How to Quickly Get a Photo Ready for Etching on the Laser Cutter




Introduction: How to Quickly Get a Photo Ready for Etching on the Laser Cutter

About: I am a dabbler. I like to make things better than what they were intended for. I play with Yoyos and I'm not half bad.

In this tutorial I will show you how to take a photo you found on google and get it ready to be etched onto a piece of wood using a laser cutter. It may seem like a lengthy task but it is surprisingly easy.   

Try and use some reclaimed wood like I did. Stay green my homies! 

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Step 1: Find Your Photo on Google

I love Leonardo da Vinci. I found this sketch he made. This will be the photo that we are going to be etching onto the piece of wood.You want to look for a photo that has the figure or image drawn in black. You can also use photos that are color but its a little more toying around in photoshop that you will have to do. 

Step 2: Open the Photo in Photoshop

You will want to open the photo in Photoshop or other image editing program. 

Step 3: Grayscale That Badboy

Go to Image>Mode>Grayscale

This is the first step to getting it ready for the laser

Step 4: Play With the Brightness and Contrast

Go to Image>Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast 

Play with the settings until you get a photo that is all black and white. A little gray is okay. It just wont etch as deep as the black. 

Step 5: Open the Photo in Adobe Illustrator

You will open the file in Adobe Illustrator. 

For this I am going to be just making a small necklace. 

I made the cut lines and now all we have to do is send this to the laser cutter now and we will have this one of a kind necklace! 

Step 6: Wear Your New Piece

I made this necklace at TechShop 
Check them out if you haven't already!
Also please visit my Etsy shop and view some other pieces that my beautiful girlfriend and I have made

I have included the file if you have access to a laser cutter. 

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    4 Discussions


    2 years ago

    You do not need any software for preparing photos for laser engraving. The simplest method is to convert a photo to pure black and white. I found an online tool at which allow you to simply adjust the photo for optimum edges for laser engraving. It is simple and results are outstanding.


    3 years ago

    I am totally new to Photoshop and laser engraving. Your process seems very simple, but you did not indicate how you made your cut lines. Do you simply draw a geometric shape around your image as needed? Thanks.


    Reply 3 years ago


    So... I am sure you figured this out but for the future generations. The cut line normally is denoted by a red line and the engrave/burn is denoted by black.

    Just make a circle around the item or shape with no color inside and a 255 R 0 G 0 B values for RGB.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Noice job brother! You got my vote!!!