When I saw his work I realized that I could use this technology to carve much more intricate plates than I can currently produce with a router. (Of course I know that other people are doing this. It just never seemed like *I* could do it.) I asked if he could carve me a plate overnight and bring it to the last day of the festival. He did it! Since I'm familiar with a lot of the parameters of carving wood with machines, I knew how to choose the art and prepare the file for him. I emailed it on Sunday and walked over to his booth Monday morning to pick up the finished piece, still smelling of smoke from the laser.
It was amazing to get this piece of work from him so quickly. After the show on Monday, we tore down and I started my drive home. The first thing I did when I got back was to test this laser carving for ability to print detail, and for the ability to hold those details over multiple runs through the press.
Since I'd asked him to carve it at the same size as the blocks I've been using, I can use my existing jig for registration. I just need to bring the surface up the the exact same height as my other blocks. I used some old wood that was laying around the shop and planed it down to the right thickness.
Then I clamped them together and put the clamp contraption in the sun to dry faster.
Once the glue was dry I cut off the edges, ensuring that the finished block was exactly 5" square and exactly the right height. Then I started rolling ink and doing tests.
The detail rendered perfectly!
So then I did a bunch of tests, partly to see how these shapes overlap and partly to test the block's detail holding ability. I was impressed! There may come a time when I add one of these devices to my workflow to give me a lot more detail in the finished work.