Engraving failure on mink skull (warning: pictures of a skull)

So if there was ever a topic that deserved to be in “beyond the manual” – I’m pretty sure they aren’t ever going to offer proofgrade skulls.

Things I did right:

  • Got the non-crumb-tray height correct with new spacer blocks.
  • Settings were 1000/30/270lpi. Seems good, nice dark engrave…

Things I didn’t do right:

  • The design (vector) was way too intricate, the finer lines didn’t even mark. In hindsight, this is a no-brainer, some of these lines were about a kerf thick. Brain took a back seat to “MINK SKULL ENGRAVE WOOHOO” inner voice.

  • Attempted to engrave a second time at 600/30, thinking maybe the finer lines would get more love and start to show. This turned out to be true but the detail got overburned and now some detail was lost in the larger engraved areas.

This is only my second skull attempt, so I figure a screwup is part of the process. I will dial it in next time, redesign the engrave to have bolder lines and probably start at 600/30.

Click for the skully goodness:


I’d suggest much lower speeds, and progressively work your way up in power, and additional passes to reburn the material.

Additionally separating the artwork into different layers based on design features (kerf width, thickness, level of detail etc) to enable reburning areas that didn’t come out dark enough without overburning other areas.


Check with @Drea…she did a bunch of work on bone beads back in the PRU days.
(And yes, skull is gross. Thanks for the blur. Clicked on it anyway, but it’s the thought that counts.) :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


This is a nice start! Please keep us updated on your progression. I have some hare skulls I’m letting sit out one more summer then I’ll give them a try in the GF.

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This is something that seems to be so overlooked in the interest of getting a job done as fast as possible but is actually one of the great strengths of designing for and creating by laser.

The other is slowing the thing down; just because it can do “1000” doesn’t mean that 1000 is the best setting when you’re going for extremely fine details.


Do you hang them in a tree? When I moved into my house there was a deer head hanging in the tree just on the neighbor’s side of the property line. Then it was a head with strips of hairy skin hanging off it. Then just a skull. It was a conversation piece.

Yeesh, grim! Guess they don’t need any “no trespassing” signs.

I get my skulls from ebay (minks from china in lots of 5) and the boneroom and skulls unlimited. A bit more sterile.

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Burying them works well and is faster than hanging in a tree.


You can also clean a skull by putting it in bucket with a solution of water+borax for 2-4 days. Don’t ask how I know this :wink:

As to settings for bone, my experiments were over a year ago on the PRU. I haven’t done any more since then, and settings have changed quite a bit in the interim. I sent some of those same bone beads to @dwardio , and his results were a bit better than my own. He shared his settings here if you’d like a rough guideline. IIRC, our settings were quite similar, except that he used a higher LPI.


I haven’t worked with bone since those PRU tests, but I’d definitely start with those settings and go from there.

Ditto. I picked up a nice selection of bone at the gem show this year, and planned on exactly that. Just haven’t had a chance to get a round tuit yet :wink:

Wait, we can do bone? Runs to skull collection.