my name somewhere on the body (i.e. the tummy area). However, I had some difficulties figuring out how to only color the outline of the image in red for cutting, and decided in order to save time, I would just make a simple shape and place the image inside. In order to incorporate my name in a clever way, I took advantage of Inkscape’s feature of manipulating edge nodes in the traced bitmap of the image by removing the “Totoro” in “My Neighbor Totoro” and replacing it with my name in a similar font style, so it instead spelled out “My Neighbor Tanya” (see below).

I used the black-to-white acrylic material and lasered away everything except for Totoro and leaves so that the background was white and left the images in black. Then I glued it to a wooden base I vectorized so the name-tag was a bit thicker and more robust.

Final product

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, especially the way my name fit into the title. If I had more time I would’ve spent it figuring out how to shape it like Totoro, but overall I still had lots of fun creating it.

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Laser Cut Name Tag

During the first lab hours, I made this name tag. The outer shape is mimicking ninja with head cover. The logo in the back was downloaded from the Internet as a vector image. I tried using raster to create shades in the background. But the finish is less than perfect. Although I set the letters of my name as pure black, and the background shades as 50% black (or gray). The burnt effect is not emphasizing the letters from the background. Actually, way different from what it looks like in the software. However, this is a valuable experience, and I enjoyed the process. The burnt smell of the wood was good, as well.

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Laser Name Tag

Final Product above

In the first lab section, we were told that we were to make a name tag that captures our personalities. We were then told to make a basic name tag in order to get used to the Inkscape software. Since the name tags were supposed to resonate with our personalities, I decided to make my name tag based around a hobby that I’ve had for as long as I can remember: video games. In this case, I decided to use my favorite video game franchise: Pokémon. For my basic name tag, I went with a pokéball with my name on it.

Basic Name Tag

For the pokéball, I used the Trace Bitmap function of Inkscape on an image of a pokéball and simply added my name to it. I liked the idea of the pokéball for a name tag, but I felt that I needed something a bit more complex for the final submission. After getting some advice, I decided to make myself into a Pokémon card for my name tag.

I initially attempted to use an image of a blank Pokémon card and use the Trace Bitmap function, but the varying colors and edges would not allow the image to work. The next best option was to draw it myself. For the boxes of the card, I simply used the rectangle tool. For the more complex shape surrounding the boxes, I used the free hand tool. I then used the Trace Bitmap function on my Facebook profile picture and placed it in the box in the top half of the card, and added the text using various fonts for the rest of the card.

Final Name Tag

I enjoyed every minute of designing this project, along with printing it using the Epilog laser. I feel that the name tag came out quite well. It demonstrates one of my interests while displaying information such as my full name, school, major and graduation date. It can always be improved, however. I could have added more detail to the background of the card itself, and possible even printed the Pokémon Trading Card Game logo on the back, etc. Overall, I had a positive experience with making these name tags, and look forward to the projects we do in the future with this class.

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Nametag: Drew Zelac

In the beginning … there was an idea. In the end … there was a very different idea.

Before I began my design in Inkscape, I spent some time coming up with my two ideas. The first idea consisted of a bike with a tennis ball as one of the wheels and a wide tennis racquet somehow embedded in the other wheel. I soon realized that I would not have much space for my name in this design and it wouldn’t be able to incorporate many other of my interests as well.

This led to my second and final idea, which incorporates my fondness of beer and many other interesting details about me. I chose to use an svg image of a beer bottle with a visible crown on the bottle. Then I thought of a bunch of other things I like such as goldfish, popcorn, milk, and bad jokes. I tried to model the design on the beer bottle from other beer bottle designs I have seen previously, but with some modifications.

Creating the design in Inkscape

I looked through the fonts to try to find some nice ones, especially for the name itself and the est date. For the remainder of the text, I thought it best to have one font, to avoid having too many different fonts on the nametag. I also was able to find an image on Wikipedia Commons of my home state with my county highlighted, so I was able to use that as an image to raster on the bottle. I considered adding more in the space between my name and the Assembled at UIUC text as well as between the est and the cap, but I decided that it would be best to leave some white space on the design, as to not overcrowd it.

While I was creating the design, I did get stuck a few times and needed some help. One time in particular was when I was trying to change the original color on the bottle from black to clear, but doing this would change the cap to clear as well. After tinkering with it for a little while, I asked Duncan for help and he showed me the techniques needed in order to accomplish this. I also needed some resizing help, as the original beer bottle that I imported came in at around 13 inches tall.

PDF ready to print

After resizing the image from the original 13 inches, I made a pdf and proceeded to print it out. At this point I thought the design I made had been shortened to around 4 inches, but when I asked someone for help with the laser cutter, he noticed that it was much larger than 4 inches. On my computer, when I checked the height, I actually clicked a different tool, which showed me the height of a certain node in the design, rather than the entire design’s height. The final design in the pdf was actually 10 inches tall.

I decided to print it out at this size anyway, as my original ideal size was around 8 inches, which would be a bit shorter than a normal beer bottle. So I sent the print request to the laser cutter and waited for it to come out.

During the engraving
Finished product

I think it actually turned out pretty well. The only problem during the rastering and vectoring process was when the left edge was being cut out. My design had the red line to be cut on right on the edge of the layout. When the machine was cutting it out, it failed to cut a bit of the wood on the left side due to this and due to the wood that was being cut not completely against the edge of the machine. To fix this I had to sand a bit of the edge off.

If I had to change anything, I would have left a bit of space on the edge of the design, so the above edge problem wouldn’t occur. I would also make the design somewhat smaller. I wouldn’t want to make it too small, but it might have been better if it were around 6 inches instead of 10.

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Nametag Project

Patrick Hurtado

For my nametag project, I definitely wanted something that has a lot of utility; something that can be worn at both a career fair or convention or any social gathering, and still feel appropriate. So I decided to take the conventional “HELLO / my name is” nametag and add my own personality into it.

Ideation Phase

The process began with the idea of modifying the classic nametag sticker into something more interesting and unique, while still keeping its versatile functionality.

Something I thought would be interesting would be add space for a whiteboard. This again, would further the functionality, as the space would allow me to write either “Computer Science 2019” or “#1 Dad” or whatever was appropriate for the occasion, and still be reusable.

Something else I wanted to add was an extension to the nametag, that again would serve a purpose. What I chose to do was create a “Notes” book that attached to the actual nametag with a piece of rope. They would also be bound to each other by rope. In it, I would glue small 2in x 2in post-it notes onto it. This could be used to write my information and give it to a recruiter or any other person of interest, or simply be used for fun.

Construction Phase

Construction phase was oddly difficult. I had a lot of trouble trying to get the laser to correctly cut my pieces, and spent a long time trying to debug my .svg to see why it would not detect certain red linings. I also worried that I made the red holes too close to the outside, meaning the holes would not be closed. In the end, however, I was able to successfully construct the parts together.

The main portion of the nametag
Axillary “Notes” book extention
Final product with cording, post-it notes, and whiteboard attached.


Looking back, I definitely would like to try more interesting things with this project, as well as design it differently. One thing I would change is the knoting and the choice of rope currently used. I would try to learn roping or use metal bands to clasp the notebook together. Something else I would most likely change is the choice of material. Since the marker could smudge onto the wood and stain it, I would choose material that would be less likely to stain. I would also like to choose something more interesting than acrylic for the whiteboard, such as glass. Ultimtately, I am happy with the direction I went with and am content with the final product.

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Jacob Pruiett Nametag

For my name tag, I wanted to make something that represented what I liked about being an electrical engineering major. My biggest design challenge was finding something to represent the part of electrical engineering that is hands on, how it helps people’s everyday lives, and to still keep the overall design aesthetically pleasing.

I came to the conclusion that a radio would be the perfect thing to model my design after, seeing as taking apart and reassembling radios is a hallmark of electrical engineering as a hobby, and that it is a product of electrical engineering that truly changed the world. It also helps that it is a nice design.

  • I decided when doing the radio that I wanted to do multiple layers of material when I started the project, so I have four distinct parts.
  • These parts consist of: a front face, a back plate with antennae and name, and two dials.
  • I decided to cut the fials out of the back plate since that space wouldn’t be visible when the tag is worn, and saves material and space for other people.
  • I also had raster markings on the face plate where the dials would be in order to make it easier to glue on after the design was cut.

After finalizing my design, I had to make the tough decision of what kind of material I wanted to use. After looking at the various acrylics and weighing the differences, I decided to stick to wood because I prefer the aesthetic.

Up next comes using the laser to cut out my design from a piece of plywood, then assembling the separate pieces with wood glue.

And finally, the finished product in all its glory!

On reflection, I have to say that I had more fun with this assignment than I originally thought I would. I think the overall design turned out looking very nice, but is simple enough to be easily identifiable at a glance. I do however wish that I had kept a better perspective on how thin the antennae was going to be when finally cut out, because it is very fragile, and if I had made the design wider at that section it would probably be much less of an issue.

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Laser Name Tag

Design Process

My initial design we did two weeks ago was a little too simple and small – it was mostly a result of me learning to play with Inkscape. While I was trying to come up with an idea for my final name tag, I was playing with the 3D shape maker and ended up making this random shape:

Once it was on the screen, I thought it would be really cool to print with the two sided acrylic. Since the 3D shape was gradient, I thought it would be interesting to see that in effect on acrylic. The 3D tool on Inkscape was a little difficult to perfect, so I ended up having my red vector line on the inside of my design so it would cut out the parts I wasn’t happy with. Overall, I wanted my nametag to be fairly simple so I could use anywhere – at work, at lab, or in the future.

Once it was in the printer, I was really excited that it had worked. The texture on it is very interesting, and there is a slight gradient to the acrylic. Then all I had to do was attach a magnet on the back of it. I really like my nametag, its design, and sturdiness. It’s simplicity will allow me to use it in the future.

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How I Gutted a Xbox Controller For Education

So, this week’s project was to create a name tag that represents them in some sort of way. Me being a game designer and video game addict I immediately went to games. My main thought process for most things starts off as a joke but then I end up refining it until I manage to make it work. More fun that way. Also, an interactive name tag, even though it’s just some lame buttons and a joystick, is a cool idea. In this post, I will be posting pictures of each component while listing off what went into the associated component.

Sidenote: I don’t know why the pictures are turning out so massive and text so small. really odd.

  • Here we have the innards of a broken xbox one controller
  • The gizmo on the left is the joystick.
  • Notice how there is no joystick on the right? I had to desolder it off because it wouldn’t fit the wooden frame.
  • Learning how to use a soldering iron was a little bit of a challenge but I’m glad I finally learned. TY to Amanda for showing me!
  • This was the process that took the
  • Not much went into this front plate but, there are some subtleties.
  • The plate was laser cut from a silhouette I found on google images and modified in Inkscape. I just removed the right joystick.
  • The font I wrote my name is from one of my favorite games, Titanfall. Adds a little more “me” into the project.
  • Finally, I used the laser cutter to cut the holes and raster my name in. EZ PZ.
  • Here is the final product!
  • The final thing was gluing.
  • I originally tried wood glue (cuz wood, duh) but it never ended up sticking.
  • Then, with the help of Duncan and Emilie, I found out the proper glue was a rubber adhesive.
  • Working buttons were achieved, I found a use for some old tech, all went well.
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Laser Name Tag

My first design was completely different from my end product. I liked the image I had on it but I did not think it would work as a real name tag. I knew I did not want my final design on wood because personally I am not a fan of the look. I know before I started designing that I wanted the outline of my name tag to be curvy and be simple but pretty. I personally do not have much experience with Inkscape so I decided to make my name tag in illustrator and then copy it to Inkscape. I used a brush stroke on Illustrator to get the fun line under my name, I also drew the outline of the shape to make sure it was exactly to my liking. After I placed it in Inkscape I noticed I had to fix some parts of it. This helped because I got to play around with Inkscape and get more familiar with it. I decided to alter some design aspects while in Inkscape and got to my final design.

I made sure to make what I wanted the laser to cut out in red, this is the vector part and anything I wanted etched or raster, I made black. It was important for me to also check the size of my art board to make sure it wasn’t to small or big. After making sure everything was set correctly I went to use the laser.

As I was watching it being cut I noticed my name was sort of difficult to see, next time I would probably choose a different acrylic or a different font. If I had more time I would definitely had played with different fonts and different design elements.

I also thought it would be fun to take the stars I cut out and glue them on top to give it more than one level. Using the glue was scary because it was toxic and I almost did not do it because of that but I am very happy I did because I love having the stars on it.

Overall, I am very happy with the way it came out. I love the color of the acrylic, even if it is sort of hard to read some of it. The hard part was figuring out what I wanted to make, but sometimes simple is all you need and I think it worked out.

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Laser Name Tag Project – Grant Johnson

My initial design that ended up being the look I carried on

Build Process

Most of the initial design for this project I was able to do within lab on the first day. After being introduced to Inkscape, I was able to take some elements from various icons online and create a design that incorporated both my name and two images.

For the first print-out, I just placed this object in a file where the coffin would be raster and there would be a vector box around it that would get cut out. After seeing that in-person I decided to ramp up my design by adding vector cut lines around the coffin. I also decided to cut out the ‘bottom’ of the coffin as well and place the whole thing on acrylic. From there I got two-tone acrylic to work with so that my raster lines would be very clear in the final product. When cutting that out with the Epilog I created some small fires within the laser printer that kind of scorched my name tag. I think this was essentially because of the bottom piece getting cut out, but maybe changing my cutting settings would have also affected this.

My final two-tone product being cut

After finishing with that, I then cut out another piece of acrylic. This time, I used a piece that had a metallic finish on one side. After cutting all of that out, I then superglued the pieces together to create my final product. Lastly, I attached a magnet to the back so that I would be able to wear the name tag. Throughout the entirety of my project I used Inkscape, the Epilog, superglue, and a bar magnet set.


Looking at my final product, I’m mostly pretty happy with my work. I was able to create a name tag using the exact parameters in my head, I think from this point it would just be more of a process of refining what I’ve already done.

I think the two sheets of acrylic give the name tag a really cool sense of variety and depth which I was happy with. I think that it could definitely be cleaned off some more (glue stains worked away, white acrylic cleaned with Tide Pen or something).

Nothing in this project was really exceptionally difficult, but I was able to use a lot of skills that I already know from using image processing software to make a physical product which was really cool. I learned a lot, especially in regards to Inkscape and laser etching/cutting and the process that goes into that.

The front of my final product
The back of my final product
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Laser Name Tag

Design and Planning

Career Fairs. Every undergraduate has a love-hate relationship with them. While donning the best business professional attire, one thing always seems out of place: The name tag.

Why not design a name tag that makes one stand out among the pack? So taking my mighty mechanical #2 pencil, I went to the drawing board!

First things first, how large of canvas are we working with?

Thankfully, I had another name tag from my position serving at the Newman Center to measure and trace out the dimensions.

Then, I was able to quickly design some iterations of what this name tag was going to look like. It needed to quickly, efficiently, and elegantly communicate my interests in the application of Computer Engineering with Genomics.

I had a few iterations, each beginning to fully flesh out how this name tag was going to look.

Ultimately, I honed in one the final design incorporating ideas from other peers as well.

By collaborating and talking with others, I was able to get constructive feed back on the design. One friend noted, “Are those music notes?” in reference to the electronic tracings, so I would make sure during the digital design phase I would make sure there was no confusion.

Description of Building Process

From here, I went on to the prototyping phase. Previously in lab, we laser cut some early versions of our name tags. During this, I was able to learn the essentials in operating the Universal Laser Systems X-600 from our section TA, Dot Silverman.

This allowed me to scope out potential problems with using the laser cutter ranging from incorrectly putting in the speed and power settings from the data sheet, to making sure the connection from computer to the laser cutter was fully secured, to problems due to incorrectly formatting our digital design.

Speaking of digital design, I did encounter some problems when creating the image. Particularly with the electronic traces as I could not find a pre-made silhouette of what I was going for.

To solve this problem, I made one single electronic trace. From there I grouped the individual shapes I used to compose it and duplicated the entire group twice. By resizing the two other traces, I was able to create the cascading electronic traces. Also, through the duplication process it recreated the standardized electronic trace feel through the consistency between the traces.

Finally, I think I was ready for the first iteration of this design.

I went to the CUC FabLab, converted my SVG file to a PDF, saved it to the Epique folder, and I was ready to go!

Farnaz, a FabLab staff member, graciously directed me to where I could find some more scrap acrylic. She then also assisted me in setting the origin of the laser to ensure the laser didn’t run into any other previous vector cuts.

We pressed, “Go”, and watched the creation emerge!

And, I have to admit that I was quite satisfied with the first iteration of this design.

Reflection of Final Product

It was quite enriching to see the development from a standard name “day-of” career fair name tag to a laser cut designed rectangle that spoke of personality and interest in less time than any pre-planned elevator pitch ever would.

However, there would be a few changes I would make for the second iteration.

  1. When using acrylic, peal of the paper adhesive, and use that side to raster.
  2. Use a two-tone acrylic with more of a matte finish to prevent smudging and scratching.

It can be seen above that there are noticeable scratches from the scrap acrylic. However, by using the paper adhesive protected side, this could be prevented. Emilie, an INFO 490 section TA and staff member, also recommended I try a two-tone acrylic as with a matte finish, smudging could be better prevented.

Also in future iterations, I would try to design it so the lettering would pop a bit more either by choice of color of material, or by inverting what was raster cut. By making the backgroud raster cut, the lettering, then a darker color, might stand out a bit more.

All in all, I loved the process of designing my name tag and my first voyage into the Makerspace, and I look forward to another adventure, now, as a maker!

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