I have been researching the practice of laser cutting enamel. Enamel is finely powdered glass that is sifted onto the surface of clean copper, fine silver, gold or mild steel and fused in a kiln at close to 1400degrees Fahrenheit. During that process the glass becomes a liquid and bonds onto the base metal. The start of this process can be attributed to Arthur Hash, a metalsmith who graduated from VCU and Suny New Paltz. His blog helped me gather some information and ideas regarding starting the process of looking into the chemical compounds of Thompson Enamel (the most common and widely used enamel for metalsmiths).
Starting with a massive sheet of 18gauge copper (1mm thick) 3ft x 2ft. I cut it down into 1in wide strips, which then was cut down further into 1in x 2in pieces. Each one will have a hole drilled into the top center in order to hand them inside a cabinet. Each copper piece will be coated in a different color of enamel and then a single line will be cut on the laser cutter. This allows me to see exactly which colors cut well, and which tend to chip. From there I can create a master list of which Thompson Enamel cut well. This list will become available to all metalsmiths who are members of the Society of North American Goldsmiths.
Below I have several images. First is an image of my piece which has been laser cut, followed by the samples, and the enamels I will be using.