mixed media gift award

How to Create a Mixed Media Gift Using a Laser

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How do you say “Thank You” to an outstanding client or customer? Nick Caito of SBC Laser demonstrates his take on adding a personalized touch to a unique gift. In this Platinum Partner build, Caito mixes steel, acrylic, and brass with a combination of laser cutting and engraving with his Kern 400W HSE laser system.

Materials Needed:

  • 18 ga mild steel
  • 1/4" acrylic (clear and black)
  • .020" brushed brass (used here is from Rowmark)
  • Brass acorn nuts, washers, and bolts
  • Blackening chemical

Suggested Parameters:

  • 18 ga Mild Steel
    Speed: 2"/sec
    Power: 90%
    Frequency: 600Hz
    Assist Gas: Oxygen (100psi)
  • Acrylic Etching
    Speed: 80"/sec
    Power: 25%
    DPI: 300
    Assist Gas: Compressed Air (20psi)
  • Acrylic Cutting:
    Speed: .5"/sec
    Power: 30%
    Assist Gas: Compressed Air (5psi)

Step One: Set Parameters and Cut Mild Steel

When cutting metal, laser focus is an important aspect. As the mild steel is cut, it heats up and tends to move around. If using a Kern (like we did for this project), the automatic height follower maintains a consistent focus point over the entire sheet. ​


Step Two: Form Metal

This custom cage and base are bent using a folding table. No welding was required. ​

Step Three: Cut and Engrave Acrylic

Lasers are popular tools when processing acrylic. ​

Step Four: Blacken Steel

A chemical process used applied to the steel, giving it a blackened look.​

Step Five: Assemble 

The only fasteners used on this project are decorative brass acorn cap nuts. ​

The finished product. (Images courtesy Kern Laser and SBC Laser)