Project idea share

I’m curious what others plan to use their Engravinators for.

Here are some things I plan to do:

  1. lasering sugar crystals to form sugar lattice designs
  2. scratch paper with the pen plotter attachment
  3. etch something cool into the wooden case of my DIY keyboard

Satisfying my “shiny new project” syndrome. I just got a RailCore 3D printer and already thinking about the next thing. Also LightBurn wants to use it for trade show demos.

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I want to burn everything! Everything I can personalize with custom designs that is…

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Put one in every household and try to take over the world!!!

But seriously, Hi Engravinator people :slight_smile: For those that didn’t already know, I designed it.
Original idea came from @pcon and he has his own plans. For me, besides just the fun of designing it:

  • Generative art (like this )
  • PCB making (UV resist curing)
  • T-Shirts (yes, I’ve tried… will write about soon)

That’s awesome, I was wondering about shirts yesterday, and other fabrics. If I can laser engrave my kid’s name onto his clothes… not to mention print the coolest band t-shirts. Looking forward to hearing more.

It depends a lot on the color and fabric… but basically dark colors that are a cotton/poly blend will typically turn a much lighter color when lasered. I tried it on my 120W laser a while back but it was too easy to just blow through it. UV diode is much easier. Needs more testing, but should work well. The results are subtle, but it was done by a laser, so it’s cool :slight_smile:

Oh, had not considered potential for simple customizations on tee shirts (name in neck area, or on inside hem)

If it lands and I get it assembled on time, I’m hoping to put it to work for some x-mas gifts. Mostly, the typical things-a-beginning-woodworker-makes-a-lot-of kind: coasters, small containers, ornaments.

I’m a map nerd: real and fantasy, so I think the first “big” project I’d like to try (aka, the first thing taking advantage of an object that wouldn’t fit inside a traditional engraver) is making some sort of map on my desk, which is just a big slab of unstained edge-glued birch pieces that I think I got from Ikea years ago.

I’ve also got a couple of half logs curing out in my shed I really want to burn something into when I turn them into benches. Back story: the logs are from a tree next door that fell this summer and started an electrical fire when it crashed through my power lines (no one was hurt, we got the fire under control, etc.). Left behind were some really cool burn patterns in the grass from where the snapped power lines wiggled through. So some sort of lightning/electricity-inspired graphic is definitely going to get burned into the top of those benches when I finish them.


These are all really cool ideas. When the time comes, I would be happy to help set up a project showcase where users can submit photos and descriptions of their projects.

  • Personalized mini baseball bats or baseballs
  • Glass etching?
  • Sugar Cookies (experimental)
  • Adding details to 3D prints (experimental)
  • Assorted wooden engravings
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A couple weeks ago Adam was telling me that laser etching/cutting certain plastics can be very dangerous. That link doesn’t seem to list PETG, among other filament types, so maybe someone else can share a more thorough link to plastics safe/unsafe to etch.

Yeah, the more I read about the more I’m scrapping that idea. I’ll just use a Sharpie.

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PETG, PLA, and PMMA (Acrylic) are all fine but stay away from anything else. Definitely avoid anything vinyl and ABS.

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The ATX Hackerspace article from @mwcz had a link to a method for Identifying Plastics, which was broken. I think this is the intended article : Identifying Unknown Plastics (Makezine)

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I was doing some garden cleanup this weekend and realized how many little things I have that I’d like to engrave: making my wooden plant labels look nicer than just me writing in sharpy, putting my name on tools… I could even take a picture of a plant and etch the picture onto the box I’m using to store its seeds.

Question for you experienced engravers: What’s the lowest specs that would comfortably run the software you’re currently using? I think between this and a couple of other tools, I’m beginning to get to the point to justify a dedicated shop laptop. Most of the other usage I expect is pretty light, and I’ll probably keep all of my CAD modeling on my office desktop just because it’s nice to have a big monitors and graphics acceleration for that.

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It depends on what you are running and how long you are willing to wait. Honestly a basic, ~$300 laptop running Windows would probably be fine. (I say windows mostly because you’d have support for more software). For laser work there’s really 3 major players in terms of software: LaserWeb, LightBurn, and LaserGrbl

LaserWeb is free and open source, but JavaScript based and oh-so-slow to load files and generate gcode.

LaserGrbl is free but closed source and works mostly. It’s fine for basic stuff but not particularly feature rich… LaserWeb has more features.

LightBurn is $40 for the gcode version of the license, has an exceptional UI, and is stupid fast. I value my time so that’s what I use. (Full disclosure, I do contract dev work on LightBurn. But I do so because it’s really really good and wanted to be involved. I don’t say it’s good just because I work on it).

My point in breaking down the software is that a slower laptop will feel even slower with slow software :slight_smile: But yes, if you aren’t in a hurry, you can get by with something basic. Maybe even pick up a used, few-year-old laptop. Something with a Core i5 or something.

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