Washing wood without warping

The spray bottle blast is a great idea.


This might be a stupid question, but are you able to save/re-use your rinse DNA, or do you have to dispose of it after each use? Seems like that could get both very expensive, and very annoying (if your disposal regulations are anything like they are up here).

Do you just let the isopropryl evaporate dry?

I just attempted to clean an engrave for the first time. I went the Fast Orange route, and ended up with some serious warping. Mind you, that might have been my technique. I was cleaning the brush with water quite frequently… not sure how liberal I should be with the Fast Orange, or the water (if any) with that method.

Fast Orange can warp wood even if used without more water. Water is actually the first ingredient listed in its list of ingredients and apparently it’s enough to cause a problem.

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I know I opened the thread with one question, and am kinda of circumventing that question myself, but I thought it would be interesting to share my results after a couple days of experimenting.

I went and bought some denatured alcohol and did a few prints of the project I’m currently working on. I can’t post pictures before Christmas, but the 3d engraves I’m doing are topographical in nature. Since I’m using a full dynamic range of black-white in order to get a highly discernible landscape, I’m burning pretty deep into the wood and producing quite a bit of char.

Denatured alcohol, for my project, worked about as well as rubbing alcohol - it didn’t, really. Even when I included vigorous toothbrush scrubbing.

I kind of anticipated this, and also bought thicker wood - 1/4" BB ply made for laser burning, and the results on the wood were beautiful. So I was apprehensive when the DA didn’t work, because I knew I was gonna have to get in there with soap, water and a toothbrush, and was scared of warpage.

Long story short, dish soap, water and a toothbrush was by far the best result when cleaning off a deep burn like mine. You can’t argue with the amazing results @evansd2 is seeing with DA, but when the priority is to have a deep variable burn, the best option is to use thicker wood. The 1/4 unfinished BB showed only the most minuscule amount of warpage after fully-submerged scrubbing for several minutes.


The DA takes on a lot of brown color. I’m not sure how you could reclaim it. I could be more efficient with it by getting a few pieces ready for cleaning and do them in a batch maybe, but it would require a bit of experimentation.

It also evaporates so quickly that it’s almost gone by the time you’re done. Have to think about this one.

Got any pics? Sounds cool.

Keep in mind that a plywood product is made of plies that have the grain oriented in alternating directions, so warping will be less problematic.

Solid woods will be a different story, and even then results will vary by species and their natural resistance to moisture.

You are right about the thickness too. More fiber/grain to resist against bending.


Posted here:

My bottle of fingernail polish remover from “Studio 35 Beauty” says 100% Acetone on the label.

The 3d engraved wood (maple hardwood 1/8" PG) still warped after a dip in acetone.

I had a piece of non pg maple warp like a taco from alcohol. Amazing thing was that after about 4 or 5 days it’s neatly flat again. Not perfect, but not a debacle either.

This looks awesome!! I know its not the topic but i have a couple questions… What format to you use for this 3d Engrave… I’ve tried detailed vector art and rendering wouldn’t handle it! and do you use tape over the wood or just the material without the tapes protection? THANKS FOR SHARING!

No masking. It was a raster piece pulled from wiki.

3D engraving takes a black-and-white bitmap image - you just need to rasterize your vector before you upload it.

Not to correct @dan here (more like elaborate a bit), but 3d engraving needs a greyscale raster image (bitmap/png/jpeg) or an SVG or pdf with one embedded.

Black and white will not get depth gradients, you might as well be engraving rasters at that point.

I’d say black and white is a pretty accepted and generally understood term as far as images are concerned. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say, “I love grayscale photography.” I’ve heard a lot of people say, “I love black and white photography.”


Here’s a good link to show what kind of images work well with 3D.

http://bit.ly/2zaLQFX (short cut so you don’t have to read the thread if ya don’t want :slight_smile: )

Here’s a bit more info about it

and some more examples here too :slight_smile:

I remove masking before engraving as it just turns gummy and can be hard to get off. I just clean the wood residue off with alcohol or orange cleaner. To me, the remaining discoloration adds depth and character to the engravings. YMMV of course .

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…but we’re communicating with self-professed newbies who may or may not take it literally. In fact, oddly enough, I hear “black and white bitmap” and I literally think black and white pixel art. I hear “black and white jpeg” and I assume it’ll be greyscale. Clarity in instructions is never a bad thing.


Not to beat a dead horse, photography and it’s terms are sometimes completely different from computer graphics. Greyscale is definitely the correct and clear usage here. Black and white is very specific especially when followed by “bitmap.” If I didn’t know anything about 3D engraves, I’d have thought of a 1 bit image after reading that. So it was a fair clarification.