PDA

View Full Version : Laser Engraving Denim (Aprons?)



Keith Outten
04-20-2003, 11:31 AM
This is something new, at least to me. I received this pcture in a newsletter from the manufacturer of my engraver. Periodically they post these types of things on their web site as well, new ideas and project tips.

Engraving on denim material is actually a unique idea, lots of ideas come to mind for using this technique including engraving the new SawMill Creek shop aprons. Our apron will have the SawMill Creek logo and be personalized with your name on them.

Our embroidery supplier is looking for two styles of blue denim aprons for us, a short apron and a long apron for the turners. If anyone knows of a good supplier or aprons please let me know. We would like to find a good quality apron for our members with plenty of pockets and hopefully velcro instead of cloth ties.

We could also investigate having our aprons custom made, the cost would increase but if we can order in volume we can probably get them made at a reasonable price.

We have almost 1000 members, someone must have some experience or contacts in this area.

Anyone interested in a denim shop sign?

Ken Garlock
04-20-2003, 12:34 PM
Hi Keith, its old grouchy again:)

I think the engraved apron is a really neat idea. While I don't have any sources for you, I definitely want to purchase a short version, and maybe even a long one.

BTW, when do you have time to sleep?:)

Nick Silva
08-28-2003, 11:37 AM
wow! This is really neat.
Now before I stick my best pair of jeans into the laser,
Are you engraving directly onto the denim material and at what
power level and speed.

BTW, I think an apron idea is great. A lot of clubs might go for that.
peace.

Keith Outten
08-28-2003, 1:58 PM
Nick,

Engraving denim is very slick, from blue jeans to denim aprons and handbags. My laser is a 35 watt machine and as you know each machine is a bit different so you will have to experiment with different power levels, I always use 100% speed for denim and yep you engrave directly on the denim. For some projects you may have to make a plywood platform to raise the area to be engraved above the table and allow you to gather the garment underneath. Start with a low power setting and work your way up untill you get the desired contrast. Note that real thin denim probably won't work, it just burns the material up, normal jeans material (11 oz denium) is great.

I took a piece of scrap denim and did several samples, one graphic I engraved was a dolphin and the results were fantastic. The dolphin had lots of shading and the engraving was amazing.

Check the local colleges, this fall you can get lots of work engraving sorority and fraternity emblems on back pockets :)

Don't forget the racetracks, racing fans will eat up custom engraving on those denim hats...

John Hardage
03-27-2007, 3:59 PM
Nick,

Engraving denim is very slick, from blue jeans to denim aprons and handbags. My laser is a 35 watt machine and as you know each machine is a bit different so you will have to experiment with different power levels, I always use 100% speed for denim and yep you engrave directly on the denim. For some projects you may have to make a plywood platform to raise the area to be engraved above the table and allow you to gather the garment underneath. Start with a low power setting and work your way up untill you get the desired contrast. Note that real thin denim probably won't work, it just burns the material up, normal jeans material (11 oz denium) is great.

I took a piece of scrap denim and did several samples, one graphic I engraved was a dolphin and the results were fantastic. The dolphin had lots of shading and the engraving was amazing.

Check the local colleges, this fall you can get lots of work engraving sorority and fraternity emblems on back pockets :)

Don't forget the racetracks, racing fans will eat up custom engraving on those denim hats...

What's the approximate power setting on your 35w at 100speed? I'd like to try this, but I hate to even kill my old work jeans, they're so comfortable:)

Belinda Williamson
03-27-2007, 4:13 PM
Keith,

I recall hearing at some point that the process to laser mark denim is patented, just like to process to mark bricks.
Has there been some change in the patent situation? Has anyone else heard of this?

Joe Pelonio
03-27-2007, 4:26 PM
See patent below. As I understood it they had a patent on the process not in doing it. If there are any patent issues it would be for Universal, Epilog and the rest of the laser manufacturers. To prevent people like us from engraving denim, is like saying that the inventor of a new kind of shovel can prevent us from digging.

BTW try to find a scrap to experiment on, settings should just bleach the denim, but WILL cut through it if too much power. On my 45 watt I use 96 speed 30 power according to my notes (haven't done it in a while).

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?u=%2Fnetahtml%2Fsrchnum.htm&Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&r=1&l=50&f=G&d=PALL&s1=6252196.PN.&OS=PN/6252196&RS=PN/6252196

Belinda Williamson
03-27-2007, 4:29 PM
Joe,

I agree with you, and that is the patent to which I was I was referring. I just read the patent and it basically covers everything we do. Just wondering if anyone else had heard of the patent. Thanks!

I also recall being told that the denim marks better if damp. Any input?

Frank Corker
03-27-2007, 5:49 PM
Can I just throw my two penneth worth in here. If you are engraving blue denim, use a negative image, I've seen a lot which have been incorrectly done with a positive image.

:D

Frank Corker
03-27-2007, 5:55 PM
and just to prove my point, the US flag has a red stripe at the top - as can be seen from the promotional picture in the orignal posting by Keith is just such an error.

Here is how it should be.... :cool:

Joe Pelonio
03-27-2007, 6:12 PM
Ha, Frank, you busted Keith!!:eek:

Kim Vellore
03-27-2007, 8:06 PM
The only problem with negative is either you have to laser the whole denim or have a dark background around the image which makes it look like something has been stuck no easy way out. Kim

Keith Outten
03-27-2007, 8:25 PM
What's the approximate power setting on your 35w at 100speed? I'd like to try this, but I hate to even kill my old work jeans, they're so comfortable:)

John,

My log shows that I was using 90% speed and 70% power for the denim items I engraved.

Bill Cunningham
03-27-2007, 8:27 PM
Yup!!! Gotta remember to invert that image:D
Glad it was 'my' old jacket..
http://www.sawmillcreek.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=53696&d=1167413174

Frank Corker
03-27-2007, 9:30 PM
You're right there Bill. Actually with all due respect to anyone who has tried it, the natural tendency is not to do a negative image. I keep forgetting on just about every dark surface that I get ready to engrave, I have a load of junk to prove it.

Leigh Costello
03-27-2007, 11:39 PM
I did a pair of jeans with my name on the back pocket...and...I used the laser to cut them to the exact length I needed to make them into Capris. (the lower part of the legs were trashed from use) A little roll and the pants are re-born and no one can grab my jeans by mistake!

By the way, I used 90 speed, 20 power to mark them, but I can't find my notes on what settings I used to cut them.

John Hardage
03-28-2007, 3:20 AM
John,

My log shows that I was using 90% speed and 70% power for the denim items I engraved.

Thanks much, I was wondering about where to start. I've been holding off on a personal project because I didn't want to wind up with my skin as the backdrop for the pic:D

John Hardage
03-28-2007, 3:30 AM
Has anyone noticed the engraved areas being brittle/weakened in any obvious way? I've been wondering just how much the laser affects the material, thinking of avoiding joint areas just to be on the safe side.

Frank Corker
03-28-2007, 5:54 AM
John - the settings are too high if the edges have become brittle. In reality you are branding them, burning off a layer off the material. The first time I tried it, the whole thing looked brilliant, until you gave it a little tug in both directions, then I had a great big stringy hole in them.

Joe Pelonio
03-28-2007, 10:56 AM
John - the settings are too high if the edges have become brittle. In reality you are branding them, burning off a layer off the material. The first time I tried it, the whole thing looked brilliant, until you gave it a little tug in both directions, then I had a great big stringy hole in them.
With Denim I think of it more as bleaching out the color, use less power and do again with more if needed. Also try doing fleece, it engraves beautifully, on that it seems to be melting the fluffy fibres but doesn't affect the strength.

Leigh Costello
03-29-2007, 1:08 AM
If you use high speed, low power combinations the material is only marked. I turned a denim patch to crumbly trash using too much power and too slow speed. I have washed the jeans I did several times and the pockets are holding up well.

Good Luck experimenting!

Lorene Fangman
04-04-2007, 1:16 AM
I practiced on a dark little jean purse and a piece of junk off the leg of my sons jeans which was lighter. The darker one burned better, and the lighter one of course was barely there and also more weak spots in the burn area. I washed them both and the dark one stayed on great, the lighter one got lighter and more looser in the burn areas. Now I also did a cotton sweatshirt, dark navy and it marked good until it was washed and the logo kind of blended with the shirt, if I would have ran it one more time I think it would have worked good. I can't remember my settings, I'm not at work, but can look them up if needed. I run a CamTech L10 25watt...happy lasering...lorene

Keith Outten
04-04-2007, 5:42 AM
Walmart sells a denim carry all bag that is inexpensive and a good source for practice material. The bags can be cut into large pieces for practice or to use for other projects. These bags also make nice engraved gifts.

You can find them in the sewing department.

After thinking about it the laser settings I stated above sound a bit high but that is what my engraving log shows that I used. Possibly the time frame corresponds to the CO2 tube problems I was having at the time so I wouldn't suggest anyone rely on my settings. I did a lot of experimenting and got some excellent results..I also had some serious failures that caused the material to fray. What I learned is that the speed and power levels required are very sensitive and would have to be fine tuned for each machine and whenever a CO2 tube is changed. I haven't had the time to try again engraving denim since my tube was replaced, I expect that I will be back to square one again.

.

Bill Cunningham
04-04-2007, 8:11 PM
Blue demim always works best, I have tried brown and black with lessor results.. I kinda figured black would go nice, but the laser does not seem to bleach those colours as well as the blue.. You can always practice on the dollarstore iron on patches as well.. Their blue, and bleach quite well.. Also, if you have some good designs, they can be sold.. It's a cheap easy way to get a club logo, or any design, i.e. flowers for the girls, or ? for the guys, onto anything a demin patch will stick to..

Ray Mighells
04-04-2007, 9:13 PM
My wife made me a shop apron (bib type) with heavy black denim while we were in Texas. I engraved 3 lines of text at the top. Since it was solid text I didn't need to invert it. It did an acceptable job, but you don't know how far you can go until you try. I'll pursue this further on scraps. I know a lot of woodcarvers have leather aprons. maybe some business there from clubs, shows etc. Engraving on pocket sized material and sell ready to install could be possible. I haven't taken any pics yet, and I don't know how to reduce them small enough to post. Any advice is welcome.

Bob Keyes
04-05-2007, 7:27 AM
Drop in your local fabric store. You can buy a yard of denum for about $4.00. Lots of practice from a 36" x 84" piece.

Bob Keyes
04-05-2007, 7:28 AM
Sorry. It is spelled DENIM!

Les Halliwell
04-07-2007, 11:51 PM
We have been doing this for awhile and it works great just remember to keep the speed up near top and the power we have had success with is usually around 20-25. Sure have to be careful as denim has several different thicknesses and it can drive you bonkers. Good luck and it has to be fun

Adrian Canoso
08-13-2007, 1:16 PM
I just gave it a shot, I have a 45 watt epilog, and had great success on two dark denim jeans...

45 watt co2
600 dpi
100 speed
30 power

I just threw them in with a piece of wood slipped into the jean legs to keep them flat and uniform. Used two compact levels to make sure they were level to the machine, focused and that was it, they came out great!

There does not seem to be any compromise to the fabric, it is really just hitting the top "fluff" of the denim and didn't seem to go through the cross weave...

Thanks guys, this is my first post here and you are all a great help!

BTW I think I'm going to patent printing on paper... (just kidding), how can the USPO allow someone to patent denim (etching)? Crazy.

Mike Null
08-13-2007, 2:13 PM
Adrian

Welcome to the forum.

I believe sometime last year the Supreme Court rendered a verdict which should negate "process" patents such as this and the brick thing. I do not have the reference but it was published so a thorough search should turn it up.

That's not to say that the patents are voided but they are likely not defensible.

Before you take my word though I would advise doing your own research.

william kennington
08-13-2007, 7:03 PM
My wife has a custom seam shop and can sew the crack of dawn.

Bryan

Joni Campbell
08-16-2007, 11:29 PM
OH NO Look at your jacket ,that was a very good try though, if I wouldn't have run across this post I would have done the same thing. Lots of good info here...thanks all

Ashton Waters
08-17-2007, 12:56 PM
I would suggest you do some testing before you do any fabric engraving for sales. I recently had an opportunity to do a fabric cutting job for a local quilter so I experimented with both cutting fabric and engraving denim. I engraved several designs on scraps of denim I had lying around. It seemed to do a great job and seemed pretty sturdy afterwards so I tacked it up on my bulletin board of samples to show to potential clients. A couple of months later I pulled it off the board to show a friend and my finger went right through the fabric where it was engraved. You may want to test a few pieces and wash them a couple of times and see if it holds up. I donít remember my exact settings, but I remember it was a relatively low power and a high speed.

On the other hand, the laser does great for cutting cloth. It seems to sear the edges, which is an added benefit for those that quilt. My customer was tickled pink. We cut over 1400 pieces of fabric in about 30 minutes. This would have taken her a week or two if she did it by hand. All the pieces were exact and the edges seared so it didnít unravel. She took me to her quilters guild meeting where I discussed the process and benefits of cutting quilt patterns by laser. They were thrilled, but alas Iíve only had that one job from the group. Such is life.

Joe Pelonio
08-17-2007, 1:10 PM
Ashton,

I pick up a lot of jobs for quilters. My wife is in two guilds, and teaches at a quilt shop, but I get more of them from keywords for people doing internet searches. In fact I've done a lot of templates for a woman in your area that found me that way. I also got a really good customer by posting an ad on an online quilting newsletter. I wouldn't talk to her guild, because, frankly, they are mostly much older and not at all high tech and seem to prefer the old fashioned way. When my wife at 54 is considered one of the youngest . . .

If you want to talk to people and leave a card make it quilt shops, fabric stores and sewing machine dealers.

Ashton Waters
08-18-2007, 12:30 PM
Thanks Joe. Great ideas. I'll do that.