Turning a Wedding Invitation into a Cutting Board

It's a Friday, so let's talk about something other than Autodesk Forge.

From my blog post on Sunday, you can tell that our family and friends attended our daughter's wedding.

When I got back to Autodesk, I decided to use one of our laser cutters to make a replica of Blake and Stephanie's wedding invitation into a cutting board.

Like many things in life, it's a 12-step process:

  1. I started by scanning the paper invitation that I received in the mail.


  2. If I used just that image with the laser cutter, the image would have come out as one big blob.Here's what happened on the first cutting board that I did for my brother-in-law.


  3. To avoid a repeat of that, I used image editing software to convert the image to a bitmap.


  4. I could use that bitmap image with the laser scanner, and it would come out OK, but the text would not look so great. That happened to me on the first time that I made pathway signs for my homeowner association.


  5. To avoid the emaciated image-text, I inserted real text (vector-based instead of image-based) into what would be sent to the laser cutter for engraving. I used the existing image-text as a guide for where to place my real text.


    The image editing software did not let me define the text path as an arc. I had to settle for straight text.

  6. Once I had my real text in place, I deleted the image I had originally inserted and replaced it with another one that lacked the text.


  7. The result looked like:


  8. It was then just a matter of hitting "File -> Print" to send the data to the laser cutter. Before potentially ruining the cutting board that I purchased from Sur la table, I tried laser cutting a piece of test wood that we had lying around the technology center.


    I had put the cutting board on the test piece, aligned the edges, and traced the cutting board with a pen so I could determine if my data would fit.

  9. Satisfied that I had no spelling mistakes and that the data would fit the cutting board, I swapped in the cutting board for the test piece of wood, set the laser cutter focus for the thickness of the cutting board, and issued another "File -> Print" command.


  10. After one pass of the laser cutter, I decided it was not dark enough, so I printed the data again to do another pass. This was only possible because I left the cutting board in the laser cutter without touching it. Had I moved it even a millimeter, the second pass would not have lined up with the first.


    As a cutting board is a combination of pieces of wood, the results vary in intensity even though the source data is the same.

  11. Taken off of the laser cutter, it looks like this:


  12. After applying a bit of mineral oil and letting it soak in for a few hours, it looks like this:


    Mineral oil, a standard remedy for constipation, brings out the wood grain and is human-consumable. This is advisable since the board will come into contact with meats, vegetables, and cheeses.

Now it's off to the post office to send it to Blake and Stephanie. The happy couple can add this to the long list of memories that they have about the occasion.

A burning desire is alive in the lab.