A good example of creating a product for the pet market from a readily available laser-friendly product is to use a granite tile to create a garden pet memorial.
- 6 X 6-inch black granite square tile
- Flatbed scanner
- Photo processing program
- Laser engraver
- Microfiber cloth
- Glue (clear silicone or five-minute epoxy)
Step 1: Preparing the Photo
Use a flatbed scanner and scan at 300 dpi resolution. Open the scanned image in Corel Photo-Paint. Use the Crop tool to select the head of the pet in the photo. Remove the background of the photo by using the Magic Wand tool to select areas and then press the Delete key. Adjust the Tolerance setting of the Magic Wand tool to select a larger or smaller region for deleting. Final clean up and removal of the background can be done with the Eraser tool.
After completely removing the background of the photo, use the Magic Wand tool and select the background area. Use the Fill Bucket to fill the background black. When processed, the black background will not be engraved.
Step 2: Processing the Photo
Open the retouched photo in any photo processing program and scale the photo to the final engraving size. For the 6 X 6-inch granite tile project, scale the photo to approximately a 2 1/2-inch size. Let the processing program adjust the dpi of the photo to fit your brand of laser engraving system. If your laser works in 250/500 dpi, convert the photo to 250 dpi. If your laser works in 300/600 dpi resolutions, convert the photo to 300 dpi. Select ‘Black Granite.’ Process the photo in the program and save the photo.
Step 3: Creating the Engraving Layout
Open CorelDRAW and create a square that is 6 X 6 inches. Import the processed photo and place it in the square. Type in the text for engraving and enhance with any clip art. Use the 6 X 6 square to align and center the objects.
Step 4: Engraving the Layout
Print the engraving layout to the recommended settings for Black Granite.
Step 5: Adding Color
Add a stone color-fill to increase contrast. Make sure the color-fill product used is suitable for outdoors before application. Use an ink-like product that soaks into the stone rather than a paint-link product that floats on the top of the engraved area. After application of the stone color-fill, wipe away the excess using a soft cloth, such as a microfiber towel.
Step 6: Mounting
Position the tile on the stake and the small gap between the tile and the stake. Apply a thick bead of glue and press the tile firmly against the stake. An outdoor-rated glue should be used, such as a clear silicone or five-minute epoxy.
—Mike Fruciano, Fruciano Consulting