Image etching is used for transforming your images and preparing them for laser cutting or engraving with a laser toolhead mounted on ZMorph multitool 3D printer.
Start by preparing a picture you would like to use and for example engrave on a plywood. It can be saved either in the .jpg, .bmp or .png format. Images themselves can be black and white or full color.
In Voxelizer software start by changing your workflow to Image etching. Now, you can drag and drop your image or click File > Import > Image.
The settings in this workflow are divided into three toolbars: Image transformations, Generate path and Laser tool. Let’s go through every one of them.
Image scale - Use the slider to scale the image up or down, size of the image is shown in the upper right corner of your screen
Image rotation z - Rotate the image.
Saturation r - Saturation of red color.
Saturation g - Saturation of green color.
Saturation b - Saturation of blue color.
Negative - Create a negative photo from the imported picture.
Also you can move the image freely around the table, using your mouse.
This toolbar is used to determine the shape of lines that will resemble the picture that you’ve uploaded. Those can be generated using one of the following algorithms:
Intensity – where each pixel in the picture will be represented as straight lines. The number of lines is determined by “lines per pixel” parameter, and pixel size is determined by second setting.
Edges - this algorithm finds edges in the picture and engraves only them. Parameters possible to change in this algorithm will determine how many edges the software finds.
Hatching - this algorithm engraves only the “infill” of the picture. Represents the contrast between different areas of the picture.
Hatching + edges - engraves both edges of the picture and its “infill”.
Please note that every picture is different and its color palette differs, so it’s not possible to give a straight answer about which setting is the best for a particular picture. Experiment on your own with different algorithms and settings. Start with “intensity” since it’s the easiest one and most intuitive to use.
Set work base Z - Height of the toolhead on which laser engraving should start. Start with setting it around 1 mm over the material you want to engrave.
Set travel speed - Movement speed between engraving.
Set work speed - Movement speed during laser engraving.
Set cooling time - Time between the engraving is finished and the extruder starts its travel move. It allows the laser to cool down a bit.
Repeat count - The number of repetitions until the image is finally engraved.
Drop length - How much the toolhead should be lowered after every repetition.
ARM/DISARM - When your machine is connected to the computer, this option allows arming and disarming the mounted laser toolhead (it’s indicated with a red diode on top).
Go to work Z – It moves the toolhead to a previously set working height allowing you to attach the material and check whether the toolhead will collide with it, it works only when your machine is connected to your PC
After adjusting all the setting, click Generate button in the bottom left corner of the screen and check the generated G-code. If it doesn’t look good, then adjust the settings and try again.
When you’re finished with adjusting the settings, just save the G-code file by clicking File > Export GCODE, and start engraving.
When working with a laser toolhead, always remember to follow the recommended safety precautions.