25: Fluorescent Badges

I can’t believe how long it took me to realize how awesome fluorescent materials are. I’ve cut plenty of things out of transparent acrylic, but I completely ignored its glowing sibling until a group of Ingress players asked me to make them some badges.

A stack of badges; the top badge is the same color as the rest, I swear!

A stack of badges; the top badge is the same color as the rest, I swear!

Have you played Ingress? If you haven’t and you’re using a somewhat recent Android phone, you should give it a shot; it’s a well-polished geolocation game that has a fairly engaging progression system ostensibly designed to get you to go out walking/biking/what-have-you. I was absorbed into this game, rarely playing anything else during my run from level 1 to level 8, and I’m not the only one. That group of Ingress players mentioned earlier is called the Chicago Enlightened, because they’re in the Chicagoland area and are a bunch of frogs.

Check out how much these babies glow!

Check out how much these babies glow!

The fluorescent acrylic just soaks up light and fires it right back at you, especially where you’ve etched or cut it, making just about any art you etch amazingly, fantastically visible. Pardon my enthusiasm; I’ve been disappointed in the past with how difficult it was to make clear, high-contrast etches on transparent acrylic in the past, and this material solves the issue with bright glowy aplomb.  Like other transparent acrylic, it also cleans up very easily, without the sticky edges I’ve come to dread on most opaque acrylics. It was a joy to work with and generally a joy to photograph.

The old badge looks black mostly on account of the background surface.

The old badge looks black mostly on account of the background surface.

The awesome badge design seen here was provided by the group, and they’ve worked with this material before, so thankfully I didn’t have very many trial-and-error moments to deal with there. I did do some prototyping on a medallion-style badge similar to one I cut long ago, and I’ve taken some pictures of those too to show the contrast between the transparent green acrylic I typically use and the fluorescent material for this project. While the designs vary wildly—a raster etch focus on one and a vector etch focus on the other—the materials’ differing transmission of light is clear.

Here you can see the green tint of the original badge more easily.

Here you can see the green tint of the original badge more easily.

I think I’m going to have to revisit the tetriminos in this new material. In the meantime, I’m just thrilled that I’ll never again forget how to spell fluorescent.

More stacked badges.

More stacked badges.

 

7 thoughts on “25: Fluorescent Badges

  1. Ryan says:

    Melanie, I’m thrilled to hear you like ’em! Those are the Chicago Enlightened badges, but we can always make something similarly fitting for Ingress that doesn’t step all over their official badge design.

    The cost depends on how many badges you want! While a single custom ordered badge using that material and size would cost about ten dollars to print, a bulk order is closer to the $5–6 range. Drop me a line via the contact form (http://52lasers.com/contact-us/) if you’d like to talk about a specific idea.

    Ryan

  2. Celeste C. says:

    Thank you, Ryan. I received my new badge order today. This is my second badge order through the Chicago Enlightened Ingress community. I was as excited to receive this one as I was the first. They are great conversation staters.

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