Laser engraving antler knives is fun, each one is unique and requires a custom Mickey-Mouse set-up to engrave them flat which is always an interesting task.
If you aren’t familiar with CNC lasers, they are basically an over-priced and over-engineered magnifying glass that uses gas instead of the Sun to burn stuff.
CNC lasers as a result need things to be FLAT to properly engrave as any variance in height between the lens and the material below will produce a different result.
For most of our projects at CNCROi.com, that’s no problem because the material is man-made and flat.
When it comes to natural substances though, nature doesn’t make things identical and optimized for our industrial wide-format laser branding, as a result, we need to be very creative regarding holding things into position long enough to do a good job engraving them.
Engraving antler, being a natural product, produces different results and the position of the mostly flat area is ever-changing.
Not a problem for CNCROi.com, we’ve done lots of custom stuff through the years and it’s a nice change to have something with so much room for error to keep our mental skills as top-notch as our equipment!
The little red spec represents the approximate center where the engraving will be made, that’s why you see it in these engraving antler photos.
Of course, none of these antlers are symmetrical so this is all straight eye work, from the focusing to the approximate central position that we’ll engrave the dear head onto the antler.
These are all before and after photos, and if you look “behind” the piece of real antler, the knife is always in a different position.
We want the deer being engraved into the antler to be facing as “up” as possible, just for esthetic reasons for when somebody holds this knife or displays it.
Suffice it to say, it takes a lot longer to set things up for the antler engraving than doing the actual engraving.
It’s a massive contrast to the military and aerospace work we do for customers across North America.
Sanding antler is also an “eye” thing, as going too deep ends-up revealing the veins that the deer had that were used to build-up the antler on their head.
That’s what those little round specs you see on these antlers are, the deeper you go, the more of them show-up!
What’s really nice about antler is that they naturally fall off the animal after they are done their reproductive cycle, as a result, these can be found in forests quite easily if you know where to look and are totally recyclable.
These can also be harvested without the deer (in this case) being affected in any way as they’ve pretty much thrown them away after they are done with their ornaments.
As for consistency, I’d say that antler engraving is pretty close to the same CNC laser setting wise as a very dense piece of wood, although the smell is more like a mix of burning ants with leather.
Care must also be taken when sanding these as you can actually “burn” them if you aren’t careful.
Engraving antler is a good testing ground for CNCROi.com as every possible variable established for one is completely different for the next.
There is nothing consistent with engraving antler, but by the same token, it’s also a very forgiving substance to work with.
CNCROi.com can modify its power settings so if you wanted a deeper engraving into the antler, it’s possible, but keep in mind that deeper may also expose veins that run through the antler which, by their very nature, are totally unpredictable.
As a result, we’ve found just surface engraving to be more than good for this application.
There are a lot of possibilities when it comes to engraving antler, CNCROi.com can engrave pretty much any design or text or image combination you wish onto antler.
Things also don’t need to be completely flat, although it is preferable and yes, we have a full woodworking shop here so we can sand things down and do additional work as you need.
These make for fantastic gifts, they are unique and you really don’t see many of these lying around just about anywhere unless you are a hunter, then you have a house stock full of antlers.
Engraving antler can also be done on the edge, we have a bandsaw and can work this as much as you require and even integrate it into custom furniture and designs.
What CNCROi.com provides you are creative capabilities as infinite as your budget allows.
If you are hunter, we can also engrave the leather and cut it out, so there are endless applications for natural products that we can fashion for you.
Need something custom? Contact CNCROi.com!