How to make a Partial In-lay with your laser.

How to make a Partial In-lay with your laser.

I wanted to add a name to this tag, but I was worried about the name breaking with use due to the small size. I decided that doing a partial insert would be the best way to prevent the name from breaking. I also wanted the 3D look of layering the project, rather than engraving.

For this project, I used ¼” Baltic birch for the backer and 1/8” Baltic birch for the name. I designed the tag in Adobe Illustrator, then uploaded it to Lightburn and cut it with my Aeon Mira 9.

First, if you have a script font, make sure that you have joined it. Start by typing in your name and choosing your favorite font. In the example, I typed “Twinkle” with the font Lovely Valentine Script. The size does not matter since you can resize it later.

Using your selection tool, right-click to highlight your text and then left-click on “Create Outline”. This will allow your laser to cut the text. If your text is cursive or has overlapping lines, you will need to take another step. Highlight the text and go to Pathfinders > Unite.

I also wanted to thicken up my font, so I created an outline of my word. This will help with the really thin parts of the name.

Using your selection tool, right-click to highlight your text and then left-click on “Create Outline”. Highlight the text and go to Object > Path > Offset Path or Effect > Path > Offset Path.

Now your name is ready.

For the backer, you can use anything. I am going to use a simple rectangle with a hole to add ribbon. Place the name how you would like it on the backer. This will be engraved. Then make a copy of the name. The copy will be your insert. I like to make the copy after I place it on the backer to make sure they are the same size.

Cut and engrave based on your machine. I am cutting the name out of 1/8” Baltic birch at 25 speed 50 power. For the backer, I am cutting out of ¼” Baltic birch at 25 speed 70 power and engraving at 25 speed 30 power 400 LPI 3 passes.

For the engraving, you will want to just play around with it and do some testing to see how far down you want the insert to sit. I chose to do three engrave passes at the lower power versus one pass with higher power. Remember, the deeper you engrave, the more your name will sit into your backer.

Now add a little bit of glue to your name and insert it. Press the name down to make sure that it is all the way in. Your tag is now complete!

Here are some additional tips:

  • Paint your wood first and then mask your painted board.
  • Use a baby wipe to remove any unwanted residue that may be on your wood.


If you would like more information on the Mira 9, visit the Aeon website.

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