How can I make transparent back engraved font?

(Shawn) #1

How can I go about backlighting font THROUGH black acrylic?
And will a shapeoko cut detailed enough for switch labels like this?

Do the make a material for this, or do people just paint the back of clear acrylic?


(Mad Hatter) #2

This is a good place to start.

1 Like

(Shawn) #3

Great link! Thanks!

I’ll read it in more detail once I get to a computer.

In the meantime, I’ve seen people doing these nowadays (in the marine field) without films. I did a search and found a product by Trolase, but it doesnt come in large enough pieces. Know any other options with a black on back, clear on front, that allow you to engrave the black away to allow light to penetrate?


(Shawn) #4

Read through that entire article. There isn’t much detail on material type used.

Is there a certain acrylic people use for this, or is everyone just coating the back of the acrylic and then carving/engraving away the coating to make it clear?


(Neil Ferreri) #5

@ShawnQ Something like this?


(Shawn) #6

Yessir, just like that. Although I need a sheet about 2’x3’, and 3/8" or 1/2" thick preferably.


(Spencer Metzler) #7

No 3/8" but 1/4" is available. Johnson Plastics 1/4" Clear/Black acrylic


(Neil Ferreri) #8

At that price, I’d be grabbing the spray paint.

1 Like

(Shawn) #9

I’m just not sure how well the spray paint will hold up in a marine environment. Especially if the panel is adhered to fiberglass on the edges, and may be subject to flexing/vibration.


(Dan Nelson) #10

Can you double it up? Use a 1/4” thick 2 color, then put a 1/4” clear piece on top? I’m not sure of what adhesives are available for acrylic, but it may be an option? Or if they could be mounted stacked without adhesive between the layers it might be viable too?

Edit: maybe do the spray paint and then sandwich the painted side with another layer of clear? Might holdup better?


1 Like

(Shawn) #11

I thought about adding the clear to the back. I’m just worried that having the two pieces sandwiched, if not ‘adhered’ to each other, they would gradually shift back and forth and scuff the paint. I’ll experiment a bit.

Off topic - but just ordered the Carbide 3 XXL!

Now, what bits would I start with for this type of carving? And where should I look to purchase them for a beginner (assuming there will be mistakes).


1 Like

(William Adams) #12

There’s a bit on the wiki:

Alternately, why not do 3 layers:

  • letters adhered to front with locating nubs machined onto the back
  • transparent holder with locating holes
  • mirror image of letters adhered to back with locating nubs on the front

(system) closed #13

This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.