6 Replies Latest reply on Oct 20, 2017 5:02 PM by Lee Weston

    Etch an image?

    Galin McMahon

      Hello!  New SolidWorks user here.  Am using to create 2D drawings to cut sheets of metal with laser.  We mostly do through-cuts but we've started doing more art projects that require additional methods.


      I'm tasked with doing a drawing that the client would like a good portion of the surface to be etched.  I've seen a lot of Q&As and tutorials about etching lines (particularly for text) but haven't been able to find anything for etching an actual image.  I would think that it would make more sense to do a series of very narrow lines so that there is visible texture.  So that's really a 2 part question: How would you set the lines to only scratch the surface and how would you create multiple lines inside a shape?  For example, consider a yin-yang where the white is untouched and the black is represented by these etched lines.


      I'll follow up but thanks in advance.

        • Re: Etch an image?
          Chris Dordoni

          The control of the surface etching vs cut through can be done by layers or colors, or even a bitmap. This really depends on your laser system and cam software.


          Its possible to use SolidWorks sketching or drawing to fill areas with a hatch pattern, but for something complex, with many different shades or hatch patterns, another application might be better suited.


          Conversion of complex images/bitmaps to vector might be another area to look at alternative software. SolidWorks has ImageTrace, or you can trace manually and this might work fine for something relatively simple.

          • Re: Etch an image?
            Bjorn Hulman

            When I worked for a company that laser etched control panels on stainless, we exported the DXF of the sheetmetal lay-flat, opened it in coreldraw (other illustration software will work) and did the artwork in there. Layers were used to identify what was an etching or a cut. The etching we did then required an ink to be layed on the surface, the laser would then fuse the ink to the stainless. Ink not affected by the laser would wipe off.

            • Re: Etch an image?
              Lee Weston

              The easiest way to do this is the old fashioned way using a high resolution image which is overlaid with a half tone. At Precision Micro we subcontract this type of tooling to Photo-Data - we no longer have a camera  in-house, who plot the tooling before we carry out the etching process