lasering dishes

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Jan 082010

I wanted to see what would happen if I put a ceramic (stoneware) dish under the lazzzor. I started with the settings for etching glass, but the laser handbook only recommends raster settings, and I wanted to try vector engraving as well, so I tried a bunch of variations.

In the above image, I rubbed a bit of pencil graphite into the engravings to make them more visible. My favorite vector setting was 100% speed, 50% power (on the 35W Epilog). Slower speed or more power raised an ugly lumpy bead of molten glaze, but 100/50 gave a nice smooth scratch.

For my raster test (lower left in the image), I used the recommended settings for glass at 600dpi: 35% speed, 10% power. It looked just fine so I didn’t try any other settings.

I thought maybe I could melt through the colored glaze to reveal the white ceramic underneath, but that didn’t work.

The zigzag line in the above image was engraved at 75% speed/100% power, and the straight line at 14/100. Neither was able to make a white line through the blue glaze. I was afraid to go any slower, because there was already quite a lot of heat building up. Also, I’m thinking of doing this in bulk to a lot of dishes, so I’m ruling out any technique that goes slowly (and thus costs more).

 Posted by at 7:25 pm
  • Anonymous

    Don't forget to put it on the wiki.

  • has anyone tried lasering on leather-hard clay vessels?

    • Are you in NYC, Robin? I'd love to experiment if you want to bring in some clay pieces. It's difficult to work with anything that's not mostly flat, so a plate is more practical than a vase.

    • I think we tried leather in the past, but it's not allowed anymore because it creates a horrible smell, and some tanned leather may release dangerous chemicals.

      • edgertor

        “leather-hard clay” is a descriptive term for clay that hasn't been through its first firing and still has some water content.

        since it's basically sorta dry wet clay, i wonder if the laser could do anything besides evaporate the water in it–or basically end up “firing” it in places, which would be weird!

  • Milarepa

    You need to get this stuff they use during burning to make the colors. It's a fine powder, if you manage to get a thin layer onto the surface before etching, you might end up with a colored line. Maybe wetten it a big to make it stick.
    Please try out, I'm curious…