Made at TechShop SF - http://www.techshop.ws - TechShop is a shop space where one pays a monthly membership fee, like a gym. After taking Safety & Basic Use Classes, one can check out equipment which ranges from Laser Cutters to 3D Printers to CNC mills and more! It is a great resource for professional designers, students, and entrepreneurs alike.
Rubber stamps are great for packaging, mailings, personalization and more! Laser engraving machines make creating them simple. Follow these steps and you'll have rubber stamps in no time.
Materials and Equipment:
- Laserable Natural Rubber
- Graphics Editing Software
- Art or Other Stamp Content
- Epilog Laser Engraver
- Stamp Block(s)
- Rubber Cement
- Books or Other Objects to Use as Weights
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Step 1: Purchase the Correct Material
It is very important that you use natural, non-vulcanized rubber for the laser cutter as a non-natural rubber will produce toxic gases in the laser cutting machine. These laserable rubber sheets are marked with the text "SPECIAL RUBBER FOR LASER ENGRAVING." I sourced my material from http://www.laserbits.com though you can find other sources as well.
Step 2: Set Up Your Drawing
Using Adobe Illustrator, I selected the black and white art I wanted to engrave, then chose Edit > Colors > Invert Colors to create an inverse image. I then right-clicked, chose "Transform > Reflect" and used a 90 degree vertical axis reflection. This is an important step - It will enure your image comes out printed the correct way in ink. Set all lines to be cut at 0.001pt lineweight and all lines to be engraved at 0.5pt lineweight or greater.
Step 3: Engrave
Using the Epilog Laser Engraver, I chose "Combined" print job, and used the following settings:
Raster: 40% speed, 90% power, top-down engraving
Vector: 20% speed, 90% power, 2500 hz
Watch your job carefully to make sure no fires occur. You may have to run your vector job twice.
Step 4: Glue to Stamp Blocks
The final step is gluing your laser-cut and etched stamps to the stamp blocks. I keep my eyes out at thrift and discount stores for old stamps, and remove the rubber using all-natural orange cleaner and a scraper. I then wash the blocks and glue the rubber stamps to them using rubber cement when dry. Weight the blocks, facing downward with the stamp pressed into a silicon baking mat or cloth, using books or other heavy, stable objects for a half hour or longer while the rubber cement cures!