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Laser Inlay Youtube Video


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Great work as always Doug! Is that a CO2 laser or one of these FIBER lasers? I had a friend try cutting something once out of 0.05" ebony a long time ago, and it failed miserably - maybe the laser was too weak.

Is the zombie MOP, or acrylic, or something else?

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Great work as always Doug! Is that a CO2 laser or one of these FIBER lasers? I had a friend try cutting something once out of 0.05" ebony a long time ago, and it failed miserably - maybe the laser was too weak.

Is the zombie MOP, or acrylic, or something else?

I priced out a laser, not a cheap proposition unless you want to try a Chinese version. Looking at a minimum of 15k for something that is big enough for a bass neck and body.

As far as I know it is very hard to cut shell as the heat from the laser flakes the edges. I believe i has been done but is not a commercially viable option. Doug is using a plastic which is pretty obvious. That said interesting inlay, which we could see it with the frets on?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Very Nice Doug,

BTW, how many layers were used in your layout, what was the thickness of the pearloid. what were your vector settings . (power and speed) as well as your raster settings? Also what raster settings did you use on the fretboard before routing? and what laser were you using? I have access to an epilog 45watt. 12x24

Thanks Mike

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Yes I agree, very impressive.

Doug, what machine are you using ?

I was planning on getting a laser and that was impressive, I use my CNC for inlays right now and I think that the laser did a good job !

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Thanks guy's....I've been really busy lately. I guess I need to take time to RE:

I have a Pinnacle 35 watt CO2 laser. I’ve had it for almost 6 years…cost me $18k. I use CASmate & Engravelab 6 for design & output. I have a sign business (I also cut vinyl). I primarily use the laser for guitar related jobs, but I also do some award engraving. I have doubled my luthier clientele in the past year, so I am slowly moving from signage, to all guitar related jobs.

The speeds & feeds vary on materials. Pearlessence is similar to wood. One wood species cuts easier than another. With acrylic, one color may cut cleaner, or faster than the next. I still haven’t completely figured it out. The best thing to do is have plenty of extra on hand. Here is a good place to start:

1/8” acrylics – vector cut 100% power (35 watts) at 2ipm.

1/8” acrylics – raster cut 100% power (35 watts), speed at 70% max, 1000dpi.

I’m not sure how to respond to the notion of using the laser as a way of “cheating”. I know there are purists out there, and I can respect that. But, you have to qualify it. The question is, what qualifies as “cheating”. Is it acceptable to use a PC to surf the web for information, but not OK to use a PC to generate a toolpath?

What I have found is most craftsman that have a problem with a certain technology only have a problem with the technology they don’t have…until they get the machine, or tool in question. Then they suddenly don’t have a problem with it any more. One of the main misconceptions of CNC based machines is most people who have never operated one before think they program themselves. These machines still take knowledge to program & skill to operate. When there is artwork involved, it takes an additional level of ability. Bottom line is: it’s just another tool.twocents.gif

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I'm not sure how to respond to the notion of using the laser as a way of "cheating". I know there are purists out there, and I can respect that. But, you have to qualify it. Bottom line is: it's just another tool.twocents.gif

I was a bit confused as to that statement myself. CNC routers would be considered the same thing, but who would pass up the opportunity to use one. I think the majority of users on this forum are not building to make a profit, and the phrase "Time is Money" does not register if all you have is free time. But in some respects I do understand why someone would say that.

I priced out and epilog a few months ago. A bit on the expensive side if you figure that you would need more than a base model to inlay necks and cut full sized templates. The though of not having to route inlay channels was high up on the list. However the inability to cut shell a negative one. Its still on the list as a possible purchase in the future when the need presents itself.

I wonder if you have tried cutting shell as a test?

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I’m not sure how to respond to the notion of using the laser as a way of “cheating”. I know there are purists out there, and I can respect that. But, you have to qualify it. The question is, what qualifies as “cheating”. Is it acceptable to use a PC to surf the web for information, but not OK to use a PC to generate a toolpath?

What I have found is most craftsman that have a problem with a certain technology only have a problem with the technology they don’t have…until they get the machine, or tool in question. Then they suddenly don’t have a problem with it any more. One of the main misconceptions of CNC based machines is most people who have never operated one before think they program themselves. These machines still take knowledge to program & skill to operate. When there is artwork involved, it takes an additional level of ability. Bottom line is: it’s just another tool.

Exactly, just like people using a router and grinders to carve a guitars top. I think that if you don't use planes and scrapers you are cheating too, ah, don't use a router to shape the back of the neck too, just spokeshave or rasps, are allowed. If not you are cheating!

People always have opinions, I care less what you use to get the job done, as long as the end result represents what you want it to be. It's just like saying that Thorn's guitars are not impressive because he uses CNC in his work... please.

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>snip<

>snip<

1/8” acrylics – vector cut 100% power (35 watts) at 2ipm.

1/8” acrylics – raster cut 100% power (35 watts), speed at 70% max, 1000dpi.

>snip<

Thanks Doug.

These vector and raster settings translate easily. I appreciate the starting place. I use Corel.

BTW I saw that someone posted they had done shell? I have found anything over .020 does not cut well in a laser, It melts and the edges suck. No matter what speed and power settings we have tried? even Epilog suggest .010 for shell. just to thimn for good inlays in my opinion so looking for other options. The acrylics may be the way?

Thanks again,

Mike

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These vector and raster settings translate easily. I appreciate the starting place. I use Corel.

BTW I saw that someone posted they had done shell? I have found anything over .020 does not cut well in a laser, It melts and the edges suck. No matter what speed and power settings we have tried? even Epilog suggest .010 for shell. just to thin for good inlays in my opinion so looking for other options. The acrylics may be the way?

Thanks again,

Mike

I didnt give it much hope as I learned more about shell and lasers. I guess it will be a hands only process for most laser users (not cheating, LOL). Not that I really like plastics in my neck but I can see no other choice for reasonably priced inlay work. Has anyone tried cutting the man made stone inlay or is that too hard for such a low powered laser?

I have tried cutting shell on the laser with limited success. It has to be cut very slow...and smells like burnt hair.

So we can just add that to the smell of cutting bone or cutting buffalo horn (dirty feet with a hint of ammonia). All part of the mystique of guitar building.

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I’m not sure how to respond to the notion of using the laser as a way of “cheating”. I know there are purists out there, and I can respect that. But, you have to qualify it. The question is, what qualifies as “cheating”. Is it acceptable to use a PC to surf the web for information, but not OK to use a PC to generate a toolpath?

What I have found is most craftsman that have a problem with a certain technology only have a problem with the technology they don’t have…until they get the machine, or tool in question. Then they suddenly don’t have a problem with it any more. One of the main misconceptions of CNC based machines is most people who have never operated one before think they program themselves. These machines still take knowledge to program & skill to operate. When there is artwork involved, it takes an additional level of ability. Bottom line is: it’s just another tool.twocents.gif

exactly, I use CNC, I wouldnt be without it.

most people think its some sort of magic bullet but like any other skill - making stuff entirely by hand for instance, it is a skillful job to properly program and set it up.

I love the look of your laser, but the cost is beyond me right now, I already fully equipped my workshop 2 years ago and the cost was horrible... once I recover from it however :D

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I'm a believer in the proper use and art of hand tools, but you have to admit that something you use with your mind as opposed to your hands can be equally effective, as it is after all a tool also. I love design, and the precision that can come with that. I also respect master inlay artists who can spend hours to days and beyond designing and creating intricate inlays which use the natural aspects of materials to compliment the result to great effect. Cool. Machines cannot reproduce that interactive approach.

On the other hand, machines can make ideas become real to those whose ideas may otherwise not be in line with their expertise with hand inlaying skills. Same as body manufacture, etc.

Whatever makes that spark, idea, dream or whatever come true is definitely a good thing. I've always been an ideas person and more often than not, finding the route towards making it happen as opposed to ideas being left by the roadside for time to forget is something we lose by being narrow-minded.

I agree with Jaden - it's not a magic bullet by any means, but it is an enabler as opposed to a cop-out. Just a different tool. All you non-laser and non-CNC dudes can go join that small isolationist group over there in the corner holding their "routers are santa" placards. :D

Unless it's Plek.

Edited by Prostheta
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So we can just add that to the smell of cutting bone or cutting buffalo horn (dirty feet with a hint of ammonia). All part of the mystique of guitar building.

I have to try to keep from vomiting when sanding or cutting bone. I don't think I want to know what I smells like under a laser. :D

I'm a believer in the proper use and art of hand tools, but you have to admit that something you use with your mind as opposed to your hands can be equally effective, as it is after all a tool also. I love design, and the precision that can come with that. I also respect master inlay artists who can spend hours to days and beyond designing and creating intricate inlays which use the natural aspects of materials to compliment the result to great effect. Cool. Machines cannot reproduce that interactive approach.

On the other hand, machines can make ideas become real to those whose ideas may otherwise not be in line with their expertise with hand inlaying skills. Same as body manufacture, etc.

Whatever makes that spark, idea, dream or whatever come true is definitely a good thing. I've always been an ideas person and more often than not, finding the route towards making it happen as opposed to ideas being left by the roadside for time to forget is something we lose by being narrow-minded.

I'm with you on this. I appreciate hand tools, but there's definitely a place for CNC. I don't think it's wise to rule either one out.

Personally, I'm an art school grad, so I tend to enjoy hand tools much more. It's much more comfortable for me to get my hands involved in my work. I'm definitely more artist than engineer, but I can understand how others would think differently. We all have different brains.

Edited by NotYou
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  • 3 weeks later...
I’m not sure how to respond to the notion of using the laser as a way of “cheating”. I know there are purists out there, and I can respect that. But, you have to qualify it. The question is, what qualifies as “cheating”. Is it acceptable to use a PC to surf the web for information, but not OK to use a PC to generate a toolpath?

What I have found is most craftsman that have a problem with a certain technology only have a problem with the technology they don’t have…until they get the machine, or tool in question. Then they suddenly don’t have a problem with it any more. One of the main misconceptions of CNC based machines is most people who have never operated one before think they program themselves. These machines still take knowledge to program & skill to operate. When there is artwork involved, it takes an additional level of ability. Bottom line is: it’s just another tool.twocents.gif

First off let me say that was completly amazing! I watched it twice and then called my wife to see it!

I agree after watching it is definatly something tool wise "I WANT!"

What i think they mean by "cheating" is by seeing it work it's like learning how a magic trick works. After you learn and see how it's done it takes the mystery away and your left with "aww I can do that" feeling. But if you got on stage the girl would get cut in half for real and the ambulance is on the way.

Mind you we are watching a timelapse you tube video so you don't see the cad programing or the actual time to cut all those inlays or the glue in process, or the 2nd one you cut in scrap to keep the pieces straight.

I am very pro computers/cnc/laser because these things make possible many things that would be possible for me art wise that would normally be out of my reach. I do desktop design and layout and have a "art" based mind but my hands can not quite draw whats in my mind but with being able scan, twist, point by point click mirror and invert i have been able to "draw" things needed. So it is like you said it is a tool to use and sir let me say you use that tool with grace and skill so I tip my hat to you on wonderful job done and look forward to any videos you post

Jim

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