Dispatches from the Front (Pre-Release Report) - By Request

When Glowforge first started its marketing efforts one of the demonstrations that seemed to really attract attention was engraving an iPad or iPhone. (Technically speaking the laser “marks” these devices as it has insufficient power to actually remove anything but the anodization.)

Part of the fascination is no doubt due to the conflicting desire for the ultimate personalization of a very personal device and the “OMG it’s a thousand dollar piece of electronic hardware!”.

Intellectually it’s easy to understand that the 40W CO2 laser can’t really harm the metal case much less cut through it and destroy the magical interior components. But emotionally, OMG!

I’m an Android guy so no iPhone or iPad (although I do laser engrave the occasional iPhone or iPad the company will get for an employee whose position allows them to say no to the company standard Android devices). Instead I have a GPD Pocket. This is a 7" Windows 10 laptop PC. With specs slightly better and a price a bit more than a Microsoft Surface 3, it takes some amount of faith to drop it under a laser beam.

The case is an aluminum magnesium alloy. Having been an early Kickstarter backer of the Pocket (it’s now available from Amazon) I’ve been using it for daily carry & travel since June when it was delivered earlier than originally promised.

Now that it’s survived the “will I really use it or will I go back to my Surface” test I decided it was time to customize.

Grab a design from a decal I put on my daughter’s Aliens themed car, drop it into Corel, clean up the image and toss it to the GFUI.

24 minutes later all done. It really took less than 12 minutes to engrave but I ran two passes as I zeroed in on the settings that worked best. PM if you’re interested in the specifics as there are no PG laptops or laser settings.

Here’s the final result. Achieving this finish does not require two passes by the way, a single pass using the final settings I used would create the same result.

So Virginia, yes you can engrave (mark) your phone or tablet - aluminum bodied ones anyway.


Oh wow – love it! :sunglasses:


Oh, I do too! I’d do that over a pattern, which I would get tired of before wearing out the device.

(Great - now nothing is safe.) :smile:


Laser All Things!

My tech usually has a half-life measured in months.


Oh man I go for years with good tech. Kept my first computer for ten. It finally died on me, and I upgraded (with much price shock) to something that really blew my socks off. (And it was so much faster, I darn near cried.)

Heck I didn’t even get an iphone until right before I joined the forum a couple of years ago.

(Which is why I wanted the best laser, of course. :smile:)


Yeah, for me, the trepidation in lasering devices isn’t a mental hang-up on possible damage… it’s because I keep tech for years, particularly phones now that the trend is larger and larger screens, which really annoys me because I prefer the smaller size (current phone is an iphone 5s). So whatever design I finally decide on, I gotta really love that design. :slight_smile:


Yeah, I get tired of looking at the same picture on a calendar in less than 30 days. That’s why I don’t sport any tats.


I cant even decide on a color to paint my project car. LOL!! And I know it will be just one color, because I would tire of a two-tone job or graphics in no time flat.


I guess I should have seen that coming. After the enumerable decisions you have had to make across the course of that project, you would hit a wall at the cherry on top.


Ahh come on, I really wanted to see some nice pearl ghosted flames on the car!


yellow with black accents :hugs:

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Wrap it. Then you can change.


@mpipes Right up your alley ‘Sticker Pimp’!
@jbv has the machine for that.


heeeey dont let the reigns loose on that name here man, I have a whole motorsports industry of folks who still call me that because they either don’t know my real name or it’s just habit. Hahahaha!!! Other variations include “pimpy” and “sticky”… LOL! (not to be confused with Stimpy)

Irony is, I’m not big on the idea of vinyl wraps and I had a business doing that stuff.

But I’m also the type of person that, because I can paint cars, doing a new paint job every couple years actually isnt out of the realm of possibility. In fact, it’s probably likely.

Most likely will do silver or a silver-ish paint job because it’s a fairly light color to help deflect some heat in this desert hell I call home. I just can’t get into painting it “Arizona White”.

What I actually wanted to do some time ago, and it’s not out of the question, was wrap the whole thing with texalium which is a fiberglass weave with a shiny coating of aluminum, it looks like chromed fabric. Then have it a two-tone finish with the “chrome” on top and candee (transparent) blue on the bottom, with a stripe of carbon fiber dividing the two… you know, a real super huge PITA to pull off. It would be something I can actually do myself, but would be one of those legendary $30,000 type paint jobs you hear about… and absolutely impossible to repair or maintain. LOL.


You only live once, Sticky!


But back to the subject at hand…nice job on the laptop! I like that image, very playful. Regarding customization of laptops, tablets &I phones, does anybody worry about the resale value of a customized piece of tech? Or do you just toss them in the recycling bin anyway when you upgrade.


My old tech usually collects dust for years until I crush them and toss 'em. :slight_smile:

I do keep my phones for years though - once I get one I like I hold onto it. Had an original iphone but then went to the Android side when the next one came out and Apple was charging new customers less than existing customers because they wanted to attract new customers and figured existing ones were locked in. Have been buying my phones unlocked straight from Google ever since - which isn’t a huge thing as I had a Nexus 1 that didn’t get replaced until the Nexus 6 :slight_smile:


Really nice work on that laptop, and I think the anxiety of aiming a laser at expensive high tech is almost unavoidable. Probably less for you because of your experience, but still in the back of your mind.
I still haven’t been able to talk myself into it. :grimacing:


What settings did you use for this?

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