Engraving Smaller Curved Surfaces
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Engraving Smaller Curved Surfaces

In a previous article, we explored engraving musical instruments and ended with an engraving of a logo on a drumstick. We get a lot of questions about engraving on curved surfaces, so today we’ll take a closer look.

The FABOOL Series laser machines do not come equipped with rotary devices for round or curved objects as they are made to process flat even surfaces. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to process on a curve, you’ll just have to use a little caution to ensure the design doesn’t warp or distort too much as the laser focal point increases around a rounded edge.

For this test, all engravings were done with the FABOOL Laser Mini 3.5W using the same laser parameters of speed at 1500, power at 100, and hatching set to 0.05mm.

Positioning

First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure that the material to be processed is positioned accurately. Of course this goes for flat, even surfaces as well, but with an uneven surface, you run the risk of warping the design.

A piece of cardboard does a great job for this application as it is cheap, easily attainable, and is a great platform for clear etching. As you can see below, we etched the logo first on a piece of cardboard in order to get the exact positioning.

etched logo on cardboard-1 etched logo on cardboard-2

Next, we fastened the drumstick down with a piece of masking tape. You can tape it down from the top to prevent it from rolling, or fold a piece and place it on the cardboard surface and put the drumstick on top.

fastened the drumstick down with masking tape-1 fastened the drumstick down with masking tape-2

Design Size

For reference, the drumstick in this test is approximately a half-inch (roughly 12 mm) in diameter.

First we engraved a logo about 0.25 in (6-7 mm) tall.
Here is the result.

result-0.25 inch

Next we tried enlarging the logo to 0.47 in (12 mm) in order to see exactly how much warping would occur around the edges of the curve.
The result:

result-0.47 inch-1
result-0.47 inch-2 result-0.47 inch-3

Lastly, we to test the extremities of the curve to see exactly how far the laser would etch without moving the stick at all, regardless of warping.

test the extremities of the curve-1
test the extremities of the curve-2 test the extremities of the curve-3

Final Thoughts

As you can see, even without a rotary device equipped, you can still etch curved surfaces. In the previous article referenced at the top of this entry, we engrave the back of a guitar neck (a relatively wide curve), and some have even engraved their name onto a pen. The biggest limit is really imagination, so be creative and think of what other shapes and sizes you can engrave.