Can You Etch It – Switch Plate failure and supper

Welcome to Can You Etch It, the web’s first laser engraving series that specializes in laser engraving strange, unique, and even common items. Today I show a failure and how to personalize your supper.

When trying new things, it is normal to have failures.  In fact, if you are not failing, you are not trying hard enough. All too often, especially as businesses, we tend to only share our successes.  Well today, you can see a failure of mine that I devoted many hours on just to have the final result be unusable.  Although it wasn’t a complete failure (I’m sure it will work with the right technique), it was close enough for me to put it aside for now.  Instead of getting upset or being saddened by the turn of events, I made supper.

The best laid plans…

The idea started out well; laser engrave inexpensive nylon light switch plates, color fill the engraving, with the result being an inexpensive way to communicate and remind people about the switch and what it controlled.  Businesses could benefit from this technique by labeling their light switches in an interesting, creative, and durable way.  Parents could personalize the light switches in the children’s rooms, label the switches in the garage, and add a little flair to their plain, ordinary light switches.  I think it is a good idea.

Raw material has a huge effect on the final product.  I started out with an inexpensive nylon switch plate, blue painters tape, and Krylon spray paint designed specifically to bond with plastic.  Using the tape as a masking material, the design was laser engraved through the tape into the switch plate.  The result was nice, crisp masking and a roughened surface for the paint to stick to, plus engraving was deep enough to provide just a little protection from normal wear and tear.

I even had the idea to use normal paint for most of the words and use a glow-in-the-dark paint for the words “Thank You“.  A recipe for success… or so I thought.

To make a long story short, I engraved and painted two different switch plates just in case something happened, there would be a back up.  The first one was allowed to dry for an hour or so and the tape was removed.  According to the paint directions, it should have been dry to the touch.  The result was paint seepage under the tape, smeared wet paint, and a ruined Can You Etch It project.  Oh well, the next one will be better.

After letting that one dry for over 18 hours, the result was basically the same; another ruined project.

Why talk about failures and what about supper?

It is important to talk about our failures in an effort to learn from them and maybe help others not make the same mistakes you made.  In this case, I believe the idea is sound but my technique or materials (or both) doomed this project from the beginning.  But it’s in those times of failure that an idea may pop into your head that you just have to try.  That leads us into a personalized supper.

To date, I have laser engraved the following foods: a sweet potato, M&M’s, a slice of breada cinnamon stick, and  a walnut.  Today, I would like to add a hard taco shell.

Laser engraving a hard taco shell is quite easy, but the result is a faint whitish line that has very little contrast to the rest of the shell.  Nevertheless, it can be done and did not alter the taste at all.

Here is the video with both the switch plate and taco being laser engraved.  The results of each are at the end of the respective part of the video.  For more pictures, check out the end of the post.

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Can You Etch It Roundup

For those of you who are keeping score, the list is as follows: a few failed light switch plates, a taco shell, Mount Rushmore coasters, house numbers, a cutting board6 social media iconsa mirror, a hand-drawn robot design, a CD jewel casea pair of drum sticksa luggage tag, a fishing reel, a couple of impact sockets, a drinking glassa little industrial labelinga baseballa Frappuccino bottle, a tennis ball, 12 Scrabble tiles, a custom ink stamp, Thank You cards, M&M’s, a slice of bread, a clothes pin, a cinnamon stick, a sweet potato, a walnut, and a toothpick. Let me know if you have any suggestions for future installments.

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Have a great weekend.

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