62: Velcro Nametags

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.


A 2" strip of Velcro stuck to a 2" strip of plastic.

A 2″ strip of Velcro stuck to a 2″ strip of plastic.

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.

MABAS (2 of 4)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.

The soot left from the laser cutting needs to be cleaned.

The soot left from the laser cutting needs to be cleaned.

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.

4 thoughts on “62: Velcro Nametags

    • Ryan says:

      Hello, Michael! I took a look back into the laser settings I’ve got saved, and unfortunately I couldn’t find this project’s listing; it might have been culled when I cleaned up the program’s history to make finding some other projects quicker.

      One thing to consider is that the project was done by adhering the Velcro backing to the 1/16″ material first, so I never determined what the settings would be for Velcro by itself. I typically cut the acrylic by itself at 60% power (on a 40w laser, so about 24w) and 9% speed. The Velcro layer was thin, but because of the stringier qualities of the fabric I needed to use a little extra power to cut it clean apart. I’d probably start with a 6% speed to at those power settings. The material is very sooty though and you’ll need to clean whatever material it’s adhered to. Also, make sure whatever hook and loop solution you’re using is safe to laser; laser-safe PVC-less options are out there but I’m sure there are unsafe equivalents too.

  1. Michael says:

    Thanks for all the info 🙂 Do you have any more info about Velcro containing PVC? When I did my re-search awhile ago, I couldn’t find a single website that said that velcro contains PVC. Most websites said that it was made out of Nylon and Polyester…

    • Ryan says:

      That’s actually the same result I had, Michael. I was warned to keep an eye out but never did see any products containing explicit warnings regarding laser use.


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