My friend and neighbor took his life last month, and I was asked to make a little plaque to go in front of the cowboy-themed urn during the family service. I figured they wanted the stylized image I had made of him, but they just wanted the text and coiled whips. They wanted it on black metal of some sort, and picked DieBond from the various materials I had laying around the shop.
It is a very little plaque, 3"x4". So little that I was having trouble weeding a stencil. All these tiny little cursive letters. If I had my Glowforge, this project would have been remarkably simple. I don’t, so I tried to go the stencil route, figuring I would either paint it or use an etching creme (although I have never worked with etching creme, and this isn’t how I wanted to start playing with it).
It took a very long time to weed the first test version, and I still lost some internal shapes in the end. I’m surprised it cut as well as it did, but when I pulled my first test stencil away, I found that the letters were so small that a lot of the paint did not even get down to the surface of the material, instead bridging over the stencil cutouts and then peeling away with it.
I wasn’t about to spend the rest of the night weeding another one to try with etching creme, so I started looking for a local engraver, any kind. The local trophy shop told me they could look at the project in three weeks, and go from there. A google search led me to a local jeweler, who gave me a five week lead-time for $80, or one-week ‘rush’ for $117.
Back to google, and I finally found a local guy with a big Full Spectrum machine: Lyris Laser Studio.
He told me to come on over. He had never worked on DieBond before, so I brought an extra piece and he did a few quick tests, and then engraved the full plaque. I was there for maybe twenty minutes, and he charged me $10.
It looks good, it will work. If I had a machine of my own to do this on, I think I could have made it look a lot better. It certainly would not have been as painful.
Rest In Peace James.