Tuesday , May 22 2018
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Setting Up a Test File For Thermark / Cermark

Typically, when it comes to testing materials I have two methods. One involves creating a black box in Corel and just engraving the image. The second involves an actual test file that uses the colour mapping in your laser driver. Typically on most material such as plastic or wood I can adjust my power or speed on my machine as the material is engraving. Adjusting my power while the machine is running allows me to see my results as the machine is working. This makes it easy for me to quickly get the proper power and speed. However, on a product that uses Thermark / Cermark. I can not see the results of the mark until I clean off the spray. This makes using the black box not very good for this application. However the worst thing when testing is having to spray than burn than wash off than spray again and so forth. For this reason I need a better way to test. To do this what I need created was a file that relies on the colour mapping feature in your driver. Basically what I am doing is sending over 10 coloured boxes all with different powers or speeds while the other viable power or speed stays the same.

Sample Test File

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Here are a couple of sample test files that I have in CorelDraw. You can see that I have 10 colours listed. Each one has a different power marked while the speed will stay the same at 100%. Thus, I can run a job with 10 different powers and speeds and do it all in one job. I can rinse off the spray and then compare. The other reason I like to do this is because I have 10 different samples side by each and it makes comparing very easy. So all we need to do with this file than is to change the numbers on the right so that they reflect the powers or the speeds that we want to use. Make sure you put in the values. Trust me, you will never remember them and if you have to come back to your sample a year later like I do then you will know exactly what you have done. Notice I have also placed in the DPI for the file. A lot of times I will test with different resolutions so this will affect my power and thus my settings.

Record Your Colour Settings

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Because we are using 10 colours we will need to use some colours that out of our normal settings. For example, it is easy to do Red, Green or Blue as they are 255 and 0, 0 only in a different order. Other colours such as orange and pink are not as obvious as to their colour settings. If you select the colour you are using (1) the status bar will indicate the RGB settings that you need to use. In this case green is R:0 G:255 B:0 (2). Write them down as we will need to input them into the Epilog driver. Note: If you are not seeing RGB values and you see CMYK then you need to go to change your document’s color space to RGB see the next slide.

Get to Your Document Colour Settings

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Go to TOOLS | COLOUR MANAGEMENT (2) | DOCUMENT SETTINGS (3)

Change Your Primary Colour Mode to RGB

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Change your primary colour mode to RGB (1). Click Ok.

Check That The Mode Has Changed

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If I hover my cursor over the color green you will notice that the color is set in RGB

Here is Our Orange Colour

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Our Orange colour (1) is R:255 G:102 B:0 (2)

Open Up the Print Preferences for the Laser

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Once our colours are set we need to input our values for each colour into the driver. I have opened up the driver and I have selected the Marble preset (1). If you do not have the presets set up you will need to enter in the values. Next, select the first color we are going to use, which in this case is black. Select Engrave C02 (2). You can see my colours on the left (3) Change your power and speed to whatever it needs to be for the rest of the colours. Note: in the Trotec software you can move a colour up or down if you want it to engrave before or after another colour. To move a color up or down in the order, click on the color and select the number you want to engrave in that order. Note: the colours will engrave in the order that they are listed in the colour panel . In this example Black first , red second, blue third and so forth

Here are my colours setup

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Here are all my colours setup. Each colour will engrave than the power will change for the next colour. The speed is the same.

Save You Settings

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Note: You can save this setting if you want. I have created a group called Testing Files and in it I have created Cermark on Tile (1)

Here Is A Ceramic Tile Test Piece

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You can see that my test tile has created a number of test bars. Some engrave some do not. I suggest you use the lowest power you can get away with.

Here is A Glass Test Piece

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Here is a Piece of plate glass and you can see I am missing the first row at 5% as it wiped off.

Here is Another Piece of Glass

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On this piece you can see that there is some flaking going on with the glass.

Marble Tile

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Here is some marble tile

Here is Green

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You can see in the red box my optimal power. This is on a 35 watt. The 20 S and 25 power are perfect.

One of My Favourites (Home Depot Tile)

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Here is one of my favourites. Now all i need to do is get the real thing 🙂 Thermak used this on their website.

Here is a 12 by 12 Inch Home Depot Tile

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Here is a 12 by 12 inch Home Depot. Notice that I even got some shading in the background.

Green Tiger

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Ceramic Tile with Green spray

Here is a Bronze 12 by 12 Tile

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Here is a bronze tile 12 by 12 from Home Depot. Note: The colours other than bronze need to be mixed with Denatured alcohol and an air brush. DO NOT USE A FOAM BRUSH.

Here is My Airbrush

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Here is my airbrush. I picked it up at an art store. Do not cheap out on this attachment.

Tumbled Marble

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Here is tumbled marble. Note: I had to use a Krylon clear coat as the compound does not fully adhere. I used a satin finish to keep the original look of the tile.

A High Ball Glass (Green)

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Here is a high ball glass. This is pretty fine text.

A High Ball Glass (Bronze)

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Here is the gold. You can see a little bit of roughness on this close up shot. However at normal zoom it is hard to see it

How about 2 Colours

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I did two colours on this tile. I did the blue first and the green second.

Here is a Photo

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Here is a photo. Glass can be a bit tricky and the image looks better when the glass is full of a coloured liquid preferably white.

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