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Thread: Engraving Bricks

  1. #1

    Engraving Bricks

    Hi All,
    I run a small laser-cutting & engraving business just outside of Atlanta, GA. I engrave quite a few clay bricks, and the numbers keep increasing.
    My problem is that I canít seem to get any information on the best way to engrave bricks.
    The laser-cutter manufacturers donít seem to know, and the brick engravers wonít tell meÖ
    Iím running a custom-built 80-watt (RECI tube) machine.
    Iíve always engraved bricks by engraving (not the ďcontourĒ way.) This seems to give a much better result. The problem is that itís very slow.
    I know I could get a higher-powered laser. Is the engraving speed inversely proportional to power? In other words, if I double my power, can I cut my time in half? Even if I cut my time in half, Iím still looking at quite a while per brick.
    Iíve seen videos of galvo-type engravers that use f-theta lenses. Do these work for bricks?
    Has anyone tried bricks with a fiber laser?
    Any advice or suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!
    Thanks much,
    Tim
    Tim Walters
    Hyperion Lasers
    Atlanta, GA
    Custom-Built 80W (EFR ZX-1250), 6' x 6' work area, 18" Z-axis

  2. #2
    The right way to do any volume of bricks is sandblasting. I've been in your shoes before and it just doesn't work well. Sandblasting gives a superior job. We've done a lot of them over the years. I can't imagine a better way than sandblasting at this point.
    Lasers : Trotec Speedy 300 75W, Trotec Speedy 300 80W, Galvo Fiber Laser 20W
    Printers : Mimaki UJF-6042 UV Flatbed Printer , HP Designjet L26500 61" Wide Format Latex Printer, Summa S140-T 48" Vinyl Plotter
    Router : ShopBot 48" x 96" CNC Router Rotary Engravers : (2) Xenetech XOT 16 x 25 Rotary Engravers

    Real name Steve but that name was taken on the forum. Used Middle name. Call me Steve or Scott, doesn't matter.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Posts
    1,837
    Can't beat Fiber laser on clay bricks. Turns the engraving into a nice molten Black glass.

    20180119_215118w.jpg
    Tim
    There are Big Brain people & Small Brain people. I'm one of the Big Brains - with a lot of empty space.- me
    50W Fiber - Raycus/MaxPhotonics - It's a metal eating beast!
    Epilog Fusion M2 50/30 Co2/Fiber - 2015
    Epilog Mini 24 Ė 35watt - 2006 (Original Tube)
    Ricoh SG3110DN
    - Liberty Laser LLC

  4. #4
    All the laser engraved bricks I have seen have turned white over time. I had one sitting in our lobby for about 5 years and it was rich black when I sat it there. 5 years later, it was almost all white. It was a clay brick, laser engraved.
    Lasers : Trotec Speedy 300 75W, Trotec Speedy 300 80W, Galvo Fiber Laser 20W
    Printers : Mimaki UJF-6042 UV Flatbed Printer , HP Designjet L26500 61" Wide Format Latex Printer, Summa S140-T 48" Vinyl Plotter
    Router : ShopBot 48" x 96" CNC Router Rotary Engravers : (2) Xenetech XOT 16 x 25 Rotary Engravers

    Real name Steve but that name was taken on the forum. Used Middle name. Call me Steve or Scott, doesn't matter.

  5. #5
    Hi Tim Bateson,
    Thanks for the info!
    A couple of questions...
    What speed/power did you use to engrave with the fiber?
    What's the wavelength of the laser?
    Thanks again!
    Tim Walters

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Suwanee, GA
    Posts
    3,531
    Over the years I have experimented with lasering bricks and pavers, clay and concrete, and nothing really worked as well as sandcarving. I've used my GCC 30 watt, Trotec 80 watt, and my 30 watt fiber. The best result was vectoring but that's not practical for anything more than one or two with a very small amount of text or graphics. I have sandcarved thousands of bricks over the years and, for me, the best results came from using Anchor 116 stencil, vector cut letters and graphics, sandcarved, and painted.
    If you want to get the best results with lasering then you'll need to go slow with fairly low power, out of focus, and high resolution. The idea is to melt the brick, not ablate it.

    P.S. Where in GA are you? I'm in Suwanee.
    I have done so much with so little for so long, that I can do almost anything with practically nothing...

    Trotec Speedy 400 80 watt 8/2015
    G. Weike LF-30, 30 watt galvo fiber - 1/2016
    G. Weike LF-30, 30 watt galvo fiber - 3/2015
    Fargo HDP5000 Card printer


  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Hair View Post
    Over the years I have experimented with lasering bricks and pavers, clay and concrete, and nothing really worked as well as sandcarving. I've used my GCC 30 watt, Trotec 80 watt, and my 30 watt fiber. The best result was vectoring but that's not practical for anything more than one or two with a very small amount of text or graphics. I have sandcarved thousands of bricks over the years and, for me, the best results came from using Anchor 116 stencil, vector cut letters and graphics, sandcarved, and painted.
    If you want to get the best results with lasering then you'll need to go slow with fairly low power, out of focus, and high resolution. The idea is to melt the brick, not ablate it.

    P.S. Where in GA are you? I'm in Suwanee.
    Hi Gary,
    I'm back and forth between Alpharetta and Canton.
    I do go slow, out of focus, high-res. I do melt instead of ablate. The problem I've seen with the "contour" method is that the brick ablates in the center of the contour.
    I (and my customers) are very happy with the results. I'm just not happy with how long it takes to get there.
    Where is your shop?
    Tim
    Tim Walters
    Hyperion Lasers
    Atlanta, GA
    Custom-Built 80W (EFR ZX-1250), 6' x 6' work area, 18" Z-axis

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Suwanee, GA
    Posts
    3,531
    For speed you need to sandcarve for sure. My office is in Suwanee, Satellite Blvd about a mile from Lawrenceville-Suwanee Rd.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Walters View Post
    Hi Gary,
    I'm back and forth between Alpharetta and Canton.
    I do go slow, out of focus, high-res. I do melt instead of ablate. The problem I've seen with the "contour" method is that the brick ablates in the center of the contour.
    I (and my customers) are very happy with the results. I'm just not happy with how long it takes to get there.
    Where is your shop?
    Tim
    I have done so much with so little for so long, that I can do almost anything with practically nothing...

    Trotec Speedy 400 80 watt 8/2015
    G. Weike LF-30, 30 watt galvo fiber - 1/2016
    G. Weike LF-30, 30 watt galvo fiber - 3/2015
    Fargo HDP5000 Card printer


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