Experimenting with laser cut bricks

A slight diversion today as I experiment with making laser cut bricks.

Laser cutters are great at cutting things out. Especially square things, and things with sharp edges. I've tried making bricks and other textures on the laser cutter before, however the width of the beam is so incredibly fine that the mortar lines are impossible to paint.

So today I experimented instead with the "raster 3d" setting on my laser cutter, which takes in an image, and everything black is cut at 100%, and white is cut at 0%, and greys are cut at varying power levels.

By loading in a brick pattern like so:

... and choosing the raster 3d setting in Visicut, I managed to cut some nicely textured bricks.

I tried many different techniques to detail them, but this one works the best:

  1. Seal the cardboard with acrylic varnish.
  2. Colour the bricks with a mix of Vallejo "yellow ochre" and "basic rust" colours.
  3. Make up a thin mix of plaster of paris and brush this over the bricks, letting it pool in all the crevices. As it starts to dry, use a finger to wipe it off the high spots.

Final result:

Right hand edge is the result of this technique. The centre and upper left sides are from washing on dilute white-ish paint, however the plaster is much more visible at normal viewing distances.

I'm pretty happy with the results, something to add to my laser cutting arsenal.

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Thursday, Jun 30 2016, 8:07 AM George (from Perth WA) says...
Very impressive.
Friday, Sep 25 2020, 11:37 PM Ken (from Lacey, Washington) says...
Thanks for posting some info on laser cutting brick texture. I've ordered a K40 laser cutter to facilitate my model building in 1:87th scale (HO) and I've been looking for ways to make "brick" knowing that a laser should be able to produce something reasonable in that scale. I saw a picture on another site that used (with no explanation) a couple of files. One was a grayscale and the other was a strange red and blue tinted image that may respond to both blue engraving and red cutting. No information on speeds, feeds, and power. Looks like FUN and experimentation.

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