by Yun-Han Lin
Continuing our adventure in experimenting, the follow is the process of making laser-cut stamps.
Think about how amazing it would be if everyone could make their personal style stamps using a laser-cutter. Yet, I have not found much information on this kind of artifact, so I might as well just try everything from scratch.
Wooden Stamp (medium-density fiberboard)
The first one I made served as the control group. We used the most common material- medium-density fiberboard (MDF), but it was hard for the ink to build up on wooden surfaces, which led to smeared ink or incomplete shape. The result did not turn out as expected, but you’ve got to admit that it made quite a style of its own.
Rubber Stamp (rubber slab)
For the next material, I was thinking about rubber plates used for regular hand-made stamps, but it was too thick for laser-cutting and too big for the small and delicate craft I have in mind. Therefore, I used rubber slabs made for carving instead, and they are much firmer for cutting.
There was a lot rubber powder from the cutting, and I was worried that it could turn out a disaster. Yet it was easy to clean up the powder, unlike the rubber adhesive that would get stuck to everything you touch.
The result did not turn out the way I wanted it to, either, but it was still big progress, compared to the wooden one. However, I needed to press it against the in pad for several times so that the stamp could get enough ink for a complete ink shape. Then I realized that it might have a lot to do with how soft the stamp is, as the softer the rubber used is, the better ink shape it makes.
After spending some time looking up information on the Internet, silicone is a better choice than rubber, because it does not catch fire. I visited different rubber stores for the thinnest and softest silicon plate I could find and ended up getting a plate that was only 2mm thick and it was almost as soft and springy as rubber bands.
When I was cutting silicon, there was tiny flame occasionally. It was a bit scary at first, but it did not seem to affect the process too much. There was silicon powder that looked very much like that from rubber. It was also easy to clean up and did not smell at all. There was a bit carbonization during the cutting though, on which we could do more tests.
After cleaning up the stamp when it was completed, the test result turned out very well. Although it was not as good as those sold in a store, it was good enough, compared to any regular stamp. The only problem was that the pattern and words carved were rather rough due to either heat buildup or the laser-cutter setting.
I tested three different materials but have not come to a conclusion which one is better. It was a good start though, and I will continue to share a tip or two with you after trying other materials and different methods!