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Thread: laser cutting mother of pearl shell

  1. #1

    laser cutting mother of pearl shell

    Hi all

    Has anyone found a way of cutting mother of pearl shell? I have tried the laminate stuff, and it is easier, but am I right in thinking that the real shell is pretty much impossible to cut (or raster all the way through) without it turning brittle and flaky? In fact completely falling apart really. I have posted this on another thread, and thank you for the responses some of you guys have given, but thought I would give this its own thread in the hope of attracting more assistance.

    I am beginning to think that this material just can't be done - after all the laser has to be hot to do the cutting/rastering, and it seems that that sort of temperature causes the material at all close to the cut to disintegrate. Any cooler and the stuff just isn't affected by the laser.

    Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Colorado Springs
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    166
    What wattage machine? What settings have you tried? You say "Raster all the way thru". Aren't you vector cutting? I can cut typing paper without a burned edge, by running the PPI down real low.
    Give us a little more info to go on and maybe someone can help. Unfortunately I have never had any mother of pearl to experiment on.

    Bob

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Sammamish, WA
    Posts
    7,283

    laser cutting mother of pearl shell

    I have never tried it and don't have any to try, but have seen it done. Perhaps transfer tape on both sides and misted with water plus lower frequency as Bob suggested would be worth a try. Another option is less power, 2-3 passes



    Sammamish, WA

    Epilog Legend 24TT 45W, had a sign business for 17 years, now just doing laser work on the side.

    "One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop." G. Weilacher

    "The handyman's secret weapon - Duct Tape" R. Green

  4. #4
    Yes - I forgot to mention... 30 watts. Rastering all the way thru is about the process as suggested on other thread of rather than vectoring out the shape required (for m-o-pearl inlaying, as in guitar machinehead), rastering away the stuff you don't need as in rubber stamp making. Ideally you don't raster right through it, but leave a very thin layer holding the whole image together (you can see how this would be good for complicated designs being inlayed).
    The settings I've tried have not included one with really low PPI (you might wonder why - well I'm new to this and have very little material to test on) - so thank you Bob.
    Transfer tape and many passes - tried that, though not with water. Each pass seemed to increasingly disintegrate the piece as a whole so by the time I had cut enough of the way through, lo & behold the piece had fallen to bits. But thanks too Joe!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Sammamish, WA
    Posts
    7,283

    laser cutting mother of pearl shell

    Here's an interesing article, sounds like even rastoring is a pain.

    http://www.liv.ac.uk/researchintelli...catingart.html



    Sammamish, WA

    Epilog Legend 24TT 45W, had a sign business for 17 years, now just doing laser work on the side.

    "One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop." G. Weilacher

    "The handyman's secret weapon - Duct Tape" R. Green

  6. #6

    Smile laser cutting mother of pearl shell

    It certainly is a very interesting page! It shows it can be done - and they are only about 4 hours drive from me! I might just have to contact them....

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