I chose 24 photos representing some of my favorite memories from throughout my time at MIT. I converted these photos to a laser cuttable SVG format using picsvg.com and aligned them in a pattern that I was happy with in Adobe Illustrator.
Proof of Concept
After measuring the size of the button on my graduation cap, I used a scrap piece of acrylic sheet to cut an appropriate sized hole and test the fit
Aligning my design on the computer before laser cutting on the acrylic
I tested engraving the first few photos and I was happy with the way that things were coming out!
I laser cut a full sized piece for the grad cap topper out of 1/8" acrylic to test my measured dimensions and the fit and feel of the acrylic on the hat. After attaching the acrylic to the cap and trying the cap on, I noted that it was a little uncomfortable due to the weight so I chose to switch to a thinner 1/16" acrylic for the final grad cap topper.
I workd to nail down my laser cutter settings for the final piece. These are the settings I settled on.
Laser cutting the final clear acrylic 1/16" piece
Finished laser cut grad cap topper! Looks amazing!
Graduation photos with my grad cap! It was more comfortable to wear for an extended period of time with the new thinner acrylic. For graduation photos, just having the topper attached by the pinch of the button and string made it easy to put on and take off of the cap depending upon the style of photo I wanted and if I also wanted photos with a plain cap. For my actual graduation day, I wanted extra security to be sure that the acrylic topper would not fall off. I added bolts and nuts in the corners for this security and a fun mechanical engineering look with the fasteners.
Final graduation cap topper on my graduation day from MIT!
My project was featured on MIT Edgerton Center makerspace's Instagram!