Lasers and Guitars
Processed Material Examples

Lasers and Guitars

You may not usually associate lasers with guitars, but they can definitely be a thing, and it can produce some awesome results.
Whether it’s for looks and sound, or playability and feel, customizing instruments is something musicians do all the time. From beginners to pros, bedroom or stage, having a unique, one of a kind instrument is something anyone can appreciate. Introducing lasers to the mix is just one more way you can stand out in the crowd.

In this entry, we look at a couple of different possibilities in the world of music available with the FABOOL Laser Mini. Today, we’ve got 3 materials on the table; maple, hickory, and celluloid nitrate. All materials were processed using the FABOOL Laser Mini 3.5W.

Pickguard

First up is a standard, solid white Stratocaster pickguard made of celluloid nitrate.

We were originally skeptical as to whether the laser would actually be able to engrave the pickguard’s surface before we tested it. As a general rule, the FABOOL Laser Mini is not compatible with high gloss or white surfaces as they may reflect the laser. The pickguard in this case fit the bill both for being solid white and glossy. Even so, we went through with the test and, as you can see, the results turned out surprisingly well. (Note: This will not necessarily be the case with other white or glossy materials. If you are unsure about such a material, please use our Sample Request Sample service and we will test it and show you the results.)

We used the text-entry feature in the smartDIYs Creator software to create the logo rather than external graphic editing software. Because the text entered through our software is engraved by overlapping horizontal lines that fill in the design, if the ‘hatching’ is set too wide, there may be some visible space between each of the lines on some engravings. For this particular engraving, we set the hatching to 0.05 mm to ensure that the lines were close enough that the space between was minimal, and the letters were completely filled-in.

pickguard-1 pickguard-2

Laser Parameters

Speed: 4000 mm/min
Power: 90%
Passes: 1
Time: 6 min 20 sec

Guitar Neck

Next, we engraved the back of the neck of the guitar. Guitar necks and fretboards come in a variety of different wood options. But for this article, we tried engraving maple, which is one of the most commonly used woods.

Some guitars have satin or unfinished necks, while others have a thin gloss finish. The neck in this example is the latter having a very thin gloss coating.

A potential problem we anticipated was the fact that the engraving may not turn out so well on the gloss finish. And even if the engraving itself turned out nicely, how would it affect the feel of the guitar neck. Some players don’t like gloss finishes on the necks of their guitars and may even use fine grain sandpaper to scrape it away on the part of the neck their hand slides up and down most when playing. This is because sometimes the lacquer tends to get a bit of a sticky feeling after playing for a bit, particularly when the finish comes into contact with moisture from the player’s hand. This can obviously have a negative effect on the overall feel and playability of the instrument.

After the engraving was finished, there was a very slight stickiness over a small part of the logo, but surprisingly, it went away for good after just a wipe or two of the hand. After that, it was quite smooth and comfortable to play.

guitar neck-1 guitar neck-2
guitar neck-3 guitar neck-4

Laser Parameters

Speed: 2000 mm/min
Power: 100%
Passes: 1
Time: 7 min

Drumsticks

Just for the record, we also got some cool results from etching drumsticks as well. So we’ll share those results here, too. The sticks themselves were approximately 1 ⅛ cm in diameter, so by keeping the design around 8 mm or so in height, we avoided any warping or distortion of the text around the curved edges. (Don’t worry, we’ll further explore some of the finer details of engraving curved surfaces including ways to position it so that it doesn’t roll, how big of a design you can engrave, and things like that in a later article.)

drumsticks-1 drumsticks-2
drumsticks-3

Laser Parameters

Speed: 2000 mm/min
Power: 100%
Passes: 1
Time: 2 min 30 sec

Final Thoughts

We may have stuck to guitars mainly for this article, but don’t be afraid to reach out and explore some other musical ideas and instruments, too. Maybe even start your own business engraving instruments for friends and local musicians. After all, engraving a band name or logo directly onto an instrument is a great way to get your brand out there.

At the very least it’ll certainly make for a nice wall-mounted show piece.