I got a new MacBook Pro 16" for work, and decided to etch it with the company name and logo. I was pretty nervous that I would damage the laptop or end up with a poorly-aligned design, but it came out pretty good!
I used the settings in the Glowforge App for the “Silver MacBook Pro” (speed 125, power 40) and this worked very well on the latest Space Gray MacBook model. The etch is uniformly white and the surface is absolutely smooth to the touch.
I used the technique described in this post to determine the correct height to plug into the Glowforge app for the “material thickness”. Took out the crumb tray, measured the height of the honeycomb layer of the crumb tray, and stacked up several layers of proofgrade material under the laptop so the top of the laptop came up to just about 2mm higher than where the honeycomb would have been. Plugged in the 2mm material thickness and voila! I got a perfectly good etch.
To make sure that the design would be correctly registered to the laptop surface, I first cut a cardboard mock of the laptop (with the Apple logo and everything). I then placed this on top of the actual laptop and ran an etch at lower power and higher speed, just to check that the cardboard would be marked in the correct location. (Since the cardboard was 4mm thick, I added that to the 2mm that I calculated above for the material thickness, but only for the cardboard etch of course).
What this revealed, as expected, was that the Glowforge’s camera is accurate in the center of the print bed, so the Apple logo matched up exactly between the cardboard mock and the design shown in the Glowforge UI:
However, out towards the edges of the design, the Glowforge UI and camera view showed the design overlapping the edges of the laptop, even though when etching there was a comfortable margin between the design and the edge. So, this is very important to keep in mind when you need your design accurately registered to the physical material.
Overall I’m very happy with the results and glad I did not fry my $3000 laptop!