View Full Version : Wood Plates for Engraving

Randy McCullough
08-10-2010, 3:07 PM
I am new to this forum and find it interesting and helpfull. I was wondering if anyone out there has a source or knows of a supplier of turned wooden plates that will work for engraving. I have purchased plates from Hoftcraft,they are made from basswood which burns in fairly well but not as good as maple. I also have a complete woodshop and have turned quite a few maple plates some from curly maple. Is there a market out there for items like that or not? The tricky part is getting plates with clearence for the middle part for the laser head to clear the rim. My laser has a 2" lens and a couple of times the cone on the laser head had to be removed. Customers that we have done these for really like them. I plan on turning more maple and cherry plates in the near future to get an idea
as to if its worth my time.

Todd Suire
08-10-2010, 5:43 PM
I've gotten wooden plates from Hobby Lobby and Michael's and they've turned out pretty good. I don't know what type of wood they're made of though.

I do not use the air assist cone when lasering, only for cutting. Therefore I usually don't have any clearance issues with the 2" lense.

Randy McCullough
08-10-2010, 6:25 PM
I have used the plates from Hobby Lobby. For the most part they are made from pine which can give some problems due to the grain. It is a soft grained wood which will not laser evenly but might work depending on what effect you are looking for. I may post up a picture of one of the plates that I just finished up out of maple that I turned in my shop. If anyone is interested.

Mike Chance in Iowa
08-10-2010, 8:44 PM
Welcome to the forum Randy. We are always interested in photos. Well maybe not the slideshow of the family reunion, but photos involving lasers, power and projects are always fun. :D

Randy McCullough
08-11-2010, 11:23 AM
Here is the pic of the plate that we did for the Corvette group a few weeks ago for them to auction off for charity. This plate was bought from a thrift store. I focused the laser on the middle of the plate ran that at 300 dpi 75 speed 100 power. That setting on my 30 watt laser seems to work best. I found that at times 2 passes are needed depending on how thick the finish is. 300 dpi seems to work best because you can burn away to much wood and lose detail. After engraving the graphic in the center I refocused on the rim and ran that at 500 dpi to crisp up the text. Then we used a walnut stain, use a oil based stain so it will not bleed out of the engraving under the finish. Quick on quick off with the stain. Let it dry and a couple of coats of finish and its done. If anyone does a plate make sure to finish with a wash coat so if you use the stain it should not darken the wood very much. I run all graphics through Photograv, it sets up a dot patern that works best.

Frank Corker
08-11-2010, 11:53 AM
Great result Randy, the plate came out really well, nicely centred too.

Mike Null
08-11-2010, 12:57 PM
I agree. Well done!

Mike Chance in Iowa
08-11-2010, 1:11 PM
That plate looks fantastic. Great job on describing how you did it and what you used.

Viktor Voroncov
08-11-2010, 1:24 PM
Here is work from one of my customers, diameter 12"

Frank Corker
08-11-2010, 2:12 PM
Looks good Viktor but you should have posted a larger picture, the one there is so small it looks like an avatar on my screeen

Randy McCullough
08-11-2010, 2:12 PM
A couple of other hints on engraving plates. We set up everything in Corel using the diameter of the plate as the outside circle and placing it in the upper left hand corner of the laser bed. I use a couple of blocks set flush with the top and left ruler. Butt the plate against the blocks. In Corel place the circle at the top and left ruler. Hopefully your laser is accurate with the X and Y settings. If not you will have to compensate for that. Also, if you are going to do more than one plate of the same diameter then set up a template. On the 10" plates that I did quite a few of I cut a piece of 1/4" ply to 12" x 12" built a frame to the thickness of the plate set the 10" hairline circle 1" in from the top and left side and marked the upper left corner then cut it with the laser and saved it as a Corel template file. Then anytime I have to do the plates again everything centers on that template. If doing text on the rim use a hairline circle where it is to be placed on the plate as far as diameter set your text, attach it to the circle place it and break apart the text. Drag down a guide line and make sure the text is not off. In my Corel software it tips the text 1 or 2 degrees. Remember 1/16" on the left and 1/16" on the right is a lot. I have learned the hard way. Hope that helps anyone that is interested. And remember to delete any hairlines or you will have a bad thing happen.

Viktor Voroncov
08-11-2010, 2:17 PM
Frank, unfortunately I have only this picture. We produce this plaques here in Lithuania and sell to laser engravers and it was FIRST PLAQUE EVER WE SOLD, and FIRST PLAQUE ENGRAVED BY CUSTOMER :) Picture was taken I think in 1999 but still in use as people love it.