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Thread: How do they do that???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Minnesota
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    87

    How do they do that???

    I'm talking about those crystal (acrylic?) cubes you find in gift stores with very intricate 3D images floating inside them. Is it a laser product? I have no intention of making these things -- just curious.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Sammamish, WA
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    7,628
    Yes, but different kind of laser (more expensive).



    Sammamish, WA

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    Moreton, Wirral, UK
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    Hi Bob,

    I think it's called sub-surface lasering, done with a Yag laser. Rodne Gold is the man who can give you the full run down on it. Personally I think they look great, but detail, that's a bit 'iffy' and Yag cost an arm and a leg (including the toes)

    .
    Epilog 45w Helix X3/X5 Corel Microflame Generator (flame polisher) Heat Bender


  4. #4
    http://www.laserfoxarts.com/

    I actually saw this done over 30 years ago at AT&T Bell Labs. It's still not much more useful.

    The beam was guided by hand, but a few delicate figures showed up after a few hours of work.
    Last edited by Mitchell Andrus; 02-28-2007 at 11:29 PM.
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  5. #5
    Some of those are quite amazing, but I've always been a bit stumped on one thing, and that's the price variations. I was in a very upscale mall about 3 years ago and they had an entire store full of these things. Prices were $75 and up on everyone I picked up.

    Went to a flea market about two weeks later, saw the exact same items for $5 each. I stopped and looked and I'd swear they were the exact same ones. If not, someone copied the originals pretty well. Sitting the two side by side, I'm not sure I'd be able to tell which one was which.

    Made me wonder about it all. They very well could have been different, but to the untrained eye, I couldn't see it. The guy selling them for $5 was making something, I'm sure. So, were the people at the mall buying a product for $3.50 and selling it for $75 and up?

    That's the impression I got.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Savannah, GA
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    4,422
    In our town there is an open air "craft" market with a booth displaying a couple of hundred acrylic cubes like you mentioned. I think they go for somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.50 to $5.00. I was told they were made in China.

    The first place I ever saw one was in a gift shop at Disney World, 10 or 12 years ago. The ones there were very large, with very intricate Disney scenes. The quality, of course, was exceptional, very different from the $3.50 ones where the image to me is a little blurred. Don't know if this is true or not, but when I asked the manager of the shop at Disney how the cubes were produced he told me they required a machine firing two simultaneous laser beams. He also said at that time the only two lasers in the US capable of producing these items were owned by Disnes, and NASA. Again, don't know if this is true, but satisfied my curiosity at the time.
    Last edited by Belinda Williamson; 03-01-2007 at 10:44 AM.

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  7. Quote Originally Posted by Scott Shepherd
    Some of those are quite amazing, but I've always been a bit stumped on one thing, and that's the price variations. I was in a very upscale mall about 3 years ago and they had an entire store full of these things. Prices were $75 and up on everyone I picked up.

    Went to a flea market about two weeks later, saw the exact same items for $5 each. I stopped and looked and I'd swear they were the exact same ones. If not, someone copied the originals pretty well. Sitting the two side by side, I'm not sure I'd be able to tell which one was which.

    Made me wonder about it all. They very well could have been different, but to the untrained eye, I couldn't see it. The guy selling them for $5 was making something, I'm sure. So, were the people at the mall buying a product for $3.50 and selling it for $75 and up?

    That's the impression I got.
    One they started being imported form China the price dropped dramatically. I looked into purchasing the system a few years back and found out it was really expensive. Then I started seeing the "gas" station pieces for $5-$7 and was really glad I didn't look any further.

    Wil
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Moreton, Wirral, UK
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    3,287
    Regarding Scott's comments it just goes to prove that the market is saturated with these things. In the UK it was a similar story, now instead of the inflated prices, the pieces are a pittance.

    The Chinese made and exported so many of these little blocks on the market, the more they sent, the easier and cheaper you could buy them for. But you could never buy the machine and create the blocks at a price you can get for a laser engraving with a co2. Buying one of these, at the cost that they are, would be business suicide the boat has already sailed. Our selling place has not yet been saturated and the selling prices of goods is worth buying our machines.

    I will say though, when it comes to text on awards, the engraving being inside the block instead of the outside is amazing. The irony of it all is that you can go online direct to a Chinese company, have the logos created for a particular company with the inside engraving, import them and engrave the name of the individual they are being presented to for LESS THAN THE COST OF BUYING THE BLOCK WITH NOTHING ON IT!

    Over saturated, over rated - have a close look at the next one you see they are not really that good.

    That's my two penneth worth!
    Epilog 45w Helix X3/X5 Corel Microflame Generator (flame polisher) Heat Bender


  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    949
    Frank,
    I looked at buying one also a few years ago after I bought my first 2 that came from Israel and extremely fine detail and high res. one was Noah's Ark ($75.00 USD) and it had a giraffe on deck and a monkey looking out the window and more but it was all crystal clear and legible. When I looked then there was only one machine doing it and it was made I think in Germany or over there in Europe. it was around $250,000.00 USD so I said no way. Then I found one made in china and it was about 30,000.00 USD and I thought harder but then I started to see a few cheaper ones $9.95 on the Internet and 15.00 at a gift shop in Monterey beach in California and the also at Niagara falls. You don't have to be a jeweler to see the difference in quality. The Chinese ones are such a low res or minimal DPI that for the average consumer they probably won't know the difference unless they were side by side. and then price would most likely dictate their decision. People like us that work in the laser industry, at least I do, look at it in more detail to see how it is done and are more critical. Thats when I said forget it because it is a single purpose machine and even with the cost of the blanks between 3-5.00 each it was not worth it to me. I still do collect them when I see one I like that is reasonable.

    Have a great day,
    Have a Blessed day,

    Michael Kowalczyk

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