Plexi-type anyone?
I was recently trawling through various links relating to wooden type and came across the link to Bethany Hecks “Endgrain” site ( I was intrigued by her plastic “wooden type” experiments . As the Uni I go to has a laser cutter I decided to see if I could replicate what she had done.Here are the results:
3mm perspex (plexiglass) was used. I set up several fonts, the one shown her is Rudolf Koch’s Neuland, but I also cut a font of Huxley vertical and two sizes of Playbill . The fonts were taken stright from my computer’s TrueType fonts, opened in Corel Draw and saved as Adobe Illustrator CS2 files ( this was the format recommended by the technician, although I could have also used DXF).
The letters were then glued to a piece of white pine, which was then sanded square and brought up to type high.
Inking was done with a hand roller, using Caligo Oil based/water washup inks and printed on to Hannemhule etching paper (not dampened). I used my 8x12 Morfitt platen press with minimal make ready.
The blocks inked up far better than I expected and gave a clean impression. Washing up was as simply as wiping the type with a clean dry rag but I’d say this will get harder as the type face gets scuffed and scratched over time.
I have to say that I am won over by this cheap alternative to wooden type. The range of fonts and sizes that I can now get are almost unlimited.
The photo of the type blocks show the plastic letters mounted as well as an un-mounted letter. The scorch marks from the laser can be seen.
The laser cutter we have can be set to cut right through or to do a partial “engraving” cut which would be ideal for shaded fonts and “inline” fonts. Larger areas can also be rounted out by the laser.
I’m planning to try it out with ornaments and borders in a few weeks. If anyone out there has gone down the same path I would be interested in comparing methods and ideas.

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Check out Dafi Kühne web site (, he also as a few videos on vimeo.

Did you buy a laser engraver or had the letters cut by a engraving company? What is the cost per letter?

Thank you

I was able to have the laser cutting done for free at the University I go to. My costs were about $100.00 for the acrylic, but from one piece I managed to get 12 smaller sheets, each of which can hold up to 2 seperate fonts of 3 examples of each letter, number and punctuation and some decorative lines etc. I haven’t work out the individual letter cost as this would vary with the number of letters I can get into each sheet but I reckon it is in cents, not dollars, each.
I should point out that there is quite a bit of work after the letters are cut as each one has to be glued to a wood base and then these blocks need to be trued up and trimmed to the correct font size.
But still I think its a reasonably good way of acquiring additional fonts o0ver time as I only intend mounting and trimming letters as I need them. And naturally the digital file for the cutter is always re-usable.

I just bought some type from an old shop, mostly wood, but one font in acrylic, full acrylic, not a sheet mounted on wood.
It must have cost a lot to make, since at that thickness acrylic becomes really expensive.
I’ll take some photos and post them here.
— update —
Ok, I swear they were neatly organized until I tried to move them with one hand holding the side of the box and the box gave in. Extra photos for your amusement.

Also, does anyone know what type this is?

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Well, it looks like this may have been Cooper Hilite “Organized” but it’s now Cooper Hilite “Pi”…

@Dave, thanks for the ID, you got it spot on, and made me laugh at the same time.

Great photos, thanks for th posting.
I had thought of doing my type in solid acrylic, but, as you say, the cost would have been too much.
At the moment I am working on the graphic files for a couple of fonts of Bifur by Cassandre. Its a little bit tricky setting up so that the laser will make a through cut arounf the outside of the letter, but also be able to just engrave or rout out the space between the fine detail lines..
I’ll post when they are done.