View Full Version : Slate

Linda Tetreault
09-17-2004, 7:21 PM
I visited a slate factory today, to pick up samples & buy some blanks, while there we were told that they have a $50,000 laser which is sitting around unused. They told us no one uses it because when they engrave slate at the end of the day the entire machine needs to cleaned which takes hours. Is this a common problem, because by Wednesday there will be an Epilog sitting in my spare room & I was expecting to lots of slate & I was hoping I wouldn't have to revamp my whole plan for at least a week. Any thought would be appreciated. Linda

Shaddy Dedmore
09-17-2004, 10:44 PM
Sounds like they don't use an exhaust fan. It shouldn't be any worse than the other materials you can engrave. Just keep the mirrors clean and use a dust collection system to keep air flowing through the laser enclosure.

I use a grizzly DC (http://www.grizzly.com/products/item.cfm?itemnumber=G1163) for $150
and don't have any problems with it. It's the only one I've ever owned so I can't compare like, noise or anything... but it works and it has a small footprint. I've done some test samples of slate (not a great deal) and it seemed to etch fine. Just as an experiment I ran it full power and about 5% speed, then I ran it again. I just wanted to see how deep it'd go. It has a cool glazed look around the edges after the second pass, not sure it's cost effective, but it looked cool for a sample piece.

Anyway, If I can remember my point, slate fine, no worry.

George M. Perzel
09-18-2004, 9:14 AM
Hi Linda;
Slate is not the ideal material for engraving on a laser. The process generates a considerable amount of grit and, even with a good dust collector, requires a lot of cleanup. The real problem is that the grit gets into mechanical bearing and slide surfaces which are difficult to clean and cause wear. The only material I dislike more is stamp rubber- miserable stuff- will not do any more rubber stamps- even for relatives who beg me constantly.
If you engrave slate, back off on the power, otherwise surface will be a kind of glazed char. Best results are obtained if slate is sprayed with a clear lacquer or a poly coat. Here's a sample:

Linda Tetreault
09-18-2004, 9:28 AM
Thanks for the info, I have 1 company waiting for welcome signs so I may just switch to sand blast for
slate & use the laser for cutting the mask. Geez, I haven't started the first process & I'm into the second. Good thing I'm a gadget freak! Linda;)

PS: if this is a gloat, I'll send pictures after everything is in place.

Gary Shoemake
09-30-2004, 6:38 PM
Hi George
Did you coat it before or after engraving? Just got a load of slate from Vermont as a gift from Sister in law.


George M. Perzel
09-30-2004, 7:30 PM
Hi Gary;
Spray it before lasering-makes a big difference in contrast. Good Luck

Chuck Burke
10-01-2004, 12:03 AM
You mentioned that you had a spare room for the epilog.
Now you are thinking of sandblasting ( not a bad idea actually).
Forgive me if I underestimate your abilities, but be CERTAIN to contain your sandblasting equipment in a room by itself. The grit from sandblasting, much like the grit from engraving slate as George mentioned, will ruin almost EVERYTHING in its near proximitiy.
Congratulations on your jobs by the way.

Chuck Burke
Pacific LaZer Works
Woodinville WA.