The Process of A Engraved Design
The Cape Coral Plumbing sign was our largest project at 42 inches x 46 inches. It stretched the boundaries of my machine. The first thing I did was to put the material in this case 3/8 acrylic on the bed of the cnc machine and center it up.
Next I removed the protective paper coating and determined if I was going to etch or engrave the acrylic. Etching on glass or acrylic is using a spring loaded diamond tip bit that scratches the surface to make the acrylic or glass have that frosted look, much like when your skin is dry you write your name on your skin with your fingernail. Engraving on acrylic only is taking a bit in the cnc machine that is spinning and moving it across the area to be engraved leaving the frosted look.
The next step is to remember when I etch or engrave the words and emblems come out reversed because the work is actually being done on the back of the material so when you look at it from the front all is normal. This also allows you to wipe the front clean and not leave pieces of paper towel behind.
At this point I have downloaded the files into the computer for the cnc and it starts and does its job. When the job is completed I remove the protective paper from the bed or front side of the acrylic and wash off all of the shavings and polish the edges so the led lights shine through from the edges. I chose engraving for this project because it took 11 hours for the machine to do its job. Had I chosen etching it would have been 26 hours of machine time. The leds in this project can change colors as they choose by the season or in a random sequence.
Mark Cox Woodworking
Fort Myers, FL