Help on making a table sign base?


Would anyone be able to help explain to me on how I could design a table sign holder base (similar to the pictures attached)? Or point me in the right direction? I am brand new to this laser cutting world so I am still trying to figure out how to do things. Any help would be appreciated.




They’re basically made like these: X-Risers

Except that the one with the slot on the bottom is attached to the table sign. :slight_smile:


What level of design literacy do you have? What design program do you use?

You could draw out the lettering by hand and then do a scan trace with a design program. It might be better that way to get everything connected. You could manipulate a font, but getting the right font and making it hold together could be a challenge. You would certainly learn to use union or difference in joining objects and get used to nodes and curve handles.

Something like this.


I do calligraphy so the wording is no problem. I just didn’t know how to design/draw the stand and base where it fit properly.

Thank you for your help!


Thank you! Hmmm…I guess now I just need to figure out how to attach the leg to the base in one design.


Usually its a challenge unpacking a 3D object into its 2D components. If you can visualize first everything in one plane - the letters (connected), the short pole, and the wider base to provide stability to the top (like a tree), and then rotate that so you have the other legs of the base. The simplest from these designs is to make it like 2 "U"s. One right side up, the other right side down so that they can merge together into your 3D object. You could also do one long leg (in the same plane as the pole and letters, and add 2 parallel legs toward the end of each leg, same U style joint but now one at each end, kind like a long table and legs.


Thank you for “painting that picture” for me! I will try it!


It’s the Friday before Memorial Day. The Charlie Hudson rule states: never use a vacation day before a holiday; either the boss will let you go home early or someone will bring in food. There appears to be a corollary to the Charlie Hudson rule: someone may do a quick design tutorial. This may be too simple for melynda_tran, but for any lurkers out there here goes.

To make the stand you need to make a cross: two pieces that meet at a 90 degree angle. So first, design your stand. This is just a simple design, probably a lot simpler than you want, but it is quick and inside my design skills.

If you use Inkscape, the first thing to do is go to Edit -> Preferences and click Tools. You should get this box. Select Geometric Bounding box and click the red X. This means Inkscape will measure from the center of your lines, like the glowforge and not the outside of your line.

I’m going to create my stand from an oval, a rounded rectangle and a square-cornered rectangle:
I just made these with the create rectangles tool and the create circle tool. To make life easier for everyone, after I made them I went to the W and H box and made their dimensions nice round numbers. I also positioned the rounded rectangle (the X and Y box) at easy to do math coordinates. If it isn’t clear, you can type in those boxes to change the dimensions and locations of your objects. The square-cornered rectangle is the same width and half the height of the rounded rectangle. The oval is 30mm wide and 16mm high.

Next, I selected the square-cornered rectangle and changes its X and Y to the same X and Y as the rounded rectangle. For the oval I had to do math. Take 50 (the X of the rectangle) and add 45 (half of the rectangles width, which is 90) to get 95. This is the midpoint of the X-axis. The oval is 30 wide, so divide it in half (15) and subtract that from 95 to get 80. This is the value of X for the oval. For the Y-axis, add the height of 20 to the Y position of 150 to get 170. 170 is the top of the rounded rectangle. The X and Y are always the bottom left-hand-side of an object. Divide the height of the oval in half (16 / 2 = 8) and subtract it from 170 to get 162. This is the value of Y for the oval.
The three objects are still rectangles and circles: they have to be converted to paths. So select each one and then to Path -> Object to Path. Then select all three of them and go to Path -> Union. You wind up with this:
At this point I’d go back and design something better, but I’ll press on since this is a design demonstration and not a make the best looking stand you can challenge. At this point we have half of a base. So go to Edit -> Copy and then paste it. At this point we need to make a slot in each half so they fit together. The height of the slot is half the height of the base and the width is the width of your material (we’ll use 3mm.)
If your material is actually 3mm thick, and you make a 3mm slot, you will have a loose fit. For a tight fit you need to factor in the kerf. For most 3mm materials the kerf is about .008” (.2032mm). We don’t want it to be too tight, so we’ll try .18mm for our kerf. I’d make a test stand first to verify the kerf you want. If you make all of the stands with a guestimated kerf you will be sorry. So, subtract off .18 mm from the width and change the W box to 2.820. You subtract off the whole kerf, because each side of the slot loses half of a kerf to the laser beam and you have two sides. I wouldn’t worry about subtracting any kerf from the height.
Then do the math to center it (95 – 1.41 = 93.59 for the X). Go to Path -> Object to Path and then make a copy of it. The copy has to be placed at the top of the other base half. The math for the top is the Y-value for the top piece (180), plus the height (28), minus the height of the slot (14).
Select one of the base objects and then select its slot. Go to Path -> Difference. Do it for the other pair and you will have this:
You now have a base without a stick-thingee for your table numbers. So add a stick thingee, it is just a tall rectangle. Remember that it has to be added to the base with the slot in the bottom. The math and technique for doing this is presented above.

Save this. This is your stand. DO NOT ADD THE TABLE NUMBER BEFORE YOU SAVE IT. Once saved, create a table number and then union it with the stick-stand. Repeat as necessary, or just elope.


What a nice little tutorial, glad I hung around for it. :wink:
I’ll link it in the Matrix.


Omgosh thank you!! This is exactly what i needed!!

Thank you soooo much,


Yes. That was a good tutorial. Exactly how I did it. You taught to fish. I just gave the fishing pole! Thanks for sharing.


Would you be able to do most of this with the align tools? Either way, I still really appreciate that you wrote out how to do all the math for getting things exactly where you want them, since the align tools don’t always work how you want them to. I’ve also found saving a copy of the original shapes in a hidden layer is helpful for future reference if you need to modify something later.


Thank you so much for those instructions! I use Inkscape and am learning “on the fly” myself!


If by align tools you mean snap to grid then yes, but there are two things to consider:

  1. If you are a fan of symmetry your design needs to be evenly divisible by the spacing of your grid. Generally, although there are exceptions, the more complex your design the smaller your grid spacing or you need to adjust the design. In many cases the math will be more complex.
  2. If you use slots/tabs and want a snug fit your kerf adjustment will mean any snapping to grid will almost always introduce asymmetry. The pieces only need to meet at a 90-degree angle, they do not need to meet exactly centered, so it will work but if asymmetry makes your brain itch… Personally, I don’t mind it but some people do.


I’m not at my computer right now or I’d take screen shots… but I know there’s a set of tools for “align centered horizontally” or “align left sides”, etc. And you can set it to align to the page, or the last part selected, or first part selected, etc. I’ll try to upload some pictures tomorrow


Align and Distribute. You can use those to avoid doing the math and entering numbers. Most of the operations you did would be simple button clicks except for the alignment of the ellipse center on the rectangle top. Even there a clever Inkscape user could use an half height rectangle and some intersection operation.

That said, your walkthrough did a nice job of keeping the number of introduced concepts to a minimum and still getting the job done.


Where symmetry is really important (like you need to flip the piece over) I choose which side of the design I like best and delete the other half, mirror and recombine at least the part that will make the hole where it will be flipped. as the slightest difference will make the flipping impossible.


I love it!

Also, if you’re using a fancy swashy font like that and the bits get too thin, I’ve been having great luck using Offset Path (Illustrator) or Outset Path (Inkscape) to bulk things up just a tiny bit – a point or a pixel will do it sometimes, and not significantly affect the overall look once the piece is finished.

Amusing note: I Googled to see what Offset Path was called in Inkscape, and what was the top hit? Jules’s tutorial! :slight_smile:


Sweeeet! :smile:


This is a fantastic tutorial!

Make sure that your text is all converted to outlines and “union”'d too. I’ve had text that looks like its combined, but it’s actually individual letters that get cut apart.