12 February 2007 @ 23:08Laser Engraving an iPod nano
I decided to get my girlfriend a pink iPod nano for Valentine’s Day. I wanted it to be unique though. Since the 2nd generation nano’s are aluminum instead of polycarbonate and stainless steel, I decided they would be a good material for engraving. Once I decided on engraving it, the next thing I had to do was decide what to engrave on it. After much thought (and some interrogating of my girlfriend) I settled on Wonder Woman, her childhood hero.
The first thing I did was plug in the new nano to make sure it worked properly. I’m not too sure how difficult it would be to return a custom engraved iPod. Next, I searched for images of Wonder Woman. What I was looking for was an image that would fit nicely on the back of the nano, above the Apple logo. I then brought the image into Photoshop and reduced it to two colors, black and white. That got me basically where I wanted the graphic, but I still had to do some tweaking. Every so often I would preview my image as white on a pink background to get a better idea of how it would look engraved.
When I was finally satisfied on the image, I copied it to the computer attached to our Gravograph LS900. I first tested the image on a piece of paper for positioning. Once I got the position correct I engraved on a piece of black-painted brass. The speed and power settings for this would be similar to what I would need for the nano’s anodized aluminum casing. I used a power setting of 50% and speed of 80%, but this may vary depending on the wattage of the laser used.
Now it was time to engrave on the actual iPod. Believe me, I was a bit nervous at this point. I only had one shot at getting this right, or else I would end up with a permanently marred, albeit fully functional, nano. I pressed the start button, and a couple minutes later it was finished. It turned out great!