For today’s project we were working on a tile that’s going to be used as a gift to a church. The tile will be placed in front of a tree donated as a gift. The tile used is a 12 inch by 12 inch black marble tile.
Once we receive an order that involves a picture, the first step is to process the photo for engraving. Engraving mostly plays off of lines and shadows in the picture to produce a clear etching. We brighten the photograph and darken the lines around the eyebrows, eyes, nose , mouth , chin and ears. If there’s some sort of accessory in the photo, like a tie in this case, we darken that up a little bit too.
Once the picture is cleaned up in Photoimpact, we save it as a bitmap gray-scale file and use a program called Photograv to process the image for engraving. Once the image is processed it looks like a negative. Each black dot represents a coordinate that the laser is going to hit and the intensity it’s going to hit it with. After the initial processing we go back into Photogravs settings and fine tune it a bit.
After this, the image is pretty much ready to go. We import it into Corel Draw x5 and do any other editing that is necessary… add vector art, text , etc… In this case we added the simple text “In Loving Memory of Donald Guillory”
After the image is sent to the laser, we engrave the marble at 15% speed and 100% power. At this speed the engravings take a litle longer but produce a very bright white engraved image. This particular tile took about 30 minutes.
When black marble or granite tiles are finished engraving they involve a post process. The customer will be placing this tile outside exposing it to the harsh conditions of the outdoors. We will use 3 coats of a tile impregnator that gets into the cracks of the engraving and acts as a sealer for the etching. After we let this dry over night we use a mixture of 1/3 impregnator and 2/3rds white printers ink to brighten up and bring out the image. Producing wonderful final results.