I want to make my own custom paper dies for my mill, the paper is etched or engraved not cut through. What kind laser engraver is used?
Not sure if you’re asking for brand names or more specifics.
I use a laser cutter at my local community college’s Fab Lab to etch mine. Theirs is an Epilog Mini (50 watts, I think) and has a 12" x 24" bed.
(Btw, ‘Fab’ here refers to fabrication.)
There are a lot of different kinds of laser cutters out there, so be sure you are getting one that will do what you want as well as one you are comfortable using.
A lot of the less expensive ones require a lot of geekery to get working, from coding skills to using a (literal) bucket of water to cool them.
My recommendation would be to first see if there’s a Fab Lab in your area where you can pay a fee to use their equipment (not only laser cutters, but 3-D printers, CNC routers, etc.).
You might also want to see if you have a community college in your area that has what you’d like to use. For instance, my local one not only offers classes in Digital Fabrication (which includes laser cutters) which I love, but also is now offering an Open Lab through their extension program. Anyone can sign up for that, as far as I’m aware.
It all depends on where you live, of course.
No matter what your solution, it does take a lot of experimentation and trial and error to get good results. Paper stock, laser power, etc., all factor in, and you’ll still need a bit of geekery when learning how to create your image files so your laser cutter will know what to do.
If you only need a few paper dies made, you can always go through the Etsy shops that offer custom work.
Hope this helps you. Sorry I couldn’t give you a list of brand names.
There are reasonably priced scrapbooking cutters that work with software via your personal computer. Two brands are Silhouette and Cricut (not sure of spelling). They allow you to cut paper, card stock and vinyl. You can purchase for reuse and download their images or create your own. I’m sure I’ve seen Facebook groups devoted to these systems as well as using patterns in the rolling mill.
Laser cutters are what are used to etch paper. You can cut or etch or both — it all depends on the power, speed, and frequency settings, which you send to the laser cutters via software.
With the Epilog mini that I’m familiar with, you can control the various settings with color in your vector program. (I use Adobe Illustrator, but Corel Draw also works. I would assume the free Inkscape does, too, but I don’t know for sure.)
It takes some testing and adjusting, but once you get the settings just right — you can get beautiful textures.
If I can, I’ll upload a close-up image of one I have done.
Thanks for the advice…I am new to Ganoksin and have a hard time figuring out where to even find replies to questions. I have a feeling the Epilog mini is very pricey. I think
I will, for the time being, hire someone to make dies for me.
Art clay world USA makes custom made Low Relief Texture Plates, which is what we call paper dies for rolling mills. You can go to our website and check out our designs. Email me at email@example.com:firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in having your own designs made.
this topic is sooo interesting! thank you all!
Epilog Mini Laser in action…amazing! cutting out a very delicate, lacy design!
so, curious…are these used in rolling mills to texture metal?
You can use them in rolling mills to impress texture on metal, or, in metal clay, to impart a light pattern on your clay prior to firing.
The Epilogs tend to be for companies, etc., but my community college lucked into one a couple of years back. Some maker spaces (where you can rent time on them) are around, there are even a few maker spaces in libraries (alas, not in my area).
However, when I was first reseaching how to use a laser cutter, I noticed a number of printers (the traditional ink on paper kind) now have them, too. They use them for paper cutouts and such for wedding invitations and things like that. So you might want to check in your area.
I think unless you really want to get into it, paying someone else to create your custom images / patterns is way more cost effective. It would help if you familiarized yourself with the best approach to creating images for optimal results. I’m guessing most services would have some guidelines available.
Also, some images and patterns work just as well as cutouts rather than etched, so the previously mentioned Silhouette Cameo really shines there. I have one and it is amazing and versatile. Not only do I use it for cutouts for my rolling mill, I can also use it to cut out vinyl for etching (the chemical kind).
I can go on and on there — paper vs. acetate vs. vinyl, all give a different look in a rolling mill — but I won’t. I’ve procrastinated too long as it is!
I still mean to add some pics, but I’ve been busy with a class project. It’s due tomorrow, so maybe soon after that.
You can, definitely. For less delicate designs, a Silhouette Cameo is much much cheaper and does an excellent job (imo, anyway).
My guess is that the paper lace shown is to paste onto some kind of invitation.
Laser cutters really are my favorite tool.