Today's meeting was at Karina's lovely home and she shared information about laser cutting materials she uses for jewelry-making.
Ponoko.com. They are a firm in New Zealand and their website is designed for people who have Illustrator (vector) files ready to go. Their website is very easy to use and all you have to do is upload one of their templates- they have 3 sizes to choose from- and insert your Illustrator drawings. They also have free downloadable software (if you don't have Illustrator) to create your vector file(s). They cut paper, felt, cardboard, wood, rubber, leather, aluminum, stainless steel and more.
Another option is to use Rodney Shimogawa's company on etsy- customplastic.etsy.com. For a fee, he will take any drawing (even if it's drawn on a napkin!) and will convert it to a vector file for a small labor charge, then will lasercut plastic, rubber or thin wood. His prices are very good but he is more limited on what he can cut. He cut some 8-1/2"x11" templates for me for stonecutting (see pic above) that were only $8 per sheet. Karina thinks she paid Ponoko $32 or so for her skull sheet. It all depends on how intricate the design is. Karina also uses TAP's Acrylic Cement to glue her pieces together.
Another option is to go to a vector website like vectorstock.com and pay for a vector drawing (there are many that are copyright-free) and then send that to either company to cut. Any modifications to the drawing will still have to be done in Illustrator or similar vector software.
This is a great addition to our "tool kit" as designers! Otherwise, it's hunkering down with a jewelry saw, and we all know that gets old fast!!
Hope to see you all over the summer! Enjoy!