View Full Version : Question for you Laser Guys

Randy Rizzo
06-27-2014, 5:18 PM
I've located a local guy who does laser engraving. (well sorta local if you consider 70 miles local) I asked about lasering a photo onto to wood. I was told image had to be black and white and could be on plain paper. Also said the contrast in the photo would make a difference as to how the image would turn out. For example, an all black dog would be difficult to discern eyes, nose, etc. I know zip about putting an image on wood thru the laser process, but I've seen some reproductions on wood that obviously came from photos, people, pets, scenic photos and the like that really looked pretty good. I don't doubt what he's telling me, but is that due to the limitations of his equipment? Are there lasers out there can can do a better job? Could it be software related? Should I be looking for a different vendor? I also asked about price, he said $10 for a 2 1/2" X 2 1/2" rendering if I supplied suitable artwork. In all honesty, given what these machines sell for that sounds incredibly cheap. I was expecting more in the line of $25+. I'm putting pet images on wood urns. And one more if I may. Was also told the laser process works out better if the wood has the final finish vs. left as raw wood. Is that correct? Thanks in advance and I apologize for my ignorance!

Bill Stearns
06-27-2014, 8:01 PM
Randy -
Really think you need to find someone else to work with you on your projects. IMO. Ex: (Your guy telling you photos "had to be black 'n white and could be on plain paper, etc.) Plus, his putting "contrast adjustments" on your shoulders - well, seems to say 'lot 'bout his experience. Raises a red-flag at the very least. (again, IMO.) As for his quote of $10 for a 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" ???? - something's seems not quite right? Have you seen samples of this person's work? If not - you sure should. SIDE POINT: I've done engraving jobs (photos) for quite 'few craftsmen who build urns. Whoever you chose for engraving may insist that you provide the wood panel only - prior to your assembling the urn. (cause bed tables on engraving machines go up 'n down, and only have so much clearance - some urns too high.) Also: I've learned 'lot 'bout marketing urns - if you're thinking of selling to veterinarians, etc. - well, I've got knowledge to share. (Lastly: Finding an engraving business closer to you should be easy enough using Google search - good luck!


Dan Hintz
06-27-2014, 8:01 PM
At $10, he's not making much money, but then again it also sounds like he's spending zero time doing any pre-processing (hence the multiple rules such as a "perfect picture" and already black and white). If you're willing to do the pre-processing of the image, I think $10 is a decent deal for someone who needs the occasional image engraved and doesn't want to pay for the equipment. If you want to hand over a "regular" picture and have the laser guy do the appropriate pre-processing, expect to pay more. It just depends upon how you want to slice it...

Finished wood is easier to laser because cleanup is generally a quick wipe with a towel, but with some more time spent on the laser guy's part, he could certainly cover an unfinished piece and get a great result... at a higher cost. Again, where do you slice it...

Bruce Volden
06-28-2014, 7:54 AM
+1 on Dan.

If I don't have to jump through many hoops, something like this is quite easy (scanning, converting, adjusting contrast....). I really appreciate a clean photo and would 'prolly charge in that vicinity too.


Bill Stearns
06-28-2014, 10:19 AM
Dan - Bruce - All
Regarding this fella's search for someone to engrave photos on his urns, I want' a apologize for coming-off sounding so grumpy, so negative! (not very supportive of me.) If he's like other craftsmen I've dealt with, he no doubt does a spectacular job building his urns; would just hate to see an inexperienced engraver lessen their value. However, re-thinking my stance: Given what these fellas typically have to charge for their "urns" to make sales, there is not much margin remaining for the [professional] engraving of a photo, or image. So, if he has found someone who can do a quick, inexpensive 'n satisfactory job for him - well, this is, indeed, probably best.

Also: I was kind' a interested in his plans for marketing his urns; 'Lot of skilled craftsmen I've met don't do their homework - don't know much, if anything, 'bout competitive factors they'll face. But, 'suppose that's another matter all together. Ultimately, we all learn by doing, uh?