- Parent Category: Big Blue Saw Blog
- Created: Tuesday, 06 December 2016 19:29
- Written by Julie Simancek
Need a cake topper for your wedding? Looking for something that embraces your unique sense of style on your wedding day? If you’re a maker like me, the options offered in most stores don’t quite meet your tastes. Here is how to make an elegant cake topper for your wedding laser cut from acrylic.
Because EVERYTHING'S better with lasers.
The first step is to open Inkscape and type out the initials and ampersand as separate text boxes.
Don’t have Inkscape? You can download it here for free! Inkscape is a free imaging program that you can use to create everything from printed programs to vector files for cutting parts.
Now to find a font that suits my taste. For this I’m doing Mike’s M in a more masculine font, while for my J, I think I’ll go with more of a script. I’ve been really loving the current trend of mixed font styles for wedding things.
Then I used the pointer tool to scale and move them around into a placement that looks good to my eye.
See how both the letters and the ampersand are touching each other? That is intentional. When the laser cutter goes to cut these out, having the overlaps of the letters will allow all of the parts of the letters to be supported.
Speaking of support, now I need to plan out how this is going to sit on or in the cake. Making a base that sits flat on top of the cake would work, but I think I’d like this to float above the cake. So it will need a point like the one on a cupcake topper to plant into the top of the cake.
Using the rectangle tool I create a bottom support bar and a box for the point. Then using the Bezier curves and straight lines tool I draw the anchor point in the lower box.
Now I can delete the bottom box.
Now it is time to get all of these different parts joined so that the CAD software will read them as one part. To do that, we should change the view to Outline mode.
When you do this, you’ll notice that any shapes that have a fill become outlines. In the image above, the letters haven’t done this because they are designated as letters and not shapes. We need to change them to shapes so that we can merge them together and with the support bar and anchor point.
First you click on the letter, then go to Path in the menu bar and select Object to Path.
Now the M is a path and not a letter. Do this for the other letters. Then select each letter and go to Object in the menu bar, and select Ungroup. This gets rid of the last of the text formatting.
Now to get them merged. Select two of the parts.
Go to Path in the menu bar and select Union. This will merge them into one shape. Do this for the remaining parts.
Now save this as a DXF file in the File tab of the menu bar. I like to also save an SVG of the finished file for later edits.
So when Inkscape saves a drawing as a DXF, it sometimes adds extra lines in tight corners. So to clean up the file before I upload it to the website, I’m going to open it in LibreCAD and take a closer look at it. I’ll also re-save it as a R12 DXF file. This helps scrub out some of the background formatting so the file is a little easier for the quoting software to read.
All clean and pretty.
If I did have extra lines in there, what I would have done would be to click on the extra lines and get all of them selected. When Inkscape does this during a DXF conversion you’ll notice that clicking on the extra line also usually selects some of the lines around them. Leave those selected too and then go to the menu bar and open the Modify menu, and select Explode.
Now you should be able to select the extra lines without any of the connecting lines being selected. Select and delete the extra lines until none of the extra lines remain.
Now it is time to upload to the website. Go to the front page and click the orange Get an Immediate Quote Button.
In the Make a Part page I Click the Choose File button (red arrow).
Then I click the Upload button (blue arrow).
The next page the website will take you to is the materials list where you pick your material. But there are a few helpful tools on this page that you’ll want to know about before we rush on to the quote.
In the upper left you can see a rendering of my part. When you upload a file, the quoting software evaluates it to make sure that it is something we can cut. If there are unconnected endpoints, or doubled up lines, instead of taking you to the materials page, there would be an error message and an orange link at the top of the page to see a diagnostic of my part.
This part doesn’t have any errors, but we should first check that the sizing is correct. The part size is highlighted in the image below. If I wanted a cake topper that was larger, say 7 inches wide instead of the 6.5 inches we see here, I would click the Resize this design button (red arrow). The page that it will take you to will allow you to scale your part up or down proportionally.
Or if I wanted one cake topper in this size and a whole bunch of cupcake toppers that were smaller, I could place an order for the regular size one. Then go back, resize to 3 inches wide and then checkout with 100 of these that were smaller.
I like the size that this is, so I’m going to select acrylic for my material, and select the brushed steel/black acrylic material.
Click on the thickness, and it will take me to the quoting page where I can see pricing.
The quoting page has a few features you should check before clicking the Order Custom Parts button.
Firstly, double check all the measurements (highlighted yellow here). This is our version of measure twice, cut once.
Secondly, be sure that your part looks correct in the 3D renderings on the right (red star) and in the 2D rendering in the Part Details at the bottom of the page (red arrow).
If I wasn’t sure that I wanted the brushed steel/black acrylic, I can see what my part would run in other materials and thicknesses by clicking the Change Material button. That will take you back to the materials page where you can select other materials.
You can see the finished part below. I think it turned out great and works well.
Inkscape made it easy to create this design and has a wonderful community of users ready to help.
If I was to do this project again, I'd consider scaling the design down to create a bunch of cupcake sided toppers.