Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wedding Cake Topper Part 5

Hello all- we are on part 5 of the wedding cake topper. I actually did this part last night and went to bed before I posted anything so the treat is two posts in one whole day.

Ok we left off last at the first machine part of the topper. We need to start engraving and cutting our bride and groom silhouette. Due to the time invested (see parts 1-4) on the wood prep, sanding, painting, and finishing- I wanted to do some test runs with different settings to see what I should use and what settings work best with our medium and the finish and paint depth. We are working with a thin 1.8inch ash sheet. It's a soft wood but provides good detail and holds up fairly well but is lightweight. Since this cake topper is fairly tall, I wanted strength but I wanted a delicate look as well. I don't want to remove too much material in the engraving process. It's not necessary and it may take away from the defintion of the figures. Ash also has a lot of natural resin. I wanted to test engrave the finished wood and try cleaning off the resin and smoke that are left from the process to make you can get back to a clean surface withiout staining or streaking.

So I set up a few images that won't interfere with the final output and scattered them about. I set up print jobs for each image individually with different speed settings- starting at 50% and stayng at 100% power (35W)
Test image layout in CorelDraw X5.

Here is our piece about to start the settings trial run:
Wedding Cake Topper in Engraver Before Trial Run
The first run did a great job and I think I'm happy with the engraving and the speed. Since I was already set up for the rest, I went ahead and ran them for some benchmarking.
White Milk Paint with Tung Oil Finish--Should read 56% speed, 100% Power
Engraving Image #2
Black Milk Paint Flared and Flamed
The black milk paint section flared and flamed a little. I had air assist on so it wasn't able to catch but it was a good reminder to never leave the machine unattended. Speaking of which I need to get a dry chemical fire extinguisher. :)

25% Speed
The 25% speed option made a very deep engraving. I think it may be a neat effect for another project but not this one.
35% speed
I liked the 35% speed but it was still a bit too deep. I like how the underlying wood grain is coming through.
45% Speed
Here is my problem child- the white milk paint. After cleaning the engraving, I wasn't happy with the resin splotch on the white. It was very obvious to me and I won't want that on a bride's dress. I decided at this point that this needed an acrylic based clear coat over the tung oil as I do with my child's toolboxes. I think the resin is more likely to detach from the clear coat surface. It will not change the color of the surface at all and I think it's needed in this case.

I applied a thin coat to just the one side of the silhouette piece and set it on the easel to dry. It does mean more waiting. Ho-hum!


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