Generally you DON’T want your stuff burned to hell when cut with a CNC laser, in this case, I thought of a project that would actually use that to our advantage, a Plywood Cowboy Promo Sign! Cut at CNCROi.com‘s custom CNC shop and the results look pretty good although could be further refined next time around.
Plywood is one of those materials that has really endless uses, from signage to model making… it just doesn’t last long in our shop and whatever isn’t upcycled goes right into our fire pit! Most people look down on plywood, using it under tiles and general construction but it’s actually a very good material for everything from furniture to custom models.
What we wanted to do with this sign is make it look like it was actually shot, something you’d see (thought not as precise) in the old Wild West. The easiest way to do this is to add bullet holes which produces lots of smoke by the CNC laser and as a result, gives it the perfect amount of “damage”.
There is a very fine line with sign making in plywood, a sign like this you do not want to use too much engraving power due to all the soot and smoke that will go over your sign, yet at the same time, you want the engraving to be deep enough to be NOTICEABLE!
If you look at the letters, if this project would have been masked, there would have been a crazy amount of time removing each little piece, each place you see something not engraved is where you’d have to manually remove masking. There must be several hundred pieces of masking in this project alone and this is a small sign! Imagine if we made this several meters long (yes, we can do that!)
As for the cutting, well, there is no way around it, it will cause smoke damage but in this case, that and the gun shot holes actually work to our advantage as they give it more depth and stand-out. A faded-out looking sign with gun shots and burned edges is what I was looking for!
The results look pretty good! I’d probably go over the next with a fine cutting line to give this sign a bit more contrast, even if that doubles production time, I think it would make this sign pop-up more… I’d also add a bit more laser cutting “smoke” in key areas, especially along the bottom to make it look like somebody actually tried to put it on fire once.
You can watch the video of the entire process being done by our Austrian CNC laser. Be sure to contact us for all your custom CNC needs! To us, custom CNC work isn’t a job, it’s a higher calling!