In this instructable I will show you how to prepare images for Laser etching with a Trotec Speedy 300 80w Laser. You should do this with an high contrast images and photos so that they can be easily turned into black and white vector images. Im going to use my personal logo that I have saved as a jpg for this example.
Step 1: Gather Your Materials and an Image to Vectorize
I will be etching onto a Glyph GPT50 hard drive enclosure since it is anodized aluminum which will engrave very well. Like I said I before, I will be engraving my artist logo.
Step 2: Invert Colors
Since My logo is is white text on a black background we will need to invert the colors to get the laser engraver to recognize the logo as a engraving process. This can easily be done adding an invert color adjustment layer to the image in adobe photoshop. Once that is done, you will want to save the image as a jpeg file to open in Adobe Illustrator.
Step 3: Image Trace
Open the jpeg we just saved in Adobe Illustrator so we can turn the image into a vector. We do this by selecting the image and using the Image Trace Button at the top toolbar. This will bring you into the image trace mode. If you are happy with the result you can just click EXPAND and that will create a vector out of the image. If you are not happy with the result you will have to open to advanced preferences to add or remove black from the image. You can do this by clicking the 3 bars to the left of the image trace button which will open a results panel, there you will find an advanced options drop down. Trial and error with this sliders will change the results of the vector.
Step 4: Vector Resizing
Once you have expanded the image trace, you have now create a vector. At this point if you select all (cmd+a) and and then group (cmd+g) you will be able to resize the vector all at once (holding shift while resizing).
Step 5: Print Setup
Once you are happy with your vector sizing and placement, you are ready to send the job to the printer. In the print options you want to make sure that that the document size and media size are the same. If those values are not the same, you will see a dotted line like in the print preview above.
Step 6: Engraving
Once engraved you will be left with a back surface with your logo etched out!