We wanted to give the new cohort of AiRs a nice gift to start their residency and I was tasked to laser etch a bunch of notebooks with the P9 logo. Through a lot of trial and error, this is how you go about laser etching/cutting multiple notebooks.
Step 1: Prep Your Image
Prepare your image so the etch will be deep enough and the vector lines are created to be cut through.
This was how I set up this specific file.
Open up the P9 Logo PDF on Adobe Illustrator and make the following changes:
Change the black to a darker grey and select all the text and add a stroke to it of 0.001 to create boxes for the lines with strokes (the lines already there would simply be a slit)
Logo size should be 2.79” x 4.38"
Step 2: Setup the Machine
If you directly lay your notebook on the laser bed, it's going get dirty. So put a piece of cardboard on top of the bed to keep your notebook clean. Tape the sides of the cardboard to the edge of the machine if it's not a flat piece of cardboard.
Also, because you'll be doing multiple covers, you're going to burn through the card board and set it on fire. Laser cut through the front cover area you'll be cutting through to avoid this.
Then blue tape exactly where you'll be placing the notebook so you'll have the logo lasered on the right spot each time.
Step 3: Setup Your Notebook
Place blue tape on the front AND back of the cover. This will prevent any burn marks from appearing on the notebook. If you do this, be sure you up the power of your raster and vector.
Step 4: Laser Away!
At Pier 9 I used the WATER Epilog Laser and used these settings:
Raster: Speed: 80% | Power: 20%
Vector: Speed: 25% | Power: 100%
BUT settings vary based on each machine so you should try changing the settings up based on what you know of your own machines.
If you follow this instructable, this will save you 2-3.5 hours of your life of trial and error you do not need to go through like I did..
Make sure you do a test laser cut on a scrap material to make sure your image is fine and that's it's not pixelated or missing vector lines. Then make sure you do a test laser cut on the same material as your notebook cover to make sure all the settings are right, especially if you are putting masking tape over it.
Now go and make some awesome notebooks :)