Introduction: Laser Engraving a Rolling Pin
One of my friends bakes the most amazing sugar cookies. She also happens to love giraffes, so I thought – what better way to get more cookies out of her than to engrave some giraffes on a rolling pin! You too can encourage baked goods from your friends with custom rolling pins. Using a laser with a rotary attachment isn’t hard, and these step-by-step instructions will walk you through the process.
Step 1: Video
Step 2: Materials
- Wooden rolling pin - ours is 10” long and 2.39” in diameter
- Laser with rotary attachment - we used a Trotec Speedy 300, 120 watt with rollers on the rotary
- Application tape or masking tape
Step 3: Set Up Your Graphics
When creating your graphics, you want the finished file to be as wide as the circumference of your rolling pin and as tall as your rolling pin barrel.
As a quick geometry refresher – the diameter is how wide the barrel of the rolling pin is if you measured from the 2 widest outside points across the barrel. The circumference is the length if you wrapped a tape measure around the outside of the barrel. You can easily find the circumference if you take the diameter measurement and multiply it by 3.14.
I found some clip art of a giraffe silhouette and created a repeating pattern across the page. Since the dough you are rolling may not always be the same size and shape of the rolling pin, I made sure that the giraffes are positioned differently across the pattern. Keep in mind when you are choosing art for the impression that you want an image with a lot of room for dough to be pressed into the design. Thick outlines or silhouettes work best. Also remember that if you are using text, the image needs to be reversed so that the text looks backwards. This ensures that the text is reading the correct way when it is embossed in the dough.
Step 4: Set Up Your Laser
As mentioned, I am using a Trotec Speedy 300 laser engraver for this project, so the instructions will be for this laser. If you are using a different brand laser, please refer to the rotary instructions for that laser for set-up.
Make sure that the laser is turned off and the bed is dropped all the way down, then place the rotary device inside the bed and plug it in. The rotary snaps around the ruler bars at the top of the bed with the motor housing on the right side of the machine. Since the rolling pin is cylindrical, I have chosen to use the roller option instead of the cones. Also, I can leave the handles on the rolling pin with this option. Other rotaries may require that the handles be removed from the rolling pin before setting it in the rotary.
Step 5: Prep the Rolling Pin
I am using a 120 watt laser to make sure that I get really deep engraving with one pass. With the high power, I want to make sure that the un-lasered parts of the barrel remain clean of soot and scorching. The easiest way to do this is by masking the entire rolling pin. You can use application tape, which is like a large roll of making tape, or masking or painters tape. Make sure that the tape is as even and bubble-free as possible.
Step 6: Laser!
Now, take your graphics and send it over to the laser. With Trotec’s JobControl® software, we simply tell it that we are using a rotary and enter in the diameter and height. It automatically calculates the circumference and rotates the image. Now tell it what materials you are using and send it over to the laser.
There is a great 5 part series on how to use a Trotec rotary attachment on this site that goes into detail on getting the best results.
Trotec Speedy 300, 120 watt with rotary
Wood – Oak – Deep Engraving – Power 100%, Speed – 15, Hz – 500
Set the rolling pin in the rotary, focus the laser and put the starting point on the edge that you want it to start.
Now hit Play and watch the laser magic happen.
Step 7: Ta-Daa!
Once the laser has finished, remove the rotary, take off the application tape and inspect the rolling pin for smoke residue. A good scrubbing with a dish brush and some soap will make sure that all the dust in the engraving does not get in your dough. If the rolling pin is unfinished, any extra smoke residue left on the barrel can be lightly sanded off.
Now, time to enjoy some delicious giraffe imprinted cookies!