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Etching Specifications (copyright) - Laser Etching Process

The following images are magnified photographs of the cross-section of the laser path in black granite taken with a scientific microprobe. This study was conducted exclusively for Forever in Stone by Dr. William MacDonald, Geology Professor, and William Blackburn, Microprobe Specialist - both from the Geology Department of Binghamton University, Binghamton, New York. We thank them and acknowledge their contribution to the research into architectural applications of laser etched stone.

All images copyright protected - Dr. William MacDonald 2002
   


The images are seen by the microprobe in an 'upside down' orientation. In order to read Dr. MacDonald's notations, we show them in this orientation.
Laser Etching Process:

What is laser etching? The laser Etcher transfers an image from the computer into material of all kinds such as stone, glass, mirror, wood, certain plastics, and so on.

How is this image embedded into the surface? With industry BLACK GRANITE, the laser actually super-melts the surface of the stone, forming on oval trench that has been measured with a scientific microprobe to be 14 microns deep. The laser throws up a ridge above the trench that is another 14 microns high. This makes a total etching that is 28 microns deep! The repeated small ovals of trenches make up the matrix of the photographic image. For every time the laser fires, a trench is dug into the surface and through the polish of the stone. This polish can not be replaced. The material that was thrown up around the trench cools and can not be noticed beyond a very slight texture - yet it adds to the etched surface depth.

Marble doesn't super-melt in the same manner as granite, but is 'eroded' away by the laser as fine marble dust. The polished surface is also broken, as it is in granite, and can not be replaced. Marble can scratch over time and is recommended for home usage, wall murals, and accent pieces. Marble produces an incredibly detailed rendering of the photograph.

All stone is a natural product that contains irregularities, fissures, various particle sizes - no stone is exactly the same as another! This adds to the character of customized stone design elements.


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