Inkining in Laser Etch and the DIY Tattoo

On a recent thread in the Ponoko Forum magdelina posted a question about how to get secondary colours into laser engraving.
Rradd was kind enough to share his experience as well as a link on how to ink in laser etch on the Instructables site posted by Dan Emery.

Both the Ponoko Forums and the Instructable site are great ways to both learn and share your experiences to get the most out of your design projects. If we share our knowledge with the online community each one of us can learn from the others errors and success (much as we would in a design studio).

Back to the inking in etch, the final steps on the instructables site reminded me of the process of a DIY (prison) tattoo.

The process is pretty much the same but instead of a precision laser etching a computer generated image into the surface of a polymer, it is just a guy(or gal) with a sewing needle and a matchstick repeatedly piercing the skin. After that the ink wipe method is pretty much the same (but slower).
tatto 1tattoo 2tattoo 3tattoo 4
Also interesting about the DIY Tattoo is that instead of getting an existing image, which in many tattoo parlors are pretty much traced onto your skin. With a DIY tattoo you get a personalized image that reflects either the skill or naivety of the ‘artist’. There are also elements of viral (not hepatitis) and evolving design, as a motif is copied from the tattooer to the tattooee, each time it changes slightly, again depending on the skill of the tattooer
jerry tattoo
Thanks to Jerry…

< Previous Post
Next Post >

it might also be good to say that like at home piercings prison style tattoos can go incredibly wrong in so many ways.

you risk infections and horrid scars if done incorrectly

true, but consider it a prototype.


This is the true rock and roll of custom design. It has all of the elements…. danger, lack of structure and disregard for the obvious risks. It’s so good to see someone doing this out there. Sometimes I feel as though we have all become a bit too conservative. Even the so called cutting edge designers.
great blog!

Seems even more painful than getting a modern tattoo!

Jon – Create Unique Memories

Well, as a professional tattoo artist (since 1994) I can say that not only does this looks terrible, (like any prison tattoo does), the guy is not wearing gloves so I’d rush on down to the clinic and see if you hand-poked yourself up a death sentence.

Way to go.

Ponoko, do yourselves a favor and remove this dangerous information from your site!

I thought it’d just slipping your hand into the side of the laser cutter and gritting your teeth for a few minutes…

Comments are closed.