Laser engraving: how it works & benefits
A qualitative process for customising
We have written this article for explaining you how the laser cut works. We always use this machine to realise your customisations. This is by understanding how the machine engraves and read your file that you will be able to create your most beautiful skateboard or custom gifts. If the technologie doesn’t interest you, you can directly read this article which explains the choice of an adapted file to laser engraving.
The laser engraving working principle
The physical side
Invented by physicians, the laser uses atoms and their quantic properties to produce a unique light. Very directional, with a really pure and unique color, the laser light is composed of identical photons and perfectly superposed. We use lasers in the industrial processes, in the medecine, in telecommunications, at the supermarket checkout…
The laser etching on wood
In our case, we use a laser machine that allows us to cut, engrave or brand a material, we call it a laser cut. This material can be wood, plastic, cardboard, food, leather…
The function we use to customise your skateboards or longboards is the engraving. In this case, the laser comes and sprays the material in a really accurate way. One part is burned and the other one is darken and stays on the deck. A light relief appears:
Because we also like colors, we have rapidly found a solution to engrave tinted skate decks. In this case, the laser removes the color and let appear the raw wood. The laser power is adjust to remove the color and bring a contrast between the wood and the color: on a bright color we are going to darken the wood; on a dark color, we will only remove the color without draken the wood so we will have a nice contrast with the bright wood:
And concretely, how does the laser work ?
During an engraving, the laser works like a printer: he “attacks” the material following horizontal lines and he moves vertically between each: the lines are superposed but as with a printing, they are not visible to the naked eye.
2. The file playback
Only one color by engraving
With the laser engraving process, we obtain a material with engraved parts and raw parts: there is no in between.
In our skateboards’ case, the raw part is raw wood or the color you have chosen; the engraved part is a color of the wood more or less dark depending on the chosen color.
The file we upload in the laser cut software must contain only one color. If your file is colored, it will be automatically converted in pure black and white in order to be read by the machine. Then, each black dot is engraved by the machine without exception !
For the grey shades
In order to retranscribe the grey shades, we use the rasterization process: each shades is converted in a grid pattern of dots more or less dense. The more black dots the shade will be closed to black; at the contrary, the more white dots the shade will be closed to pure white. Those parts rather black or white on files, become wood color parts or colored parts by engraving.
To choose the most adapted file to laser engraving for your customisation, we have written this fully dedicated article.
3. The benefits of laser engraving
Laser engraving isn’t the only automated technic to customise your own skateboard or longboard deck, or even your own phone case. However, unlike other processes, it doesn’t require the creation of tools. Only the creation of your graphic is necessary to make the laser works and get your unique skate deck ! You can easily make unique objects or little series.
Let’s talk about the rendering now. It’s undeniable that this technic amaze !
Thanks to the relief it brings, the level of details and the preservation of the natural aspect of the wood, the laser etching technic impress everybody. Especially when you can watch the machine live operating:
4. To go further
We can go further with this process by varying two elements: the file and the laser settings.
We can vary the laser power to engrave deeper or darken more the wood. Generally we engrave with the maximum of power, so we will vary the laser speed: we will decrease the speed to engrave deeper and burn more the wood. This decreasing costs because it takes more time, but the rendering can worth it !
We can make several engraving passes. In your file it will require several colors. Each color will represent an egraving passe. If the colors are superposed, we will have areas which have several passes and thus a deeper engraving. We can even make each passe with a different laser power to have different “burned shades”.
Again, this other engraving passe costs.
For a special need, please contact us.
Now you know how the laser works from start to finish, for both a simple custom and creating a real artwork. Now let’s start the research of your file with the technology in mind. Do not hesitate to read our article which will give you all the details.
Let’s try your file on our interface !