The new HP desktop seems to be working fine, although it has to stop and think sometimes. Amazing that with such great increases in computing and graphics power, the user experience is still pretty much what it was 20 years ago.
Yesterday I burned some more flooring samples. I had to recreate (again) the artwork, since previous versions are stuck on my dead laptop – or the two host machines I used back in California for earlier tests (if owners havent deleted em yet.) The turtle logo is pretty easy now as I have some good starting art and know the basics of converting bitmap to outline objects in Corel Draw. I havent tried that EngraveLab yet. The manufacturer’s web site touts “Free 1 Hour training for ALL new customers”, but when you go to sign up, it says “not available in conjunction with promotional package pricing”. They did say on Monday they would send me a PIN to take the training, but have yet to send it. Grrr. Another learning cliff to scale.
Anyway, as I was wandering thru Home Depot on an unrelated excursion, I passed the MinWax stain display and decided to pick up some things to test. They have some pens that hold stain – expensive for amount, but ease of application may count here. I bought an ebony and a red mahogany used them on the earlier floor samples with url. They worked pretty well. The text was too small to get the pen into but running it across the surface got enough into the etched portion, and the rest wiped off very easily. I think the black ebony stands out a bit better. Not sure about the red on bamboo.
I also picked up a couple small cans of the regular Minwax stain. I got a regular stain/sealer in ebony and a PolyShades in Red Mahogany. I picked up some small artist brushes – not much selection at Home Depot! These worked pretty well, although some still got on the top surface. This time it didnt wipe off as easily, but a little mineral spirits on a cloth and it looks pretty clean. The polyshades should dry with a satin finish. Alas it seems I got some dust in it from somewhere – probably hay dust, given the four bales of alfalfa sitting less than 10 feet away. I gotta build a real workshop – and a horse shelter.
Next up I scanned the Wisteria Lane logo from a brochure they gave me. Thats the place from which I purchased my bamboo floor. They gave me a bunch of samples of different types of wood. This time Corel was not so forgiving with its outline creation. It came out ok but its got the jaggies – not pixel aliasing, but weird bumpy curves. I burned it and the turtle into a sample of solid darker wood, and then used the red mahogany polyshade stain on it. Both of them came out looking pretty good – however I would rather have line art for starting point with the logo, especially if we want to make it any bigger.
Then I scanned some artwork from a flyer from the Boo Boo Zoo (aka East Maui Animal Rescue). It converted pretty well with Corel, except it had a lot of white islands making up details. The laser uses gray scale to determine power/cutting depth. Earlier experiments showed that sometimes ‘white’ is not the same as Dont Etch. So I spent a bit of time removing the white objects. I burned the image into a piece of white pine we had lying around. It used to be a cutting board until my wife put it through the dish washer. Do not put wood things in dishwasher – i keep telling her. Now she has an example of why. The result looks pretty good, even before I try to remove the scorch marks.
Last up is a test with the turtle on some of that cutting board pine. I had to use two pieces of the board as the turtle is about 5 inches tall. The upper piece was cleaned with a wet cloth and still shows some scorch/resin stains. Dennis took some light sand paper to the lower piece and it removed all the marks very nicely.
Thats about it for this round. I only have another two days on island so I wont get around to finishing off the stairs this trip. I need to figure out the alignment on those too. The wood is already cut so I’d rather not make mistakes. I also need to get some magnets so I can fool the door interlocks to operate the laser with larger pieces sticking out the front.