View Full Version : How to make a template

Jimmy L Taylor
02-19-2012, 8:04 PM
I purchased some anodized tags from laserbits. I would like to make a template for these to fit in to put into my laser. How does one go about creating a template from scratch for odd shaped items? Thanks!

ray hampton
02-19-2012, 8:12 PM
Do the template need to be as thin as your tags ?

Randy Digby
02-19-2012, 8:41 PM
What shape is the tag? Sometimes an irregular shaped object will register in a rectangular template.

Jimmy L Taylor
02-19-2012, 9:02 PM
thickness is not really important. I will probably cut it from 1/8" acrylic or maybe MDF. The shapes are bones, stars, tshirt, hydrant, and a basic GI dogtag shape

Randy Digby
02-19-2012, 9:40 PM
I can't tell for sure just looking at the pics on Laserbits, but I would think the the tee shirt piece might be the only one that would not fit in a rectangular template. Like I said, hard to rell without parts in hand.

Dee Gallo
02-19-2012, 9:45 PM
The easiest thing to do is scan the shapes, use Trace (line art) to make a vector (hairline) outline, delete the scan, then cut them out of MDF or whatever you like. Just make sure the outline is outside the shape, so they will fit inside alright.

Peter Meacham
02-19-2012, 10:13 PM

Attached are a few templates courtesy of Chewbarka


Dee Gallo
02-19-2012, 10:34 PM
How handy, Peter, I knew they existed but didn't have them, thanks for posting!

Jimmy L Taylor
02-19-2012, 11:21 PM
It's as easy as just scanning and doing a outline? I guess I was over engineering it! How do I specify the hairline outline goes outside the object? I have already found the Chewbarka template, it is close but not perfect for the laserbits tags.

Ross Moshinsky
02-20-2012, 12:18 AM
Jigs/templates should be as simple as possible. As many have mentioned a simple rectangle to the overall dimensions is normally good enough 90% of the time. If you want to, you can go just a step further and add a couple of unique indexing points so everything lines up perfectly. Just remember to keep your jigs flexible. Not every item is identical. Leaving room for a bit of error is always wise. For me, one of the most important things is to make sure the jig is easy to work with. This means putting the material in, taking it out easily, and most importantly not having to adjust it every ten minutes because of product inconsistency.

Rangarajan Saravana kumar
02-20-2012, 1:30 AM
Usually we make in the 3mm Mdf and fit in the centre of page so that the alignment doesnt change all the time...


John Noell
02-20-2012, 2:23 PM
How do I specify the hairline outline goes outside the object?
Once you have the scanned shape, just trace (and clean the trace as needed), the use Contour to put a hairline as far outside as you need (depending on regularity of the shapes).

Dee Gallo
02-20-2012, 2:50 PM
I see the point of making your template as simple as possible, which I have done for things like wooden roses which are crazy irregular shaped. But, for these anodized pieces I would do a more close shaped template simply because they have a top and bottom and you could easily put them in upside down... wasting a piece accidentally. Plus, if you have nothing but rectangles and several different shapes, you might put the piece in the wrong slot. I prefer the round peg in the round hole technique for guaranteed success, especially if the type has to be specifically placed. For instance, I made some with the writing in a circle... if they had not been perfectly placed, the pieces would look really bad.

- just 2 more cents from Dee

Josiah Gallo
02-20-2012, 4:31 PM
When making a template/tray, we find it helpful to also cutout the entire tray with a new rectangle just a little bit smaller than the piece of MDF/acrylic you are cutting from, but before you cut it all center everything to the page. This helps avoid nesting problems and keeps edges straight, corners cornered, and alignment better if you have more than 1 machine.

Bruce Clumpner
02-21-2012, 2:52 PM
I also just scan the shape, apply a contour to it, and then cut the template frame out of corrugated cardboard or mat board. With the Chewbarka templates, you're 2/3rds of the way there already!