In an experiment to determine whether MABAS name tags could be made more easily with a laser than with a rotary engraver, I took some strips of Velcro and some spare laserable plastic from work (Thanks, Eagle!) back to my house, slapped ’em together, and set my laser to them. The result could determine the process for making name tags at Eagle in the future, but more importantly it gave me an excuse to play around with some Velcro.
I wrote before about layering before lasering, and there I learned that it was a viable way to save on building items after they’re made with the laser. In this case, I pre-applied the Velcro because the alternative meant precisely aligning hundreds of 2″×3/8″ bits of plastic to hundreds of 2″×3/8″ snippets of Velcro, which certainly doesn’t sound fun.
Cutting a handful of name tags from a single 2″ strip of the combined plastic and Velcro was indeed significantly faster than the rotary engraving process, which engraves a single tag at a time and doesn’t shape the tags. Even more significant time savings can be had by cutting as many name tags as the laser can hold—in the range of 250—and it allows the operator to “set it and forget it,” not needing any input during the process.
Unfortunately, the laser burn does leave soot on the white surface, which needs to be wiped off with alcohol and introduces a new per-tag step that needs to be accounted for. It’ll be up to Eagle whether they choose to incorporate the new process, but I’m thrilled by the prospect of using precisely shaped Velcro backing as an attachment option for my own future projects.