As much as I loved the books growing up, they’ve never really bled into my adult life - meaning I’ll watch the movies here and there, and I enjoy the idea of the stories, but it’s been awhile since I’ve picked one of the books up. This is not the case for my best friend. There was an entire summer a few years back where he just had the last three movies on repeat all day everyday. He’s not entirely obsessed, but he does enjoy the world that J.K. Rowling has created.
With that said, it was literally minutes after me getting my glowforge and posting about it, that he was already requesting that I make something for him. He preordered a couple of cases and sent them straight to my house, and told me he would get back to me when his wife had designed something. A couple of weeks after getting the cases, he finally sent me a design. It, of course, is a Harry Potter reference.
Before anyone mentions it, yes, that is a bee not a wasp, but hey, I’m just the guy lasering the things, so I didn’t make a fuss about it. Plus, if you knew my friend, this is the exact kind of weirdness that’s up his alley. So when testing the design on some I was having issues with the lettering and the goalposts being thin and not showing up. I also played with some settings to see if maybe I could defocus the laser for a smoother imprint seeing as that there was a lot of black area to engrave. It would make a smoother print, but the letters were still having issues. So I went into photoshop, and what I like to do is magic wand something, go over it with a brush, rinse and repeat, and this will slowly increase the size of your selection. Would have been much easier if I had the source file instead of a jpeg, but meh, this works too. The failing results
After finally updating the image and printing a little larger.
I was being greedy by printing small since I was just running tests, but realized I needed the image to be roughly the size I would eventually print onto his case to see real results. I actually used an older image when finally printing onto his case, and the results left the goalposts unfinished.
I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the results, and going back through my texts with my friend, I realized that he had asked if I pushed the image as far out as I could, and turning it might yield better results. I’m a very straightforward thinker so to have him around is very useful at times. I was also not satisfied with there only being a design at the top of the case, leaving the bottom to feel very empty. I threw a mock design together and this time asked if this would be okay and more of what maybe he was thinking.
He gave me the thumb’s up and I printed it. It was only slightly difficult doing this, because I was using a material that I hadn’t used before, but also I was engraving the inside of the case for the logo, and the outside for his name. I started the original print at 15 power 800 speed 450lpi and ran a second engrave with an increased 30 power leaving the other settings the same. When doing the new case, I just went directly up to 60 power 800 speed 450lpi and the reults were amazing. The engraved material is TPU and I’m not entirely sure if anyone else has engraved on this stuff before, but it leaves a residue behind where the laser engraves. I let it dry for a while also using a hair dryer to speed the process up, and then scrapped it out with a plastic toothpick. The differences I noticed with the engraves is that the second one was a little deeper, but had more discoloration in the leftover residue, but the original case took longer because of the second pass. If anyone else uses my settings on TPU cases, it might be a good idea to keep this in mind. In any case I had to clean out the engrave regardless of settings. Here are the final results
BTW, what’s everyone’s favorite paint for filler? I’ve been using spray paint, but I don’t think that it will last as long as an acrylic based paint. Oh, and I used the same settings for the harder plastic bottom and it put off a lot of yellow smoke, so definitely be away of the smoke and let the glowforge sit for a little while if you do use these materials.