disclaimer: do not try this at home, not a Ponoko service…….
We have all heard of laser tattoo removal to get rid of those embarrassing love/hate tattoo’s off of one’s knuckles, or to change Winnona into Wino Forever. But the democratization of access to tools of manufacture and self mutilation have now converged on the instructables site by Tetranitrate.
Click on the image or link above to see what looks like a couple of students experimenting with their school’s epilog laser cutter (there is a plug for them). The Instructables post steps through how to set up, circumvent the safety and how to cool the burning afterwards. I notice none of them inked in their tattoo so it will be interesting to see how they look in a year or so?
I have to include part of their description here..
The sound by itself (meaning no body parts in the cutter), is probably the easiest thing to deal with. It is just the normal whine of gears, belts and cooling fans. When that sound is mixed in with the sensation of burning flesh, it turns the laser cutter from a simple machine shop tool to a futuristic torture device.
The sight is not too bad, just a light tracing its way back and fourth across the body. As long as you don’t think about the fact that the small wisp of smoke trailing the light, is actually vaporized skin, everything will be fine.
The smell is bad. It does not travel far, but when you catch a whiff of the burnt flesh stench, it is quite nauseating. The thought that you have just inhaled some of those vaporized skin flakes, and they have settled on the bottom of your lungs, is the worst.
and of course the harsh lessons learnt..
I have a failed space invader attempt on my left arm.
I stoopidly forgot that the laser beam was completely exposed on the left side before it hit the final mirror.
Shortly after the space invader etch started, I noticed a lot of smoke. This smoke was not coming from the etch, but from the left side of the cutter, where the upper part of my left arm was resting. When I looked over, I saw that my shirt was smoldering.
I was so focused on keeping my forearm in place (as to not ruin the tattoo), I did not notice that the laser was no longer etching it, but rather cutting a gash into my upper left arm.
Needless to say, I only etched my right arm from that point on.
ah the brave folly of youth.