Anyone might have flashlights or other anodized aluminum items they wish to engrave. This Instructable shows how to mark anodized aluminum flashlights - both flat and curved.
This work was done at TechShop, in Round Rock, Texas!
Step 1: First, create your personalized marking artwork
Draw your marking design in a drawing package, like Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW. Either one can output the proper format files. I chose Illustrator because I have it and am experienced with it.
- Set your drawing package to RGB color, not CMYK. This is critical to the laser (any CNC device) interpreting your lines for various purposes - engraving is 'coded' by the color we choose (note metal can't be cut by low-power lasers like the TROTEC at TechShop).
- Measure the material to be engraved - make sure you understand the exact location and shape of the space
- Create the text or graphics you want to engrave. Use pure black (#000000 RGB) for this text, as the standard for engraving.
- Consider setting 'Grid' on so that as you adjust layers they will snap to the nearest gridline and assure proper association of multiple text entries as well as matching your known dimensions.
- Save your design. If you use another application that isn't present on the laser cutter computer (TechShop has Illustrator and CorelDRAW as well as others - check with them) you might want to export in a portable format for vectors, like DXF. Otherwise use the normal saving format.
Note that TechShop provides many apps for driving the laser cutter/engraver and the drivers, allowing direct output from those apps to the engraver. This means you can bring your native format files for these programs, such as AutoCAD, Illustrator, CorelDRAW etc. Check with your TechShop or other provider of equipment time to see what apps they support, or if you must bring an intermediate format.