Introduction: Laser Etching an Image on a Business Card Holder.

Picture of Laser Etching an Image on a Business Card Holder.

This is my very first instructable, so have mercy!

I chose a photo of my friend.  (Don't hate me, B!)

Step 1: Edit Your Image.

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I wanted to get rid of the background, so I used Adobe Photoshop to erase everything around him.  You can use the magic wand tool to help you crop more exactly around the image.  Other than, I just used the eraser and then zoomed in to clean up the edges.

Step 2: Add Text to the Image

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Again, I just used one of the fonts on Photoshop to emblazon my friend's future stage name on the case.

Step 3: Adjust the Size

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Adjust the image size to the size of the business card holder.  Mine is 2"x3.5".  Then save your file as a jpeg.

Step 4: Gather Your Materials!

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I grabbed a metal business card holder.  If there is a protective plastic sheet on yours (there was on mine), be sure to peel it off first!

You'll also need CerMark to coat the metal case.

Step 5: Coat Your Card Holder With CerMark

Picture of Coat Your Card Holder With CerMark

First, go to a well ventilated area!  The fumes are strong with this stuff.

Then, mask off with painters tape around the hinges to keep them from getting gunked up.

Shake the CerMark really well, and then spray the area you'll be printing on.

Let it dry for a few minutes.  Make sure it is all the way dry before you begin working on it.

Step 6: Put the Focus Gauge on the Machine.

Picture of Put the Focus Gauge on the Machine.

Take your focus gauge and put it on the magnetic plate on the lens assembly. 

Step 7: Focus the Laser

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Go to the laser and hit the "Focus" button.  Use the up and down arrows to move the lense up and down.  Get the focus gauge as close as you can to the card holder without touching it.

Step 8: Place the Card Holder on the Tray

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Put the cardholder on the tray.

Take the focus gauge off the lens assembly.

Pay attention to which way you want the image to face. 

Step 9: Format in Illustrator

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I edited my photo using Adobe Photoshop on my desk computer.  After I had my printing surface ready, I opened the file on the computer attached to the laser printer, with Adobe illustrator.

Make sure one more time that the image is the right size for your printing surface.

(pic 1) Go to File > Print.  And then push "Setup" in the bottom left hand corner.
(pic 2) Select "Continue" in the screen that pops up.

Step 10: Enter Your Preferences

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(pic 1) Go to Print > Preferences.  This will open the Printing Preferences seen in pic 2. 

Step 11: Preferences Continued...

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In this screen, you can select whether your image is raster, art, or combined.  For the jpg photo, I used raster. 

Step 12: Set the Speed and Power.

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Then you set your speed and power.  For the coated business card holder, we used 60% speed and 100% power. 

Step 13: Select Print on the Computer

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After you've set your preferences, you'll be back on the print screen.  Hit print.  This will begin sending your printing job over to the laser.

Step 14: Hit Go!

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Go over to the laser.  The job should be displayed as "Untitled".  Hit the green "GO" button to start the laser.

Step 15: Sit Back and Watch It Go!

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Step 16: Scrape Off the Coating

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I just used my fingernail and gently scraped off the mask.  At first, I thought the image was too dark.  Later, I realized that you do just have to scrap harder in certain areas. 

I was also frightened that if I scratched too hard, the black would lift off.  This isn't the case.  The black with stay put and the mask will come right off.  Don't be afraid to treat it like a lotto ticket! 

Step 17: Admire Your Handywork!

Picture of Admire Your Handywork!

Once the CerMark was all off, I wiped it down with a little bit of all purpose cleaner.  Turned out pretty good for my first laser project!

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