How to engrave pictures
in plastic

( This is a good friend of my )

It’s a very easy technique and nice to do.

The principle is that , when you hold the plastic against a light you will see nothing ( that’s black ). When you make the plastic plate very thin and you look again, you can see the light through the plastic. ( That’s white )

Let’s start.

I use ( in dutch perspex ) a kind of plastic what is not so soft with a thickness of 3mm.
When you hold it to the light and you move your finger , you must can see the finger thrue the plastic. ( not sharp, but a little bit difference in color )

The program i used was Type3 version 4.2 ( you can find it with a peer to peer program. I don’t know the name of that program )

We use a passport photo format picture
When you make the picture, please use a flash because you don’t have shadows.

 We open the picture in Adobe Photoshop.

Do Auto Contrast.

Go to Dust & Scratches

When you have a picture with a lot op pixels you can do radius 2
else 1.

For type3 i must make the picture negative.

Save the picture  ( in type3 a bitmap .bmp )

Open Type3

Import the picture

Resize it to the size you want to engrave. ( My picture is 30mm X 38mm and has an engraving time of 1 hour at 300mm/min speed )

Move it to the right position.

Select the picture ( on the edge of the picture )
Click on the green button with Art on it


Set the difference between black and white. This value depends of the transparency of the plastic. Do not higher than 2.5mm because your material is 3mm.


Now it’s converted to depth.


push this button ( i don’t know a description for it ).

Select the picture ( on the edge of the picture )


select TypeArt


Use a Conical tool with a tip diameter of 0.2mm with a top angle of 30 grade. ( you can use what you have , but not to big )
Stepover is the half of the tool tip.


Goto your type art and then right mouse button and save the file.

* When you get engraving you must place the file so that the lowest point is about 0.5mm til 0.3mm from the back side of your material.

* Use oil when you engrave.

* I engrave this with a turning speed 5000 rotations/min
The reason is that the plastic can not melt on my cutter.

When everything goes good then you have engraved something like this.


When you hold it to a lamp you will see this.

This is my oldest son Ricardo.

This example ( above ) has a depth of 2.5mm.
It is to deep, but the contrast is better.



This example ( above ) has a depth of 1.5mm.
It is to shallow, but the contrast is bad.
The picture is easier to see by daylight.



This example has a depth of 1.9mm and it good to see.

good luck.

When you like it, you can send me your pictures ( creations ) and i shall place it on my site