Laser-Etching Photos On To Eggs

CNC machines are every maker’s dream. Capable of churning out accurate parts from CAD designs with a minimum of manual labor, they’re a great tool to have in the workshop. Alternatively, you can use them for more entertaining pursuits. [Leo]’s project is one of the latter – etching greyscale photos on to eggs.

The first thing you’ll need is an egg-compatible CNC machine. The Eggbot is a popular option, else a fourth-axis on an existing machine can also do the job as in [Leo]’s case. Coupling the egg is a delicate task, for which some rubber paper rollers are salvaged from an old printer and put to work. Then, a laser needs to be fitted to the CNC head, and the egg depth mapped with a probe to ensure the entire etching is in focus. Then it’s simply a matter of loading up an image, and turning the greyscale data into the relevant G-code to burn it onto the egg.

Using eggs coated in black ink, the results [Leo] achieves are impressive. The eggs would make an amusing Easter gift, or serve as a great cheap way to teach students about CNC techniques. Obviously, eye protection is a must, and be sure to mount your laser securely to avoid any unintentional exposures. Video after the break.

15 thoughts on “Laser-Etching Photos On To Eggs

  1. Friendly reminder that blue lasers are incredibly dangerous – both because our eyes are particularly harmed by blue light, but also because visible light is much more difficult to attenuate compared to IR (which is strongly attenuated by even the thinnest sheet of cheap plexiglass.)

    These laser diodes are more than powerful enough that they are dangerous even from viewing scattered light (ie looking at the area the laser is striking.)

    Laser tubes aren’t even that expensive anymore…especially not compared to what many companies are charging idiots for the modules. You can buy an entire k40d for what some of them cost, and then use the same DIY rotating axis

    1. It’s a 5W chinese special, which means it’s probably more like a 1W unit. Most of that is lost as heat. Even if it was a true 5W unit, a 100W bulb at the same distance is going to produce a higher intensity of scattered radiation – and nobody is running around providing friendly reminders about those.

      And k40d laser tubes are *forty* watts compared to this “5w” one. They’re *more* dangerous!

      Don’t just go “uhh blue lasers will kill you instantly”, it’s important to actually do the math.

        1. So you’re gonna go blind seeing a few photons from a kilometer away? After all, it’s a CLASS FOUR LASER, so every single diffused photon is LETHAL!

          No, that’s obviously stupid. The class system is purely there to inform you of what risks you need to mitigate, it doesn’t say anything about what range those risks exist in. You still have to do that math.

    2. IR is much more dangerius because you don’t automatically close your pupil when the light hits hour eye. Other factors are environment lighting conditions, for pupil size, which can also be affected by alcohol, and pulsed lasers, like in this case. Pulsed lasers are more dangerous than lasers that are continuously on, even if they have the same power output when on.

  2. Rather pointless video since the glare keeps you from seeing what’s happening. I would have put laser safety glasses for that wavelength in front of the camera. You could always record it without the filter for a few seconds to show viewers what they’ll be missing.

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