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Intermediate Element Sign Project

  • Software:
    Adobe Illustrator, VCarve Desktop, OpenBuilds Control
    Machine Time:
    1 hour 20min
    Bit or Laser Size:
    90 Degree .5" V-Bit
    Feeds & Speeds:
    Feed Rate: 75, Plunge Rate: 20, Dial setting for Dewalt 611 Router: 2.5
    OpenBuilds Clear Cast Acrylic (8) Pieces. Aluminum Extrusion 20x20 for the frame and 90 Degree Makerlinks for joining components.
    This was an extremely fun project and was a collaborative effort among the OpenBuilds Team to create a really unique way to customize a sign for OpenBuilds!

    It all started with this cool website that will elementize your name in a high resolution for $5.
    Check it out here: Find Your Name in the Periodic Table of the Elements

    Next we brought the high resolution file into Photoshop where we used a canvas size of 12"x12" to scale and crop each individual element for vector creation in Adobe Illustrator.

    Following the work conducted in Photoshop we brought the individual files into Illustrator where we created custom vectors for each element in the project.

    After all of the vectors were created in Illustrator we brought all of my files into VCarve Desktop (CAM Software) to position each element and edit any unnecessary or duplicate vectors. This software is amazing and you can purchase it here: VCarve Desktop


    Now that everything was in position we created the toolpaths for each operation! Selecting all of the vectors we wanted to create a V-Carving to give each section of the project a cool engraved look.

    This is a completed preview of what this project is going to look like after machining! The settings we used for the 90 Degree .5" V-Bit were as follows: Capture_5.PNG

    These are all the settings you will need in order to get the same result for your elementized project!

    Video of the machining process:


    After finishing the machining process we started to assemble the frame for the large scale sign. First we ran the LED light strip through the bottom frame piece of 20x20 V-Slot.The multi color changing LED light strip that we used was a cut to length spool which was ideal since the length of the sign was 8' long. In addition, this particular strip of LEDs were encased in a water proof material which isn't necessary unless you plan to use the sign outside.

    Creating the next part of the frame was simple using 90 degree Makerlinks as shown in the picture above. A total of 8 Makerlinks were used to complete the frame.

    IMG_20190709_144558940_HDR.jpg Sliding all of the acrylic into the V-Slot tracks allowed for a tight mount to the frame. We then used superglue on the top and bottom tracks to solidify the pieces into the tracks of the V-Slot. The Acrylic worked beautifully for this project! Make sure to check out OpenBuilds Materials: Cast Acrylic - Clear

    IMG_20190709_144457905_PORTRAIT.jpg IMG_20190709_144558940_HDR.jpg IMG_20190709_144602029_HDR.jpg IMG_20190709_144620786.jpg IMG_20190709_144631026.jpg IMG_20190709_144633996.jpg

    The end result was absolutely stunning! We hope everyone enjoys this project as much as we did and be on the look out for future projects posted by the OpenBuilds Team!

    IMG_20190709_144456235_PORTRAIT.jpg Capture.PNG Capture.PNG Capture_1.PNG Capture_2.PNG Capture_3.PNG Capture_4.PNG Capture_5.PNG Capture_6.PNG IMG_20190710_134534078_PORTRAIT.jpg IMG_20190710_134803652_PORTRAIT.jpg IMG_20190709_144558940_HDR.jpg IMG_20190709_144457905_PORTRAIT.jpg IMG_20190709_144558940_HDR.jpg IMG_20190709_144602029_HDR.jpg IMG_20190709_144620786.jpg IMG_20190709_144631026.jpg IMG_20190709_144633996.jpg

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Michiglenn, Jack D, harlsb and 5 others like this.

User Comments

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  1. Jack D
    This is such an awesome project. Very well done!
      Matthew Bates likes this.
    1. Matthew Bates
      Thanks Jack!
      Matthew Bates, Aug 12, 2019
  2. Theresa Rathell
    This is really cool looking, fantastic! You can change the colors?
    1. Matthew Bates
      Thanks Theresa. They are multi color LEDs that cycle through the different colors.
      Matthew Bates, Aug 5, 2019
  3. Jacob Tabor
    Love this!!!
  4. MFCarew
    Great build Matt, looks like a professional signmaker made this sign.
    1. Matthew Bates
      Thanks Mike! This was an idea that Mark had for awhile now and we finally got the chance to make it a reality.
      Matthew Bates, Jul 15, 2019
  5. Ariel Yahni
    Thant came out amazingly!!!

    And the use of Makerlinks to create the frame is an awesome idea!
    1. Matthew Bates
      Thanks Ariel!
      Matthew Bates, Jul 11, 2019
  6. GrayUK
    That is superb!! :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
    Just out of curiosity, what would happen if you were to spray the back of the acrylic black? Would it mess it up, or would it enhance the lettering? :rolleyes:
      Matthew Bates likes this.
    1. Matthew Bates
      Thanks Gray! Not sure, but that is definitely a good idea.
      Matthew Bates, Jul 11, 2019
    2. Theresa Rathell
      Maybe try black frame first
      Theresa Rathell, Jul 31, 2019
      Matthew Bates likes this.
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