MetkuMods

Animating Multilayered Engravings

Get some movement and color to your engravings.
Author: Jani 'Japala' Pönkkö
Published: 20.02.2008
In English In English
Suomeksi Suomeksi

Intro

It was seven years ago when I introduced engraving and edge lighting to the modding scene. Since then, we have seen some great pieces of art made by several modders. Most of the engravings today are done to a single sheet of acrylic but there is no reason why one couldn't use several of them. Added layers give some interesting possibilities like adding different colors to the design, make the design feel more 3D and finally, they enable animation.

This tutorial will be in two parts, all in this one article. First we will see the concept with a single colored design. After that I'll show a bit more advanced variation of this technique. Hope you like it.

The Concept

 

The idea behind multilayer
 

Like the name implies, multilayered design consists of two or more acrylic sheets. These sheets can then have their own design and color. When combined, the results can be quite spectacular.

The image is from the article that I wrote back in 2002. It described our new CNC-machine for PCB prototyping. In this article I also demoed the multilayer technique with help from a naked lady with a red glowing fireball. When I wrote about animation back then, I meant changing the color with a ColorFade circuit. Today we talk about incorporating an illusion of movement into our design.

In most situations, the engravings are just series of thin lines. To get the lines visible, one points a light source at them. Usually this is a high intensity LED. This makes the engraved areas catch the light and deflect it towards the viewer. When animating, idea is to light only one layer at the time. Then light the next one and then the next etc. End result is bit like one seen in neon signs that have for example a guy waving.

Making it happen

 

Intel Inside
 

Like I pointed out in the GlowPad article, it is best to draw and engrave the design on the backside of the sheet. This will reflect the light better and you'll end up with a brighter image. Just remember to do the design as a mirror image! This is something that even I sometimes forget. With a random image it doesn't matter that much but with a text the piece is ruined.

The reason why I chose the Intel Inside logo was that it was the first three piece design that came to mind. I believe this was only a good thing as the logo doesn't contain any overlapping items thus making it easier to align and play with the first time. More advanced stuff coming soon.

 


 

After a short Dremel session, all three sheets were engraved. Maybe not the best work quality but enough for prototyping purposes. Sheets seem bit cloudy as the protective sheet is still intact on one side.




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