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Add a blog post talking about making artwork for badges.

Syfaro 1 month ago
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content/blog/led-badges-artists-guide/engraved_paw.jpg View File


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+---
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+title: "Making Art for the Badges"
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+date: 2018-10-20T02:00:00-05:00
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+draft: false
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+---
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+
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+An important component of the acrylic badges I've been making is the
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+artwork displayed in the center. In order to get quality results, here's
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+a bit of information on how to put together artwork for them.
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+
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+Engraving is done on my CNC machine with a V-bit. Instead of a typical
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+cutting device's flat end, it is shaped in a V. This allows it to cut
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+smaller or larger holes depending on how far down it is plunged into the
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+material.
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+
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+It is by far the easiest for me to use SVG (or other vector) formats.
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+Unlike bitmaps, it is easy to tell the software what shapes to cut.
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+Primarily artwork should be lines or outlines of the desired shapes.
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+Color is irrelevant in SVGs. If done as a bitmap, color is important
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+and used to identify edges.
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+
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+### Lines
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+
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+When using lines, the variation in thickness will show up. Lines should
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+generally remain as thin as needed. Smaller lines will still have a
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+great contrast against the background. As lines get thicker they also
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+get deeper into the acrylic. However, thicker lines can be extra
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+contrast where needed. Note that because light comes down from the top,
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+the upper part of the groove will be brighter than the lower part.
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+
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+{{<img "line_thickness.jpg">}}
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+
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+This is an extreme example of how thinner lines can look much cleaner.
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+The first frame was a result of a poor tool choice but does demonstrate
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+how thick lines make the whole thing look busy. Even the right frame
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+has lines slightly thicker than they could be.
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+
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+
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+### Filled Shapes
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+
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+We can do a lot with filled shapes depending on what's needed.
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+Let's look at some examples. This SVG file is from
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+[Wikipedia](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Black_Paw.svg).
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+
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+{{<img "paw.svg">}}
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+
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+All of the details are done as outlines of the desired lines. A large
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+filled area does not always mean the entire area will be engraved! The
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+software I use to process files allows me to select how to engrave
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+things. Typically trying to engrave a large area results in an ugly
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+texture. It is almost always better to have a much thinner line instead.
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+
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+{{<img "engraved_paw.jpg" "Ignore the poorly aligned engraving …">}}
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+
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+While all of these started out as solid and similarly sized filled
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+areas, there is clearly a difference in how they were engraved.
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+
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+Going from the upper left, the first one was a typical engraving. It
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+was engraved inwards at a maximum width of 0.1 inches. This is
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+a relatively wide engraving but useful for making certain items have a
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+very visible line. The next one was set so it would engrave the entire
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+interior. As you can see, because it is a V-bit, there is a lot of
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+material left and it looks quite poor. While it is possible to pass over
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+the same area many times it often isn't worth it. The edge lighting
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+effect is definitely best with fewer and more important lines. The third
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+one was an outwards engraving, with a relatively large set width. It
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+automatically stops as soon as it hits another object or path,
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+preventing it from removing other details. Because it's so big, it
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+doesn't have the same sharp and clean feel of the smaller engravings.
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+The fourth is the same as the first except with an outwards engraving.
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+It does not have a very different look, it is just larger. The final
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+middle one is a standard 0.039" engraving. This is generally the default
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+because it is small enough to look sharp but still large enough to
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+properly glow.
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+
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+### Trying Yourself
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+
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+If you're curious on how something would look,
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+[send me a message](https://syfaro.net/#contact). I'm happy to give more
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+feedback or to try engraving your design.
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+
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+If any artists feel like this kind of line work is something they're
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+good at please send me a message! I'd love to work something out to
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+provide a high quality source of artwork for these badges. I'm hoping
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+to start selling them soon and would prefer using artwork that was
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+designed for engraving.

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