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Light & Laser Blog

The Laser & Light Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about optoelectronics, fiber optics, lasers, light sources, optics, imaging, electro-optics, and anything else related to the photonics industry. Here, you'll find everything from application ideas, to news and industry trends, to hot topics and cutting edge innovations.

Using a Laser Cutter for Paper Projects!

Posted December 17, 2017 12:00 AM by Epilog Laser
Pathfinder Tags: epilog laser laser cutting

Lasers are pretty versatile—they’ll cut and engrave materials like wood, fabric, plastic, and glass. But we forget how popular they’ve become for cutting paper and cardstock, too. Click here to see a video of intricate paper cutting.

Think about how intricate and detailed you can make your one-of-a-kind cards, invitations, and decorations. The possibilities are endless!

For example, a company called Vietnam Handicrafts, based in Hanoi, used an Epilog Zing 16 laser system to create detailed pop-up greeting cards.

Pop-up cards using a laser cutter. Image credit: Epilog Laser

Or, how about Platypus Papers, based near Boulder, Colorado. That company, run by husband-and-wife team, specializes in custom paper creations for weddings and other events. They used an Epilog Mini 24 laser system to create table numbers, cake toppers, name plates, signage and more.

Pretty cool, right?

Figure 1: Platypus Papers used laser cutting and engraving to create the shapes and text design of these place cards; no ink was used. Source: Kristina Lynn Photography

A lot of people, like the duo from Platypus Papers, get started by joining a local Makerspace or signing up for a class. Once they’re hooked, they decide it’s time to get a laser system of their own.

Figure 2: This winter-themed invitation suite from Platypus Papers features a laser-cut snowflake wrap complementing laser-cut and engraved place cards. Source: Season Hurd

What kind of designs can you create? Just start thinking outside of the box. Maybe you want to make something that your guests will open and think: “Wow, I’ve never seen that before."

Figure 3: Platypus Papers used their Epilog laser for cutting and engraving intricate details into this Paris-themed wedding invitation. Source: Studio JK

One tip for getting beyond the rectangular confines of paper: use metal die cuts. However, an Epilog laser system possesses the same functionality, but with a much higher level of detail, adding another dimension to what you can do with paper designs.

Think about even creating your wedding place cards with a laser engraver. Traditional marking methods can be subject to smudging, but using a laser to engrave stone imparts a permanence that turns the piece into a wedding keepsake for guests.

To learn more about how you can create awesome paper designs, visit

For more specific information on Epilog’s laser cut paper projects, click here.

2 comments; last comment on 12/28/2017
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LiDAR for the DIY and Hobbyist UAV Enthusiasts

Posted April 25, 2017 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

There are now LiDAR options that cost in the hundreds of dollars — rather than in the thousands — that are good for do-it-yourselfers and hobbyists. Previously, high costs limited the appeal of the technology for individual use.

Editor's Note: This news brief was brought to you by the Light & Laser News eNewsletter. Subscribe today to have content like this delivered to your inbox.

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Laser Engraving Tips from the Experts

Posted March 26, 2017 12:00 AM by Epilog Laser
Pathfinder Tags: epilog laser laser engraving

Need recommendations for solid hardwood engraving? Nervous about etching glass? Looking for inexpensive substrates to play around with?

Experts from Epilog Laser have answered some of the most frequently asked questions found in the Epilog Laser Fan group.

Engraving on plywood or balsa

This material is cut with a laser more than it’s engraved. For engraving, start with the recommended wood engraving settings in our manual. Plywood can be tricky and inconsistent in terms of cutting, due to the various layers of glue found within it. Balsa seems to cut very nicely and many of our customers use this medium to build various types of models.

Cool projects you can create with scrap pieces from other projects

Scrap materials are great not only for creating new projects, but using as practice pieces for more challenging engravings, such as photographs. We’ve seen customers make all kinds of things from scrap, such as small acrylic edge-lit signage, ornaments, name tags, and lots more!

Cardboard 3D bowling pins anyone?

Recommendations for solid hardwood engraving

Mask the wood.
Masking helps reduce residue from seeping into engraved areas and makes for easy clean up.
Use “bottom up” engraving. This is a feature in Epilog’s print driver that allows users to engrave from the bottom of the design up, instead of engraving from the top down. It also helps reduce smoke and debris being pulled into the engraving area as the laser head moves.

Once you nail down answers to your questions, you could create something like this wooden model:

Click here for a full list of answers to commonly asked questions about laser engraving. Do you have any questions? Maybe they’ll appear in a later article.

Editor's Note: This is a sponsored blog post provided by Epilog Laser. What will you #CreateWithEpilog?

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Do-it-Yourself Camera Detects Land Mines

Posted March 23, 2017 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

The DOLPi is an affordable Raspberry Pi-based polarization camera that can be used to see polarized light. Users gain the ability to detect unseen objects like pollutants and hidden explosive devices such as mines.

Editor's Note: This news brief was brought to you by the Light & Laser News eNewsletter. Subscribe today to have content like this delivered to your inbox.

24 comments; last comment on 04/14/2017
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Laser Etching Your Way into a New Wardrobe

Posted March 19, 2017 12:00 AM by Epilog Laser

Hobbyists aren’t the only group taking part in laser-engraving action. Even designers are incorporating the technology for fresh and unique clothing.

The Maker Movement made an appearance at last season’s MET Gala when some attendees showed up in laser-cut couture.

Check out Autodesk designer Amy Karle. She’s taking fashion to a new high-tech level where she scans her drawings into the computer and then scales them to fit the human body.

Why, you ask? Well, one benefit is that you’d never have to worry about a trip to the tailor again since your clothes would always be made-to-fit.

Ok, not everyone is a skilled designer. We get it. But even at-home laser-engravers and tinkerer can engrave fabrics with logos and designs to add a special touch. From cotton, to suede, to twill, to nylon, a laser system can cut them all. Anyone can take designs from almost any graphic design software and print it to the laser. In the print driver you'll select a speed and power for the material you are cutting.

Check out these laser-etched jeans:

How about these shirt appliques? The customized T-shirt possibilities are endless:

What would you #CreateWithEpilog?

Editor's Note: This is a sponsored blog post provided by Epilog Laser. Epilog's lasers offer highly accurate precision, cleanly seared edges, increased speeds, and fantastic product appearance. Learn more about fabric cutting and fabric engraving.

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