Today we enter the retail version of a gastrointestinal tract (IKEA, Emeryville) for materials that can be safely laser cut and engraved; for personalized holiday gifts and a smokey way to void the return policies.
Lets begin our journey through IKEA and see what we come across!
AVSKILD: Cork place mat, 16.5″ x 12.5″
Cost: $3.99/4 pk
These place mats use to be screen printed with a design on one side, but now its just plain cork on both sides which is great! I’ve used these place mats for the bottom of coasters, boxes, and a small bulletin board at one point. Seems to be your run of the mill 1/8″ cork sheet and cuts the same as cork I sourced from other places. After tax these come out to $1.10 ish per sheet. Use these more as a material than an end product.
IKEA describes the finish on most of its bamboo products as “clear acrylic lacquer” with various house hold items you could personalize on a laser cutter. Most are in the kitchen and bathroom sections of the store.
DRAGAN, boxes for example.
RÖRT: Wooden Spoons (beech)
Cost: $1.79 each
The ever exciting wooden spoon, no finish, you can etch a saying onto the handle. Like “Happy National Utensil Month!” or “My other spoon is from William Sonoma!” I would mask the engraving area with some painter tape before hand.
KNAGGLIG: Pine box crates, 18″x12.25″x 9.75″
Cost: $9.99, smaller one $4.99.
I imagine you can etch couple of the sides then use it as a rustic gift box. Etch In overly fancy script: Beers of the World then go down to Bev Mo and fill that sucker up. Comes flat, you have to put it together, which makes it easy to get it in and out of the laser.
Picture Frames: Ikea has a “Grandmas house” amount of this sort of thing, including shadow boxes. I’ve laser etched lettering into black frames and paint filled as a wedding gift and it came out ok. Mask the surface with transfer tape if you have it. CNC milling is also a suitable option.
Customized cutting boards can be a nice last minute gift idea. House warming, wedding, anniversary. General what do I get this person gift…
For example: “Steve likes dogs right? Ok cool, Steve is getting a cutting board with
a dog silhouette on it for Christmas…”
its that easy…
Keep food safety in mind while engraving into a surface like a cutting board. Make the engraving as shallow as possible and seal the etch with a food safe coating…
If you have planned ahead and the gift recipient is worth it; I saw a really nice handmade cutting board come out of the workshop side of AMT. (Ravi made it I think?) So you can make an even better one from scratch!
We don’t have the rotary engraver attachment for the AMT laser. So it limits most of the glass products to flat sides. Some examples would be:
ÖPPEN: Plate, 9″ dia. 7″ inner diameter usable for artwork.
You would want to home the machine on the center of the plate. I would say intermediate to advanced any time you are trying to engrave anything that isn’t completely flat as you need to be very cautious about smacking
your work piece with the air assist cone. Might be worth trying to etch a reversed image onto the bottom of the plate.
REKTANGEL: Small glass vases.
Cost: Ranges $2.99-19.99
Although the sides are not completely flat most of the waviness is in the interior, these are good candidates for etching designs onto the sides.
Ikea is the king of flat pack, which falls into place with designing for laser cut material. If you’re thinking about laser cutting a light fixture you can always find some design inspiration in the lighting department.
Next to the checkout lines is the shattered remains of returns, not much suitable for laser cutting, but I find the drawer faces can be used for CNC engraving signage (vbit). Those pieces tend to have all the sides veneered with some mounting holes on the back; which works fine if you just want to hang something on the wall. Gift wise think, Moms favorite Sun Tzu quote…as low as $1 per piece for that sort of thing.
Happy Holiday Tillverkning!