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David Leedy
07-16-2007, 5:51 AM
Hi!

Does anyone know if the graphics from this site:

http://www.carve3d.com/

Will engrave on wood in a 3d effect on an Epilog Laser?

I know epilog has some 3d sample files floating around... a wristwatch and a ball park I think and I was looking for more if this type...


Thanks!

Dave

Wil Lambert
07-16-2007, 6:47 AM
They will if you can have someone to convert the relief into a grayscale picture for you. Find someone with ArtCAM and convert the relief to grayscale and the use that image for your laser.

Wil

Garry McKinney
07-16-2007, 7:50 AM
David ,
I have done 3-D laser work, and none of it is as simple as it could be mostly because the programs for the lasers are not realy set up in a proper format to do the work.
All of it is done in percentages , so to be consistant the work can become really involved. And your perception has to be altered to look not at shadows but at depth, often eaiser said then done. We looked at epilog patterns as well but only one pattern was set to real 3-D and the designer wanted $1000.00 for it. After building a few of my own I understood why.

If the laser would ulitize the grayscale as a direct level of like .001 to 1% it would be much eaiser to build the models, but the programs don't work like that , so normal 3-D machining references don't work, to make 3-d function correctly each step needs to have gradient shading , from one section to the next. It is easy to spend 1-2 weeks on the patterns and then 1 day to correct the patterns to get the burns correctly.

This is one of the first one I did in hickory
Hope that helps.

Mike Null
07-16-2007, 9:14 AM
Garry

Very nice effort.

If you do a search for 3d engraving you'll find a post by Mike Mackenzie which is worth reading.

Stephen Beckham
07-16-2007, 9:41 AM
I've never downloaded from this site to try those files because I don't have the conversion software that they give away. Just didn't feel like messing with downloading and sampling to figure out if I want to buy or not.

Should be a simpler (more customer oriented) option - say like - instead of having register and download our software, then download our sample file then convert for your needs, then try to laser.... They might be able to do all the conversions for you and post a sample Greyscale on their website to let you try the simplest thing first.

I have however downloaded from Gantryco.com and their file worked great on my Epilog. They come ready to burn from Gantry and there is no conversion work. I believe they start out at $125 per graphic and go up from there. I haven't found the need to purchase anything yet because of cost even though that might be really cheap for 3D files.

I've even decided against advertising 3D Lasering because of cost. I'll wait until a customer who understands the process asks for work. It's marketing 101 - if I show a product the custmer doesn't understand - then they won't understand the pricing either. Might lead a customer down the path to go out and blab that I'm high on prices. But when that one customer that's dying to get the work done comes in and askes for it - they've probably done their research and understand what they are asking for - therefore willing to pay the cost.

I found out that (as discussed in the other 3D thread) that the 3D will not be very economical for sales. The picture I attached took over 25 minutes an it's only 5X5 on a 8X10 plaque. Not sure how recoverable the cost will be since a plaque normally in the $30 dollar range just became a $55 dollar range and I haven't done anything else to it.

Dave Jones
07-16-2007, 9:42 AM
David, you might try going to their parent site: http://www.vectorart3d.com/ and look at some of the pics. Click on the "Top View" icon on one of them and save the picture. Then in a paint program convert it to gray scale and set auto contrast. Then try engraving that image in 3D mode on your laser.

It may not be perfect, but those yellow preview images seem to show shades of gray equal to depth, just like what you need to do 3D engraving in a laser. They don't sell the images in that format. They sell them in machine formats for carving machines.

Garry McKinney
07-16-2007, 10:05 AM
Thanks Mike,
I do that.

Nice Stephen,
But your right, the cost does become a factor quickly. Most people are amazed at the detail, but will opt for something cheaper. I keep a few 3-D pieces around but 85 percent of the customers pass them for simple vetor jobs.

Garry

Michael Kowalczyk
07-16-2007, 1:32 PM
I looked at it also and Gantryco does some nice work but hard to justify unless you are making a production product to sell or a large chain or business with several offices in many states wants one in each reception area and have a big budget. OK back to reality. The software I think can be seen at Kern laser that does the grayscale. Several others are trying and or offering their version of 3D laser software, Vytek is one of them also, but I think all you can depend on is the "WOW" factor. In my humble opinion if you plan on using 3D lasering to put food on your table and keep the lights on, well plan on losing some weight and stock up on candles. Unless you have a niche market make sure you have something else going on to pay the bills. I was Wowed when I saw them at the woodworking shows and have a few samples also but even with our laser, as fast as it is, I can think of many others things that are a much more profitable use of machine time.(129)

Mike Null
07-16-2007, 1:38 PM
There is another application using 3d art which might have potential. It's called lithothane and involved engraving from the back side of a translucent material then backlighting to reveal the image.
It's a very old process used on ceramics, china and mica. The laser and cnc machines open up new possibilities.

Wil Lambert
07-16-2007, 1:49 PM
When I sit down with ArtCAM later I will post a grayscale image from it. The image will be a perfect gradient grayscale for the model shown. It will even be able to be re-imported back into ArtCAM and be a 3D model again. It will let you see if buying carve3D's models will work for you or not.

Wil

Michael Kowalczyk
07-16-2007, 2:01 PM
Hey Mike,
I can do that in Artcampro but once again is it cost effective to tie up the machine whether it is done on the CNC or Laser, my opinion still stands that unless you develop a niche market with your own designs and can mass produce them, it is not worth it. Now if your machine(s) is(are) sitting idle and you have plenty of time to set up the artwork and have the system perfected, Go for it. It still will be real hard to make a living but you will get the WOW factor and might be able to sell them on something else you make. One must have many arrows in their quiver if they want to hit the target unless they are an expert. How often do you hit the bullseye on the first try when you only have one shot at it?

Rodne Gold
07-16-2007, 2:17 PM
If you could get a smooth surface on the curves , I would use 3d , huge market for spun cast and other masters.

Mike Null
07-16-2007, 2:23 PM
Rodney

Very good point. I have made acrylic masters but not 3d.

Michael

I tend to agree with you but there may be something to it if the right material were found.

Garry McKinney
07-16-2007, 3:00 PM
I have to agree about the time issue. The grayscale image is only half he battle. It is not unusal to have to run a 3-d cut 3 and even 4 times. We did a 24 x 36 of one. 4 burn and 6 hours later we had a completed piece.

Not likely to recover that type of cost. But the learning was great.
:D

Mike Mackenzie
07-16-2007, 3:49 PM
The niche market for 3D laser engraving is for the small stuff. This pc was done on our systems. It was created with ArtCam and we ran it in 3 passes. The engraving time was about 15 minutes you can easily get some good money for a pc like this.

It is also key to use a good material when doing this to soft of wood will just burn, to hard of wood will take longer to engrave.

I would not do LARGE 3d engraving because of the time it takes and no one will pay 500.00 + for a 3D engraving.

The software is also very expensive. I posted a way to do basic 3D set-up's using Corel It is still not easy but it does give you the capability to do your own using Corel.

Here is one we did the size is about 1.75 x 2.00

Michael Kowalczyk
07-16-2007, 4:23 PM
Hey Rodne,
I found this to help explain what Spun casting is.

"The process uses patterns or models produced on Rapid Prototyping systems such as Stereolithography to generate high-strength metal parts equivalent to those produced by pressure die casting in just a few hours. Small patterns or originals are layed out on a disc of uncured silicone to create casting cavities. When cured, this rubber mold is spun in a centrifuge while low temperature metals such as zinc, pewter, tin or lead are poured into the center of the mold. Silicone rubber molds can be cycled as many as 50-60 times per hour, for hundreds of cycles. Therefore, a 20 cavity mold can produce 1000 components per hour if small-to-medium production runs are needed. Resulting parts have excellent detail and representative surface finish of the master pattern. Production parts typically achieve tolerances in the .005 to .008 inch range. Investment Cast Wax Patterns, and Thermoset Plastic Injection Molded Parts can also be produced quickly using this duplication method. "

So yes I can see doing this on a CNC but unless a material is found that will keep the detail, can have the surface smoothed fairly easy where needed, and the lasered area will not look like hundreds of rows of microscopic tops of picket fences, I think 3D printing or CNC's will give a better quality with consistency. I don't think a laser will give the quality needed for the finished product. I could be wrong :confused: but I did a little research on injection molding and the mold must be smooth so the product releases. If you have to hand finish with a dremmel or something then you loose control of your tolerances. If that is acceptable then you may have something. My experience is that that the tighter the tolarences the higher the price. Maybe doing on a laser may be acceptable to some who don't need a smooth precision finish.

Do you have any examples of what you are thinking?

thanks,

Mike Null
07-16-2007, 4:59 PM
Michael

I've done a good number of these for spin casting and we used acrylic. If we had really great art we would make them on a high end New Hermes engraver which would render 3d. In that case we used magnesium.

The acrylic engraves as you suggest but we essentially engraved a relief so the image was smooth.

Michael Kowalczyk
07-16-2007, 5:04 PM
Interesting Mike,
Do you have any examples you are able to show or do we need to sign a Non disclosure? :eek:

Sorry Mike, I could not resist this as I just came from footsteps thread?

Marc Myer
07-16-2007, 5:09 PM
In that case, are you saying you can get smooth results doing 3d with acrylic?
I've been cutting acrylic, but would like to make the front edges much more smooth, even a bit rounded if possible. I'm trying to figure how that can be done.
I am coating acrylic after cutting, and the sharp leading edges don't take coatings well. Perhaps a simple greyscale ramp next to the vector cut?

Wil Lambert
07-16-2007, 5:50 PM
Here is a sample from ArtCAM to try.

Wil

Mike Null
07-16-2007, 6:16 PM
What I was saying was that the engraving was the surround or background so the surface (image) was never engraved therefore smooth.

We usually used a post script fill for the background so that it would engrave without leaving the usual laser marks.

From this piece we made the spin cast mold.

Frederic Gagnon
07-17-2007, 12:09 AM
Very nice piece, Mike!
What kind of wood did you use for that?

Thanks,

Ed Newbold
07-17-2007, 8:21 AM
I posted a way to do basic 3D set-up's using Corel It is still not easy but it does give you the capability to do your own using Corel.I've searched through all the SMC forums looking for that post, but couldn't find it. Do you happen to have a copy of it?

Thanks very much,

Mike Null
07-17-2007, 9:18 AM
Ed
I think there's an additonal post with a picture but I can't locate it either. This describes his process.

http://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=47887&highlight=engraving+artwork

David Leedy
07-17-2007, 9:58 AM
thanks for all the great responses! I really appreciate it.

I'll search for the suggested post and check out these websites. I'll definately be trying a sample from gantry. Theres some impressive stuff there.

I really appreciate the help!

Dave

Mike Mackenzie
07-17-2007, 1:14 PM
Frederic,

Thank you, It was done in maple.

Dave Gehman
05-28-2008, 2:01 PM
I posted a way to do basic 3D set-up's using Corel It is still not easy....

I've tried to find this post via search, but haven't hit the right key words. Can you supply a link?

Thanks,
Dave

Marc Myer
05-29-2008, 2:07 PM
I've done a lot of experimentation with this, with both laser and CNC. Getting 3-d to look good in a cast mold is very hard without hours of hand polishing. I used a CNC machine with a dedicated bevel cutter, but even CNC machines are not capable of such a finished surface due to flaws, vibration, motors, etc. Every single tiny flaw in the original item will show up in the mold! That's why even the cheap Chinese molds still can cost thousands of $ due to the polishing required.

I was trying to make cheap prototype molds for small-run items I could coat afterwards. I could not get anything work close to finished quality, other than using a very thick and smoothing topcoat. The best solution is to use a material with a nice smooth finished surface, and preserve that surface.

Thomas Fallis
04-19-2009, 1:25 PM
I've never downloaded from this site to try those files because I don't have the conversion software that they give away. Just didn't feel like messing with downloading and sampling to figure out if I want to buy or not.

Should be a simpler (more customer oriented) option - say like - instead of having register and download our software, then download our sample file then convert for your needs, then try to laser.... They might be able to do all the conversions for you and post a sample Greyscale on their website to let you try the simplest thing first.

I have however downloaded from Gantryco.com and their file worked great on my Epilog. They come ready to burn from Gantry and there is no conversion work. I believe they start out at $125 per graphic and go up from there. I haven't found the need to purchase anything yet because of cost even though that might be really cheap for 3D files.

I've even decided against advertising 3D Lasering because of cost. I'll wait until a customer who understands the process asks for work. It's marketing 101 - if I show a product the custmer doesn't understand - then they won't understand the pricing either. Might lead a customer down the path to go out and blab that I'm high on prices. But when that one customer that's dying to get the work done comes in and askes for it - they've probably done their research and understand what they are asking for - therefore willing to pay the cost.

I found out that (as discussed in the other 3D thread) that the 3D will not be very economical for sales. The picture I attached took over 25 minutes an it's only 5X5 on a 8X10 plaque. Not sure how recoverable the cost will be since a plaque normally in the $30 dollar range just became a $55 dollar range and I haven't done anything else to it.

Recently, they overhauled their website http://www.gantry.com and created a new partner program that costs $225 and includes one graphic of your choice. After that, all graphics in the Partner Program are just $39 each.

Richard Rumancik
04-19-2009, 2:52 PM
Thomas, I know you meant to type
http://www.gantryco.com/

Zachary Buckholz
03-02-2010, 2:50 AM
I know this thread is old, but I figured it was the most appropriate place to ask. Can anyone provide any insight, knowledge, education, or a simple link :) to examples on how I could use my epilog zing 40w to cut and raster an airplace wing in 3d?

I would like to put Styrofoam in the machine and have it shape the top of the wing.

Thanks
Zach

Dan Hintz
03-02-2010, 7:50 AM
To get the accuracy you'll need for an airfoil surface, you'll need to do a lot of experimenting with power. I suggest a CNC for such an operation as it will be precise on depth at every point and not subject to material differences.

David Fairfield
03-02-2010, 11:41 AM
I think it can be done, but Dan is right, you'd need to experiment and the material density might be variable.

You can take a trial and error approach or you can be scientific about it and make a greyscale, raster it in 3d in the material you plan on using, take depth measurements with a caliper and plot those measurements on the wing diagram.

IMHO 3d lasering is seriously underutilized and underestimated. Excellent results are possible.

Dave

Lee DeRaud
03-02-2010, 12:16 PM
To get the accuracy you'll need for an airfoil surface, you'll need to do a lot of experimenting with power. I suggest a CNC for such an operation as it will be precise on depth at every point and not subject to material differences.What he said. I'm reminded of the "Dirty Jobs" episode where Mike Rowe worked in a surfboard factory.:eek:

I think the key words for this concept are "can" and "possible", rather than "good" or "easy". The possibilities that come to mind are:
1. it will make a huge mess,
2. it will take forever,
3. it will do a really crappy job, or
4. some horrific version of "all of the above".

David Fairfield
03-02-2010, 12:30 PM
Never stopped me from trying! :D

Rodne Gold
03-02-2010, 2:13 PM
You will struggle with styrofoam as the laser will not raster it well at all you will have uncontrolled melting. Will cut it fine tho.
Try it with Balsa , if you really must.
Bear in mind that your 2" lens has about 4mm effective focus , so you really wont get a great variance in shape for an aerofoil unless its a very small one.
You could of course make an excellent aerofoil or wing if you cut its sections from tip to end and glued em all together.

Lee DeRaud
03-02-2010, 2:17 PM
Try it with Balsa , if you really must.
[snip]
You could of course make an excellent aerofoil or wing if you cut its sections from tip to end and glued em all together.First use of a laser I ever saw "live" was cutting balsa ribs for a model sailplane wing.

Frank Corker
03-02-2010, 8:17 PM
I think the key words for this concept are "can" and "possible", rather than "good" or "easy". The possibilities that come to mind are:
1. it will make a huge mess,
2. it will take forever,
3. it will do a really crappy job, or
4. some horrific version of "all of the above".

I think this one hit this discussion right bang slap in the middle!