In a previous article I talked about creating a photo on a standard ceramic tile that you can purchase at any home improvement store such as Home Depot or Lowes. I like the new 6044 because it is in an aerosol can so the need to mix the paste with ethanol is not needed anymore. This makes it easy for most and if someone wants one or two pieces than it can be economical to do it.
Create Our Test File
The success of laser engraving any material is getting your power and speed perfect. As those that have read my articles or attended my seminars I preach the importance of establishing the proper power and speed. Too many times customer issues are due to the use of improper power and or speed. Note: My adage is as follows – Never rely on what the manufacturer tells you are the proper power and speeds for a particular material. Now do not throw away what they say, but it is a good starting position. Remember, we all have particular likes and dislikes when it comes to depth and quality. You need to establish your personal settings that you feel are what you want. There are two ways to test a particular material. The first is creating a black square and using the power and speed buttons on your laser to establish the power and the speed. The second type of test file is one that is pictured above. The problem when you are running a test with a spray like the CerMark (Thermark) is that it is rather clumsy when you have to spray and then wipe off to see the results of your job. To re test the material requires us to respray and then to repeat the steps. To make the test more efficient requires that I use the color mapping feature that is in my laser driver. With each colour I can assign a different power and speed. Thus, in the case of this file I can run 10 different settings all in one file which requires 1 spray and 1 wipe. Using this technique means we can spend more time with less wastage when it comes to creating our perfect settings.
Colour Mapped File
The above file shows us the colour mapped file on my laser driver software. You can see that each color has its own power, but the same speed. This gives me a testing window of 5% for each colour. Plus i can run 10 power settings in one job and everything is nicely laid out in one job.
Here is a picture of one tile with 20 test engravings done it with two jobs. The beauty of this system is all the test rectangles are in a line and can be easily assessed. You can see from the above picture that the first set of rectangles was done at power settings of 20% up to 65%. I can look at whichever rectangle has engraved the best and narrow my testing to that setting.
Here Is A Test File on A Home Depot Tile
Here is a picture of one tile with 20 test engravings done it with two jobs. The beauty of this system is all the test rectangles are in a line and can be easily assessed. You can see from the above picture that the first set of rectangles was done at power settings of 70% up to 100%. I can look at whichever rectangle has engraved the best and narrow my testing to that setting.