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Making cookie cutters out of Text

I'm having trouble with something that seems should be fairly simple.
I want to extrude text, but just the edge. Imagine making a "cookie cutter" where the "letter" is 100mm tall, but it is only an outline with 2mm thick walls, 5mm tall.
Suppose I type the number "1". I then extrude it 5mm. I end up with a 5mm thick "1". I then make a new "1", but this one is 94mm tall. Two things happen... If I overlay the numbers, they haven't scaled the same. And I can't "extrude/remove" to create an outline.
So how do I take a standard text character, convert it to an outline, thicken the outline to 2mm and then extrude the whole thing 5mm?

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