Best Way To Engrave Rubber With A Diode Laser?

Hello All,

I’m brand new to this forum so please excuse me if I posted this question on the wrong board.

So I have a project where I’m engraving on a rubber surface. The engraving outline looks fine but the inside of the letters on the engraving look very uneven and you can see the lines where the laser ran across. I have included a picture to show you what the inside of one of the letters looks like.

My question is, is there any way to engrave on rubber with a diode last (XTool D1 Pro 20W) and have a smooth clean surface where it engraves? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

My settings in LightBurn were the following:

Max Power: 30%
Min Power 25%
DPI: 500
MPM: 2000

If there’s anything else you need to ask me please let me know. I’m very new at this so I may not have included enough information :joy:.


I’ve recently lasered stamps with two different materials on my 40w diode. This linoleum and this laserable rubber. I found the laserable rubber to be more flexible and ‘stampable’ than the linoleum. It’s also more stinky and creates a powdery dust.

What kind of rubber have you lasered? It looks like packing foam!

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:joy: that’s what it looked like after I engraved it. It’s just the top rubber part of a tumbler. Something like the picture I’m including below. I was going for a smooth clean look and got that. Mind you I did zoom in on that a bit to show what it looks like.

IMG_5286

I’m curious to see how it turned out (not up close)!

You can perform an interval test if you have enough material to test with. Changing the DPI changes the line interval.

Hello JessN,

I am taking a couple more stabs at it and when I finish I will send you a picture (More than likely in the morning). Im almost embarrassed to send what that looked like fully as it looked horrible. I feel like Im getting closer but Im not quite their yet.

Can I ask you a question, is a completely smooth surface like the one I included in the image below even possible with a diode laser or will I always get some type of lines? I seem to be very close (taking your advice did help some) but Im not quite there.

I feel like this may not be completely possible with a laser (but I could be wrong). If its not possible with a diode laser, what would achieve this result?

Thanks so much for your help so far.

I would continue experimenting, try different speeds and power. Find a large piece of similar rubber you can experiment on to find your perfect settings. I’m no expert on rubber and its properties. The logo in your photograph could be lasered or it could be made from a mold. Next time I’m near a co2 laser I will bring some rubber to experiment on myself. This image from this website looks promising:

No one likes to share their ugly work, but it may help someone avoid making the same mistakes you did. Think of it as ‘experience points gained’. My big stamp for example…I forgot to mirror the design! Derp! :face_with_peeking_eye:

Hi.

Don’t be, the (partial) failures are often more telling and more eductional than successes.

Short answer: no, it’s not possible to have a mirror smooth surface with any laser on a material like rubber.
That’s because the “tool tip” for a lack of a better word isn’t flat, and because some of the material is evaporated, some is melted, some even foams if the conditions are correct.

There are workarounds for smoother surfaces on man made materials regardless of the material removal method though, but those take a lot of experimenting.
And the result probably still won’t look exactly like the molded (/pressure stamped?) logo You posted as an example of what You’re after.
The added nuisance with all rubbers and plastics is that You can never be certain that the material remains exactly the same between the batches, so the behaviour of the material may change quite a bit.

The easiest and most commonly used is to melt or otherwise manipulate larger areas at once, etiher with a chemical, hot air gun, or an open flame.
Traditionally that has been accomplihed with the chemical that’s the said materials solvent, or a regular hot air gun with a smallest possible nozzle, and nowadays with a cheapo SMD soldering station.

In theory, the same “wide brush” effect can be accomplished with de-focused laser beam, but as a fellow xTool D1 Pro owner, I’d be willing to bet that on our machines it will be impossible to alter the focus between the layers as accurately as required for fine detail work as-is.
Even when everything is adjusted perfectly, here’s just too much play in the gantry and the manual focus mechanism for them to keep the position exactly.
On machines with Z-axis life is obviously much easier.

The lasermarked surface of plastic or rubber won’t behave exactly the same way that a virgin one does though, so more experimentation is required.

+100 to that.
Sharing the inevitable mistakes is IMO/IME often far more valuable to the community than the successes are.

:grinning: , I think we’ve all been there at one point or another.
At least those of us that have made stamps, moulds, etc.

Regards,
Sam

:finland:

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