Laser cut letters?

Hi all.

As a novice printer, i don’t have access to a lot of type. Certainly not large wooden type - and its not cheap to buy.

While I’m expanding my selection, thought I would try to improvise.

Anyone done Something similar?

I have got a Vandercook 17 up and running - its galley height. Does a beautiful job with photopolymer plates, but a large plate can be $240 plus at 25x16”. Instead, the plywood at HD seems ever shrinking - now 3/4” is actually 23/32. That’s .718, and I can buy 1/4” laser cut letters in nearly any font and at large sizes cheaper than that. Total height is .968 - just about right for my Galley height.

True, plywood isn’t truly flat. And one of the letter Es broke while I was glueing them to the plywood. But overall, it actually worked pretty well. I just drew some pencil lines on the plywood, and glued the letters down with wood glue upside down obviously. 2” letters.

Total cost, $70, maybe an hour to mark the plywood and glue the letters on.

Appreciate anyone else’s experience with this!


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Even easier and much cheaper is EVA foam sheets attached to 3/4” MDF and shimmed up to type high with chipboard and paper. EVA can be cut on a plotter/cutter like a Pazzles machine or by hand with scissors or X-acto. I use plastic backed carpet tape to attach EVA (and pretty much anything else) to the MDF. EVA will hold up to hundreds if not thousands of impressions and can be cleaned off and re-used later.

EVA is porous so you wont get solid colors; there’s always tiny white dots…always in the same place as they don’t seem to fill up. For more solid areas use gasket material or rubber sheets, etc.


You say:
“I can buy 1/4” laser cut letters in nearly any font and at large sizes cheaper than that.”

This is something I have never heard of. Where do you buy laser cut 1/4” letters?


Woodland Manufacturing is one. There are others. Heights in one inch increments, widths in 1/8 inch increments.

Sounds like a good interim solution, but definitely make them type high rather than type plus galley high to avoid regrets later when you want to print them mixed with other type, or on another press.