This is a simple project I did at the TechShop (http://techshop.ws). I had a set of old glass drinking cups just sitting in the cuboard collecting dust, so I decided to spruce them up a little by laser enscribing sayings and/or images on them. For designing the glasses, I used Adobe Illustrater and CorelDRAW. You will need access to a laser (I used an Epilog 45W Helix laser) and a laser Rotary attachment (assuming your glasses are round).
You will need:
-ruler (or measuring tape)
-scrap of paper (for focusing the laser)
-laser rotary attachement
-scrap of cloth (for wiping off the glasses)
-old socks (for transporting the glasses safely)
Step 1: Step 1: Design Your Engraving
In CorelDRAW, Adobe Illustrator, or some other program that can communicate with the laser you are going to use, you can design what you want to engrave on your glass. (I decided to engrave “Glass Half Empty …” on the top half of one side and “Glass Half Full …” on the bottom half of the other side.) You will need to measure the circumference and height of your glass to size your engraving. Don’t forget to rotate you design after you are done so it prints the correct way.
Step 2: Set Up Your Laser
Before you begin the project, make sure to familiarize yourself with the basic operation of your Laser and the general safety precautions recommended by the equipment manufacturer. For best results, always make sure it is clean; vacuuming out debris and checking the lens is clear.
Step 3: Insert Your Piece
When placing your piece on the rotary attachment, it may take some creativity if it has a handle or a base that is wider than the top. In such cases the clip shown in the picture can be removed, however, you will need to watch carefully because the vibration of the laser can cause your piece to slip.
Step 4: Align the Laser to Measure Your Piece
Be sure to focus your laser before setting your home position because the laser dot will seem to have moved. Once it is focused, note that with the rotary attachment you only have to worry about the X-position because the Y-position will automatically be centered over the rotary attachment. With the home position set, you can now use “X/Y OFF” to check the length of your piece.
Step 5: Print
In the print menu of the design program you used, go under setting to choose the laser power, speed, and so forth. For the Epilog 45W Helix laser, 45% speed and 90% power at 600 DPI worked well.
Step 6: Wipe Off Shards
When you are done, wipe off the engraved portion of the glass to remove any shards. For transporting your piece safely home, I found placing them inside old thick socks worked well.