Laser a tumbler without a rotary/4th axis

I’m going on a fishing trip to Baja, Mexico. Don’t want to get those cold beers mixed up, so I made personalized beer bottle holders for my fishing buddies to commemorate the trip. I used the Brumate Hopsulator Bott’l - the only brand of stainless steel koozie I could find that fits beer bottles.

I used a JTECH 7W laser and Lightburn on my Shapeoko. Since Shapeoko doesn’t support a rotary/4th axis, I’ve always avoided etching cylindrical objects, but then it dawned on me that I can still do it if I keep the words and graphics fairly narrow and orient them vertically, so as not to defocus the laser too much on the curves. The rows of fish and words are 1/2" wide. The name is 5/8" wide. I looked for a free, “fun” font and settled on “Bubble Rainbow”. I sacrificed a bottle cooler to figure out optimum settings to etch the powder coat. Settings were:

  • 50 ipm
  • 100% power
  • .002" line interval
  • Crosshatch enabled (makes one pass, then another pass perpendicular to the first).

I clean up the residue with ZEP citrus-based cleaner. I’m sure Simple Green would work good too. If any residue remains after the ZEP, some Soft Scrub on a Q-tip cleans it up.

Not as fast as a CO2 laser by a longshot, but it gets the job done and I’m super happy with the result.

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