Creating a Laser Cut Custom Puzzle Using AI

Maker Experiment
29 Apr 202318:47

TLDRIn this engaging video, Trevor from Maker Experiment demonstrates the creation of a custom laser-cut puzzle using AI-generated imagery. The process involves cutting a clear cast acrylic border, printing a custom design onto the back, and then using AI to generate an image. Trevor utilizes Dolly 2 on to create an image of an 'evil Panda scientist' which is then printed with a white backer for opacity. The puzzle design is generated online, and the pieces are meticulously cut out. Despite some imperfections due to haste and lack of surface cleaning, the final puzzle comes together well, showcasing a successful blend of technology and creativity. The video emphasizes the importance of patience, thoroughness, and embracing the learning process when experimenting with new techniques.


  • 🎨 Trevor plans to create a custom puzzle using a quarter-inch clear cast acrylic and a custom design printed on the backside using AI.
  • 🔍 He uses Dolly 2 from to generate an image of an 'evil Panda scientist mixing sparkling chemicals in a realistic style'.
  • 🖨 Trevor decides to print the design on the acrylic in two layers: color first, then a white layer to act as a backer for opacity.
  • 📄 Adobe Illustrator is utilized to create a 10-inch by 10-inch puzzle shape and to reflect the image for backward printing.
  • 📑 A PDF is saved for the printer software and the square design is sent to the laser for cutting.
  • 🏗️ The laser cutting process involves setting the correct speed, power, and frequency for the acrylic material.
  • 🔵 In the printing setup, Trevor ensures the color is printed first, followed by the white under base, skipping the clear layer.
  • 🧩 A puzzle generator is used online to create a 256 by 256 tile puzzle, which translates to 49 pieces.
  • 🖥 The generated puzzle design is imported into Illustrator, adjusted to fit the puzzle shape, and prepared for laser cutting.
  • ⚙️ The laser cutting machine is used to cut out the individual puzzle pieces from the printed acrylic.
  • 🛠️ Lessons learned include the importance of allowing the ink to fully cure, cleaning the acrylic surface before printing, and being patient during the process.
  • 🧩 The final puzzle comes together with some imperfections due to the experimental process, but overall, Trevor is pleased with the outcome.

Q & A

  • What material is used for creating the custom puzzle?

    -Quarter inch clear cast acrylic is used for creating the custom puzzle.

  • How is the custom design printed onto the acrylic?

    -The custom design is printed onto the back side of the acrylic so that it's not felt from the front.

  • What AI tool is used to create the image for the puzzle?

    -Dolly 2 from is used to generate the image for the puzzle.

  • What is the size of the puzzle shape created in Adobe Illustrator?

    -The puzzle shape created in Adobe Illustrator is 10 inches by 10 inches.

  • Why is a white layer printed under the color layer?

    -The white layer is printed under the color layer to provide an opaque backer and prevent the print from being translucent.

  • What is the process for cutting out the puzzle shape with a laser?

    -The puzzle shape is cut out with a laser after importing the vector acrylic quarter inch settings and adjusting the speed, power, and frequency.

  • How does the puzzle generator work?

    -The puzzle generator allows users to input the number of pieces and overall size, then it generates an SVG file that can be used to cut out the puzzle pieces.

  • Why is it important to mask the back of the printed acrylic before cutting?

    -Masking the back of the printed acrylic prevents burn marks and other imperfections from appearing on the back of the puzzle pieces, which could affect the final appearance if the puzzle is used for display.

  • What issue occurred with the print not adhering well to some pieces?

    -The issue with the print not adhering well to some pieces was likely due to the acrylic surface not being completely clean, which affected the printing process.

  • What was the final outcome of the puzzle project?

    -The final outcome of the puzzle project was a custom puzzle with a unique AI-generated design. There were some imperfections due to the experimental nature of the process, but overall, the project was considered a success and a good learning experience.

  • What advice does the maker give for those interested in trying similar projects?

    -The maker advises to be patient, ensure the acrylic surface is clean, and not to be afraid to try new techniques. It's also suggested to wait for the ink to fully cure before proceeding with cutting.

  • Where can viewers find more information and community support for laser projects?

    -Viewers can find more information and community support at, where there is a free laser community and a membership option for more in-depth discussions and live sessions.



😀 Custom Puzzle Creation Introduction

Trevor from Maker Experiment introduces the video's project, which is creating a custom puzzle. He outlines the plan to cut a shape from a quarter-inch clear cast acrylic and print a custom design on the backside. Trevor will use AI to generate the image and then cut out puzzle pieces to assemble the final product. The process begins with designing the image using Dolly 2, a tool from OpenAI, and selecting a design with an evil Panda scientist. The design is then prepared for printing on the acrylic, with a white backer added for opacity.


🖨️ Printing and Laser Cutting the Acrylic Puzzle

The process continues with printing the design onto the acrylic. Trevor explains the importance of printing the white base layer first for opacity and then the colored image. The printed acrylic piece is then prepared for laser cutting. He mentions using tape or an opaque acrylic piece for the auto height adjustment during laser cutting. The print job is set up to print the color layer first, followed by the white under base. After printing, Trevor is eager to test cutting the printed material without letting the ink fully cure, which is a deviation from his usual process.


🧩 Generating and Cutting the Puzzle Pieces

Trevor discusses using a puzzle generator website to create the puzzle design. He emphasizes the importance of selecting the number of tiles and the overall size, choosing a 49-piece puzzle with a 10 by 10-inch size. The generated SVG file is imported into Adobe Illustrator, where Trevor modifies the design to fit his puzzle shape and prepares it for laser cutting. He details the laser cutting process, including the settings used for the acrylic material. After cutting, some issues are noted, such as brown burn marks and ink not adhering well due to an unclean surface. Despite these challenges, Trevor remains committed to experimenting and learning.


🎉 Final Assembly and Reflection on the Project

The final steps involve peeling off the individual puzzle pieces and assembling the puzzle. Trevor acknowledges some mistakes made during the process, such as moving too quickly and not cleaning the acrylic surface properly. Despite the imperfections, he is pleased with the final design and the learning experience. He encourages viewers to try new techniques and not be afraid of failure. Trevor invites viewers to subscribe, turn on notifications, and engage with him on social media for more content and project updates.



💡Laser Cut

Laser cutting is a technology that uses a laser to cut materials, typically metals or acrylics, by melting them. In the video, Trevor uses laser cutting to create the border of the custom puzzle from quarter inch clear cast acrylic. This process is crucial as it sets the stage for the rest of the project by providing the physical outline of the puzzle.

💡Custom Puzzle

A custom puzzle refers to a jigsaw puzzle that is designed and made specifically for a particular purpose or individual, often with a unique or personalized image on it. In the video, the main theme revolves around creating a custom puzzle with an AI-generated image and laser-cut pieces, showcasing a blend of technology and craft.

💡AI (Artificial Intelligence)

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is the field of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. In the context of the video, AI is used to generate an image of an 'evil Panda scientist' which becomes the design on the custom puzzle, demonstrating the application of AI in creative processes.


Acrylic is a type of plastic material known for its clarity and strength. In the video, Trevor uses quarter-inch clear cast acrylic to create the base of the custom puzzle. The choice of acrylic is significant as it provides a durable and transparent platform for the puzzle design.

💡Dolly 2

Dolly 2 is a tool or platform, likely an AI-based image generator, used by Trevor to create the custom design for the puzzle. It is mentioned as the source of the 'evil Panda scientist' image, highlighting the use of advanced software in the design phase of the project.

💡Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics editing software used for creating and editing images based on vectors. Trevor uses Adobe Illustrator to create a cut-out puzzle shape and to reflect the image for printing on the backside of the acrylic, which is a critical step in preparing the design for the puzzle.

💡UV Printing

UV printing is a technique that involves curing ink with ultraviolet light, which is used to print the custom design onto the acrylic. In the video, Trevor discusses the process of printing with a white underbase layer and a color layer on top to ensure the design is opaque rather than translucent.

💡Jigsaw Puzzle Generator

A jigsaw puzzle generator is a software tool that creates a digital template for cutting a picture into puzzle pieces. Trevor uses such a tool to generate a 256 by 256 piece puzzle from the AI-generated image, which is essential for transforming the flat design into a functional jigsaw puzzle.

💡SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)

SVG is an XML-based vector image format for two-dimensional graphics that supports interactivity and animation. Trevor downloads the puzzle design in SVG format to use in Adobe Illustrator, which is a key file type for maintaining the scalability and quality of the image for cutting.

💡Laser Engraving Machine

A laser engraving machine is used to engrave or cut designs into materials like wood, plastic, or metal. Trevor uses this machine to cut out the puzzle pieces from the acrylic after printing the design, which is a vital step in assembling the final product.


Masking in the context of the video refers to the process of covering certain areas of the material to protect them from the laser during cutting or to prevent ink from adhering during printing. Trevor discusses the decision to mask the front but not the back of the puzzle for the initial test, which affects the final appearance of the puzzle pieces.


Creating a custom puzzle using quarter inch clear cast acrylic and AI-generated design.

The process involves cutting out the puzzle shape and border from acrylic.

A custom design is printed on the backside of the acrylic, invisible from the front.

Using Dolly 2 from OpenAI to generate an image for the project.

Selecting an AI-generated image of an evil Panda scientist for the puzzle design.

Reflecting the image in Adobe Illustrator for printing on the backside of the acrylic.

Printing with a white backer layer for opacity and depth.

Laser cutting the acrylic puzzle border using a laser cutter.

Aligning the acrylic piece for auto height adjustment in the laser cutter.

Setting up the print job with color first and white under base on the second layer.

Using a puzzle generator to create a 256 by 256 tile puzzle design.

Downloading the SVG file of the puzzle design for cutting.

Cutting the puzzle pieces from the printed acrylic without masking the back.

Peeling off the puzzle pieces from the acrylic sheet.

Learning from mistakes such as not allowing enough time for ink to cure and不干净 (not cleaning) the acrylic surface properly.

Assembling the custom puzzle and reflecting on the experimental process.

Encouraging viewers to try new techniques and not be afraid of making mistakes.

Inviting audience suggestions for future puzzle designs.

The importance of patience and proper preparation in the creative process.