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ENGRAVING ILLUSIONS | Exploring Mirage Effects through laser engraving on glass

TOOLS Trotec Laser cutter
SOFTWARES Illustrator, Inkscape, Rayjet Manager



First steps

I started by trying different settings, playing with the intensity of black in my vectorial file. I found out that having the grafic colour at 30% gray (intensity) allows me not to use a dampened paper towel and gives a shining finish to the engraved area. I also tried to engrave on both sides of the glass with this same setting and it worked ! I used 2mm float glass (leftovers from a local shop).

File settings | Black 30% | 500ppi (300ppi will result in bigger grains)

Laser settings | Power 100 | Speed 40 | PPI/HZ Auto | Air Assist OFF

trotec-settings engraving

Adding colours to the engraved area adds some depth and gives an interesting effect. It would be great to try with natural inks. As it is always interesting to shift the point of view on glass, I was interested in how the engraved areas look like on the side of the glass. The colours are better vivified by the light. I started to make samples with small glass parts, engraved and coloured, to see what kind of effect the accumulation of the sides would give me. Then, transparency of this new surface depends on from where you look at it : it will be translucid when you're in front of it, and depending on the engraving, the coloured pattern will appear when moving to the side.

Sample with engraving on one side of each glass tessels - 3x10x45 float glass (leftovers) sides-glass

Sample with engraving on both sides of each glass tessels - I realized that cutting engraved surface is unfortunatly too hard for me with the tools that I have :( Another way to try this idea was to engraved on face, cut the slats and engraved the other face. It is more difficult and results aren't that rewarding.


analysis process engraving-depth


samples01 samples02


Using the image sampler in Grasshopper image-sampler



Natural Marker Inks



Inks Plant (g) Ethanol (mL) Heating
Alkanet - - Heated until 50% less ethanol
Indigo Ink 5g Indigo 150mL
Curcuma unknown unknown Heated until 50% less ethanol
Hibiscus  5g 30mL 30mL Vinegar, NOT heated


bacteria-glass Bacteria didn't grow as expected... Will need to think about another way !


Last update: 2023-02-03