LASER ETCHED ART
Laser-etched art began as simply getting to know the machinery better through research and testing the limits of the laser. From here different forms of artwork and unique designs spawned; cars and bikes, famous movie and television show posters, and video game weaponry. Much of the work was put on sale at the Capital Brewing Co. Night Markets held in early December 2017, with people buying completed pieces and ordering custom commissions of their own.
Like with most design projects, it starts with a simple idea. In the case of the laser-etched art it is a line drawing of the desired final design. This line drawing can either be a PNG line art file, or can be hand drawn in AutoCAD and sent straight to the machine for etching.
From here the image is ported over to Adobe Illustrator where it is further refined and any artefacts are cleaned up to give a high quality etch drawing. Any different engraving tones or areas requiring shaded are noted here, these give the effect of the image having a full rendered finish.
The Adobe Illustrator drawing is then opened in the laser program APS-Ethos. This program coverts all of the vector lines that make up a drawing into a single unified line that can gave multiple effects added. The most used effect is the scan line generation; this allows for areas to be ‘coloured in’ and adds another level of depth to the piece. Varying the power of the laser and the spread of the lines changes the shade produced. Having configured all of the settings the laser can begin the etching.
The laser etchings can be done on any number of materials and to any desired finish style. Some of the materials used for etchings include:
Material choice, board size and the detail level all effect how long it takes to do a laser etch. The time frame could range anywhere from a few minutes for a simple line drawing or like the case of the Millennium falcon, a full day on the machine.
Laser etched pieces are both a very rewarding and time-consuming design project. I am very thankful to RedRobot for allowing me the opportunity to not only use the laser equipment but to also learn the skills required operate a piece of machinery such as this in the future.