A friend of mine asked me to test out laser cutting on some compressed sponges, which she wants to use for a business card. It came out really well!
Both the raster and vector cutting was done at 100% power and 100% speed. Cellulose is surprisingly resiliant stuff. The serif font looked OK down to 14 pt (sideways, on the right). The rest of them looked better at 18 pt and up. Click on the photo above for specific fonts used.
The raster is nice betcause you get to keep the counterforms (spaces inside the letters) rather than having them fall out. You can also get much finer looking lines with the raster, and because it doesn’t go all the way through it doesn’t make the sponge unstable. But, it takes longer, and doesn’t look as nice pre-expansion.
Interestingly, you can also get some pseudo-3d effects with the raster settings and gradients, which I played around with some.
By the way, the sponges look awesome when they’re expanding:
The sponges themselves are available through craft stores including Blick, or if you want someone else to do the cutting, they’re for sale on Etsy.com.