LASER Cutting Enamel – the Cuts

Thompson Enamel supplies 169 non-leaded enamels for metalsmiths and enamelists. I have created samples of 167 of them and ran each of them through the laser cutter to test which colors cut and to what degree do they cut. I am working with a student from the Material Science department here at UNT to further look at the characteristics of the enamel to determine any chemicals that may be present in each of the samples and if they may be attributed to the clarity of the cut.

 

close up paper

 

 

Each enamel sample is 2in x 1in and coated on both sides with enamel. The front is the color I cut and the back is for stability and to deter chipping. I lay a line of samples across the top of the laser cutter bed and run a file across the surface. Each samples needs to be covered with wet paper in order for the laser to penetrate the surface and not refract back into itself (since glass is glossy and reflective).

Currently I am organizing them by 4 categories (1-Cuts Perfect, 2-Cuts Well, 3-Cuts Unsuccessful, 4-Does Not Cut) as well as collaborating with the student from the Materials Science department for a more in depth scientific look at the enamel.

 

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