Classic Alphabet blocks

This is a set of Alphabet blocks. The letters are open source and I decided to do a project with them.

They still need a bit more de-smutzing, but they are pretty cool I think. I picked up a set of 1.75 blocks on Amazon and without the crumb tray they fall nicely in the focus sweet spot. The only trick was alignment.

I started out with some cardboard and two rails of 3/4 plywood. I cut the plywood so that when the cardboard sits on top it is slightly lower than the top of my cubes.


The cardboard is taped to the top of my wooden rails and the bottom of the rails are held in place with double sided tape.

Next, I focus on the cardboard and cut my holes for the blocks:

Then just slot the blocks in place

and refocus to the top of the blocks and engrave.

One thing to note when focusing on the blocks is that the fisheye will lie to you, especially at the edges. Just trust the jig and hit the go button.

Here is the file I used. Just right click the image below and choose save as. Please note, this uses layers in Inkscape, with one layer for each group of 10 blocks and the first layer for the cardboard cutout (this is why the preview below looks weird, the layers are stacked over top of each other). I designed it so that every letter is on at least two seperate blocks and common letters are on at least 3 blocks.

Alphabet Blocks

Also note, at about 38 minutes per side, for each group of 10 blocks and 6 sides, this is not a quick project. Enjoy!

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Very well done. Are you selling them? You should.

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Considering a set takes about 3.5 hours to make, it’s not really worth it to me. The blocks themselves are about $1 a piece on Amazon

At that point, even selling them at $40 a set (which seems steep), you are talking about ~$10 an hour. As a programmer, I bill out at about $125 per hour, so that’s too much like work (if a bit more fun) :slight_smile:

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I believe you. We never really get compensated for our hobbies.

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Very nice…I recognize the Goudy Initialin. It looks good on blocks. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Those are really elegant looking. Thank you for the files.

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Beautiful! I’m really new here and I’m very frustrated with alignment… do you have a trick for getting your engrave images lined up on the blocks correctly?

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Jig. The answer is always a jig.

I have a permanent top left corner jig in my machine. I know exactly where every cut is going to go based on distance from top left.

In this case the cardboard works as a jig. The holes and patterns exactly line up in the design software, so they will always line up when printing.

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I think the kid that gets to play with these blocks is very lucky!

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Hi @rosaliethompson I typically put a piece of cardboard down in the machine and cut that so that my work piece fit into it (even if it’s just two edges). For example, if I was just engraving a single square piece (like a coaster), I would have a file that looks like this:

bitmap

I would cut the blue line out of a piece of cardboard Fastened down to the crumb tray with tape or hold downs. I would then turn off the blue cut line, put my coaster in and refocus to engrave it with the image.

If I am doing multiple of the same size piece, I will go with an edge cut instead of a full one, so my cardboard ends up looking like this:

bitmap2

My square coaster will then fit flat against the 3 sides of the inset and I can remove it easily to put in the next one.

Does that make sense?

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Update: I just started a set on dyed wood (Folk art Ultra dye) and they look really cool!

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Great set! I used the font to engrave a set of travertine coasters with my daughter’s new last name. 6 passes if I remember correctly, pausing between to physically scratch out the dust that kind of fuses in the recessed areas. Huge pain in the neck, if I had known that going in I would have selected a different material.
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Cool idea to do the whole alphabet on a set of blocks! Great share.

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Wow…the dye really makes the blocks stand out nicely. :grinning:

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Gorgeous work! I learned a lot from everyone’s posts today.

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Wow, thanks for the share. They are beautiful!

They are defintly good looking. Thanks for sharing the file.

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Those would be adorable decoration for a kid’s room shelf.

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This is beautiful! Thank you for sharing the file after you spent so many hours getting it right.

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@shogun Yes, it makes sense! …after I thought about it for a whole day lol. I found the ruler tool and I think that was the missing link. Thanks a lot for your reply! This community is so incredibly helpful

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Those look really awesome. Great colors.

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