84: Color Fill

The blank barrel plaque.
The blank barrel plaque.

Recently, a potential client handed me a nice thick piece of finished hardwood and asked me to see how it looked when laser engraved. The goal is to create a higher quality look than the simple ink stamp he had used for these barrel-shaped plaques previously.

I prepared some engraving tests on the back surface with several power and speed settings to determine how much power the wood needed to get past the stain. As it turned out, no matter how much power I pushed at it, the deep stained grain made the logo and company name illegible. It was a perfect opportunity to try out some color fill paint that Jennifer and I have had for a short while but hadn’t used yet.

The initial test engravings were not visible enough against the strong contrast of the wood grain.
The initial test engravings were not visible enough against the strong contrast of the wood grain.
Pro Color Fill paint that doesn't stick to transfer tape. Whew!
Pro Color Fill paint that doesn’t stick to transfer tape. Whew!

I previously used some acrylic paint to fill in an engraved picture frame, but the way the acrylic paint attached itself to the transfer tape made pulling the tape away into a meticulous, time consuming affair. We even needed to touch some areas up after removing the tape because the paint had come with it! Thankfully, this new color fill paint was made specifically to work in tandem with laser engraving. While it’s primarily made to be used to fill engravings on acrylic, my material was a grainy wood. Because I wanted to avoid paint sticking inside that grain, I put down transfer tape before engraving.

I used transfer tape to keep the paint in the engraving and off the wood surface.
I used transfer tape to keep the paint in the engraving and off the wood surface.

 

I ran two tests, one for a “titanium white” color fill and one with standard black. While the white was immediately and clearly visible, that also meant that some tiny bits of paint that got into the grain underneath the transfer tape were also very noticeable. I could probably prevent that by putting down a clear coat first, but I’d have to make sure to get a clear fill material that wouldn’t adhere to the transfer tape like the acrylic paint used on the aforementioned frame.

The white paint bled a little into the grain.
The white paint bled a little into the grain.

The black test is a little harder to read on the already dark wood, but any leaks into the grain were also undetectable and the black filled engraving more closely matched the client’s previous ink stamp design.

The front engraving, all ready to be filled!
The front engraving, all ready to be filled!
A close-up of the foxy logo.
A close-up of the foxy logo.
A front shot; the lower half would feature an engraved brass plate with a name on it.
A front shot; the lower half would feature an engraved brass plate with a name on it.

2 thoughts on “84: Color Fill”

  1. I can’t believe you have posted this when I have just bought some rubnbuff in gold and copper to try. I am so glad that you do all the hard work I hadn’t thought about it getting into the surrounding grain. I am so pleased that I subscribed to your blog.

    1. Thank you! You might also want to check out some of the other projects we’ve done with Rub n’ Buff specifically. Not all of them may be tagged, but a few examples are at the following tag page: http://52lasers.com/tag/rub-n-buff/

      I’ve had some issues with Rub n’ Buff peeling up with the transfer tape, but not nearly as badly as with acrylic paint. I’m glad this “Pro Color Fill” product doesn’t seem to adhere to the tape at all, because it has made filling engravings much easier when the surface layer is porous. Have fun with your rubbing and buffing! 🙂

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