Parchment might be a thing of the past, but for those of us who still use paper an embossed seal can give everything from your official documents to your love letters a bold new feeling of authenticity. As far as getting your own seals made, plenty of folks will settle for having a 3rd party make them a seal, but not us. [Jason] shows us just how simple it is to raster our own seals with a laser cutter.
As far as the process goes, there are no tricks outside the typical workflow for raster engraving. Here, [Jason] simply creates a positive and (mirrored) negative seal pattern for each side of the seal embosser. The pattern is set for raster engraving, and the notched outline will be vector cut. From here, he simply exports the design, and the laser handles the rest.
This hack turned out so cleanly it almost seems like it could got into professional use–and it already is! Some extra Google-fu told us that it’s actually a fairly standard technique across the embossing industry for making embossing seals. Nevertheless, we couldn’t share our excitement for just how accessible this technique can be to anyone within reach of some time on a laser cutter.
[Jason] is using Delrin as his material to capture the design, which cuts cleanly and nicely handles the stress of being squished against your legal documents a couple hundred times. We’ve had our fair share of love on these pages for this engineering plastic. If you’re looking to get a closer look at this material, have a go at our materials-to-know debrief and then get yourself equipped with some design principles so that you’re ready to throw dozens of designs at it.
It’s not the first time the crafting and hacking communities intermingle and start sharing tools. In fact, if you’ve got yourself a vinyl cutter kicking around, why not have a go at churning out a few pcb stencils?
Thanks for the tip, [Doug]!
6 thoughts on “Emboss Your Own Seals With A Laser Cutter”
I don’t understand. How does the laser engrave the delrin? Does it embrittle the polymer, at which point it breaks off and is blown away by a fan? Or does it shrink because of the heat?
Laser ablation. The same way it engraves anything else.
It vaporizes a portion of the material down to a certain depth. As long as you have your cut settings right you get an even kerf, if you have it set wrong (on a powerful laser) you risk popping out chunks of material from the expanding gasses giving you an inconsistent kerf.
If I may add a precision, there are four main way to mark things with a laser.
– Engrave it / mark (creates an engraving and actually remove main material. If you go slower / set more power, you cut your material.),
– Ablate it (removes a coating to create a contrast. Actually removes material but only thin layer),
– Foam it (whitens a dark plastic but don’t remove material),
– Carbonize it / color change (high temperature make your material darker / change color but don’t remove material).
And many other material specific techniques (local break for glass marking, local “baking” for steel coloration, and so on.)
You are right, engraving / cutting is done by vaporization.
and what power levels (% and speed) would you use on an 80W laser to have the engraved area in delrin be smooth?
My guess would be that is just vaporizes the delrin and the smoke is sucked away by the fans. This is how most lasercutting works. The difference between engraving and cutting is just a function of the intensity (power) of the laser and the speed at which it is moving over the material.
It’s kinda a new generation of engraving.
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