I bet you never thought you’d ever see a CNC laser engraved Yoda onto a sacrificial CNC router board but that’s how we roll here at CNCROi.com!
Watch the video to see it being made and I’ll go in far more detail below.
I’ve cut A LOT of stuff on our ShopBot Desktop through the years and this is only the second sacrificial board I’ve ever replace on it, suffice it to say, this was wickedly overdue so instead of throwing it out like I did with the last sacrificial board, this one became a Yoda sign saying “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Pretty much our motto here!
This 1 inch thick of MDF board measures 50 x 60 cm and as you can see, it’s got a lot of texture from years of use. This board has also traveled extensively, from Canada to America to Australia and all the way back! Taking a closer look, you can see how cool a texture all those years of use have transformed a flat and dull board into something interesting.
Generally I do material testing here but I really didn’t want to mark the surface of this board AT ALL so, thanks to our Austrian industrial CNC laser, a Trotec Speedy 400 flexx’s precision, I did the first pass lightly and then went full till exactly where the first engraving lines were. If our machine was any other, this would simply not be possible!
The finished results of the first pass were rather light, this is our “traditional” MDF engraving settings but as you can see, years of travel and use have made the MDF a lot denser, it’s got wood chips, glue and who knows what else filling-up the surface along with a few shards of metal from broken bits. It needed another CNC laser pass!
What makes working at CNCROi.com so much fun is that we have the latest and greatest machinery that allows us to produce awesome results for our clients across a variety of materials for endless applications. Throw in years of experience and you end-up with a Yoda on a sacrificial CNC router board!
The challenge here was the surface, it had evolved greatly since it was first put on our ShopBot Desktop but even further to that, it was incredibly uneven.
Generally, this spells death for a project because the focus of the laser goes “out” on both high and low points relative to the focal point. Luckily, we have three things in our favor to make this project come out great.
Number one, we are using MDF, about the easiest material to work with, it’s incredibly consistent (even after extensive wear and travels).
If this was stainless steel or just about any material, you would have seen a very different result.
Second is the operator, I know what I’m doing to produce the optimal results on material such as this, this is a “fun” project but it can quickly turn ugly if you don’t know what you are doing.
MDF is basically glue with a bit of wood thrown-in, that’s why it’s so consistent but also produces lots of vapor and smoke that settle just about everywhere you don’t want them to.
Third is our equipment. CNCROi.com purchase the best in class CNC laser, we then threw-in a powerful extraction and gas kit so that any smoke or debris is quickly swept away BEFORE it has time to settle.
You will see some sticky settling in the close-up pictures below but this is nothing compared to what it would be without these extra premium features. Masking this project was impossible.
I’d say the fourth (bonus round!) would be passion… the CNCROi.com does lots of good paying repetitive projects but unlike most machines, ours gets to do fun stuff too.
I’m sure the machine doesn’t care but I sure do, why? Well, there is always a new challenge with new things and lessons to be learned that can be directly applied towards our client projects.
After the project was done CNC laser engraving, it still, even with our powerful extraction and gas kit, had a layer of soot over it!
MDF is evil stuff but we got the worst of it so this is quickly removed using compressed air.
The results are night and day. This project came out fantastic! The contrast is consistent and will only get better with time.
I could put a protective acrylic coating over it for preservation which would up the contrast even more but I like to keep this as/is in the CNCROi.com shop.
Let’s take a look at some closer-up shots shall we?
As you can see, still a bit of soot inside and on the edges.
This will dry out and fall of over time.
I think the texture of the old CNC router board are perfect, this really looks great especially from a distance. If you are wondering where that paint streak along the bottom comes from, give this video a look. Yep, our CNC Router can also be used as a musical instrument!
Listening to our CNC laser, I’m sure we could do the same with it across a variety of materials based on the sound of cutting through them whereas the CNC router makes music based on the movement of the gantry and head.
Let’s take a step back and think of some practical applications for something like this beyond signage. This is a great case study for recycling material to generate additional ROI for your business.
Each and every business throws out A LOT of actually quite useful stuff… from manufacturing widgets that don’t meet spec to millworking scraps of all kinds.
Instead of chucking them out, send them to us and let us transform your trash into something you can send to your clients to try to generate more sales! The best ROI you can get is on stuff of zero value to YOU which become valuable to OTHERS.
Looking for an innovative, passionate and awesome company for your CNC engraving, cutting and design/production needs? You’ve found CNCROi.com! Yep, we’ve used Yoda to celebrate our 704th video on YouTube!