Do you have a lot of bricks lying around? Do you wish that they were worth more than a mere $0.05/lb? Do you have a ~$100k machine lying around next to your bricks? Then this Instructable will show you how to increase the value of your bricks 1000 fold! You read that right, three trailing zeros, in base ten!
Step 1: Have Your Friend Rfong Ask You About Cutting Letters Into a Brick
If rfong isn't your friend, don't worry, probably a lot of your friends are capable of asking you this question, collect one.
Step 2: Sacrifice Some Bricks to the Almighty OMAX
Whoever created the materials database for Omax waterjets didn't consider the lucrative process of adding value to bricks, another example of short sightedness in the human race. But we were not deterred and proceeded to cut some holes in bricks using existing settings like Nevada Shale and Wyoming Limestone the former cut went well but took a very long time and the latter didn't make it all the way though in most spots. We eventually settled on a custom stone setting of 3500 machinability. We also discovered if a cut was going to start very near an edge having the "Very Brittle Material" and "Low Pressure" pierce settings prevented cracking, but for all the internal cuts we turned these off because speed obvi.
Step 3: Fixture Your Brick
Bricks aren't very large and just like all good artists we wanted our drawing to go off the paper, I mean brick. This meant fixturing the brick was a very creative process. The brick was held in place by reversed quick clamps and some sacrificial material on the sides to protect important things like the waterjet squares and clamps themselves.
Step 4: Addage: Path Hundreds of Times, Cut Twice or So
Despite the OMAX Layout software feeling very archaic, it does have an image tracer (OMAX Intelli-trace) and it's pretty cool . After tracing, make an outline the size of your brick around the path (this puts the offset on the right side and helps get your proper zero), path, adjust the start line to one of the corners of the brick, delete the outline, make sure that everything is being cut correctly, export path to OMAX Make!
Step 5: Locater Beam (but I...)
It was important that the text in the brick was lined up where we planned. So we turned on the locator beam in the waterjet, which if you haven't done, is totally awesome. I recommend it very highly. Imagine a giant with a jeweller's hammer, this difference in proportion is the delight that the locator beam brings to me. Anyway, use that to get your zero, stop giggling, zero the path start, resume giggling.
Step 6: Rapidily and Accurately Errode Your Brick Using the Forces of Nature at 20000 PSI
In Make, we did our first cut with the "Very Brittle Material" selection, paused the machine, turned off the brittle material setting, right-clicked Machine -> Go to Spot on Path, went to where we paused, and started blasting away at the brick!
Step 7: Bask in the Glory of a Brick With Text
With your new highly valuable brick a whole new world of opportunities awaits! Give them away as a trophy, send the heaviest get well card ever created, personalize riot bricks for that special store front/neighbor, anything you want! Nothing is set in stone.... yet.