While I was eventually able to sculpt the canvas successfully, every piece of fabric is different. I also experimented with a lot of fabrics before I could make a beautiful painting. In this process, I think the most important thing is to take the time to adjust the parameters of the ATOMSTACK laser engraving machine so that it can perfectly engrave on my fabric. I failed many times and finally succeeded in finding the parameters that work for me.
I hope you can reduce the errors I have encountered, so I will describe my making process in this blog. Before laser engraving, make sure your laser engraver is properly set up and calibrated for safe operation. The material you prepared may not be suitable for laser engraving, so I suggest you prepare a little more material for testing.
1. First, you need to create or obtain the design file that you want to engrave on the canvas. This can be any pattern, text, image or artwork you like. Make sure to save the design file in a file format compatible with your laser engraver, such as SVG, DXF, BMP, etc.
2. Using white acrylic spray paint, spray an even coat over the entire canvas. Wait for it to dry completely (12-24 hours) and lay the canvas out flat, making sure it is not wrinkled or folded. You can use jigs or proper clamping to keep the canvas from moving during the engraving process. Make sure the surface of the canvas is clean and free of dust or dirt. Once the paint is completely dry, the canvas is ready to burn. Once you've selected your image, it's time to set it up. This is where the second canvas comes in handy. You need to use enough power to burn the image, but not enough to burn through the canvas. Having done this particular brand of canvas with my laser before, I know the speed and power settings I will be using so I don't need to run a test. However, you'll set yourself a grid and experiment with different settings and speeds until you get the burn you want. We all have different preferences, some like a deep burn, some like a lighter mark, the choice is yours.
3. Set your laser engraver to the proper power, speed and focus. This usually depends on the type and thickness of the canvas. Generally, thinner canvases require lower power and faster speeds, while thicker canvases may require higher power and slower speeds. I am using ATOMSTACK S30 Pro and my setting parameters are Quality 10, Speed (mm/m) 3000, S-Max 200, Needs to be blackened no, Number of passes 1, these numbers may not match your test, but each Machines will all be slightly different, and so will the canvas. You can also find parameter references for some related materials at the URL below.
4. Using the control software of your laser engraving machine, load the design file you prepared. Make sure to position the design file correctly in the desired location on the canvas.
5. In the control software, use the moving function of the engraving machine to position the laser head to the starting point on the canvas. You can use the initial position of the engraving machine to calibrate the exact position of the engraving. Like everything else in sculpting, focus is important. You start by making sure that the focus is on point. So the canvas is ready, the focus has been adjusted, and the speed/power test has been done. Time to sculpt.
6. Once everything is set up, you can start carving. Fire up the laser engraver and watch it engrave according to your design file. During this process, make sure to monitor the engraving progress so you can stop if needed.
7. Engraving may take some time depending on the size and complexity of your design, and the speed and power settings of your engraver. Wait patiently until the engraving is complete.
8. Once the engraving is complete, carefully remove the canvas and inspect your work. Make sure it does what you expect it to do. If there are any residues or imperfections, you can fix them with the proper tools. I used "canned air" to remove the ash from the canvas, then sealed it with a coat of clear acrylic spray paint.
9. Save your laser engraved canvas and find a suitable display location for it. You can use it as decoration, gift or art.
Hopefully I've taught you something, or encouraged you to try canvas (if you haven't already). Overall, using this method makes canvas sculpting fairly easy.
These steps can help you successfully engrave canvas with a laser engraver to create a personalized piece. Make sure to follow safety guidelines when operating your laser engraving machine to ensure the operation is safe.
One last thing I want to mention. Although I chose to do this in one go, doing it twice in different directions will give a smoother finished look due to the texture of the canvas. When engraving twice, to avoid burning through the canvas on the second pass, you need to lower the power on both passes. Typically, it's about half the power you need for a single pass, but you'll want to test a two-pass setup during the testing phase. While doing this twice will double the time it takes to complete the burn, the end result is usually worth the extra time.
The advantage of using ATOMSTACK laser engraving machine is that when I encounter problems, they will help me solve the problem as quickly as possible. Whether it's a machine problem or a problem with my engraving technique.