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May 19, 2024 - 12:44:54 PM
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137 posts since 3/3/2008

I've tried doing laser cutting of mother of pearl but it doesn't work well with CO2, Fiber, or diode lasers (yes, I have 3).  I have been doing some engraving with the CO2 and doing the cutting with a Shapeoko CNC and they have been turning out ok.  Has anybody figured out how to laser cut mother of pearl or figured out a similar inlay material?  I have also had limited success with tagua nut  

 

Here are a couple of truss rod covers that I did for a friend (he's a beekeeper who just returned to banjo playing).


 

Edited by - euler357 on 05/19/2024 12:45:24

May 19, 2024 - 1:44:51 PM
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Players Union Member

rmcdow

USA

1408 posts since 11/8/2014

I've only worked with laser engraving/cutting once myself, and was not happy with the results. I've had the Alexander pantograph and another 2D pantograph that I have used for engraving, but they were not as elegant as the current engraving machines available. I have the Shaper Origin now:
shapertools.com/en-us/origin
and although it takes a bit of getting used to setting up, once it is set up it is a pleasure to use. It is a CNC assist tool that allows one to trace a vector image you load into the internal computer, then follow it on the screen to engrave the image onto your piece, scaling it as needed. The image corrects your tracing within a set of parameters.

MOP is best engraved with diamond burrs rather than end mills.  Heat makes it delaminate.

Edited by - rmcdow on 05/19/2024 13:46:33

May 19, 2024 - 4:18:32 PM

Bart Veerman

Canada

5725 posts since 1/5/2005

Never did it but your t covers look awesome!

May 19, 2024 - 5:54:28 PM

137 posts since 3/3/2008

Thanks Bart.

I've been using 2F carbide end mills in my CNC without issue with MoP. The problem is the time it takes and increased but breakage when using very small bits (0.5mm). I've tried going lower in SFM but too low seems to make it worse. The very thin kerf of the laser is very attractive.

Does the Shaper control the speed/feed or is that based on the manual movement speed of the router?

Edited by - euler357 on 05/19/2024 18:09:46

May 20, 2024 - 3:28:01 AM
Players Union Member

rmcdow

USA

1408 posts since 11/8/2014

quote:
Originally posted by euler357

Thanks Bart.

I've been using 2F carbide end mills in my CNC without issue with MoP. The problem is the time it takes and increased but breakage when using very small bits (0.5mm). I've tried going lower in SFM but too low seems to make it worse. The very thin kerf of the laser is very attractive.

Does the Shaper control the speed/feed or is that based on the manual movement speed of the router?


You manually move the Shaper along the line you see in the monitor.  The speed you move it is up to you.  The Shaper corrects the movement to keep it on the line of the image, but doesn't do anything to control how fast you move along the line in the image.  You get a good feel of how the router is cutting, and adjust how fast you move along the line accordingly.

May 21, 2024 - 4:53:09 AM

2532 posts since 2/7/2008

You’ve probably thought of this, but I wonder if a V shaped bit would work better than a flat bottom bit in the CNC.

The bit could be bigger to reduce breakage and the V shape would more closely mimic hand engraving. Varying depth of cut could create variability in the width of the line.

May 21, 2024 - 5:03:55 AM

137 posts since 3/3/2008

Yes, I have done v-engrave. The edges of them are then beveled which is a problem when you level the inlays in a radiused fretboard - they get narrower in the places that are sanded more.

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