Homage Tektronix Circuit Computer: Laser-Engraved Hairline Improvement

Entirely by accident, I discovered that engraving a hairline with LightBurn’s Dot Mode using 1 ms burns and 0.1 mm spacing produces a continuous trench, rather than the series of dots at 0.25 mm:

Tek CC - Cursor Hairline - 30pct 100u - oblique view
Tek CC – Cursor Hairline – 30pct 100u – oblique view

The left is at 20% power (12-ish W) and the right is at 30% (18-ish W), both filled with Pro Sharpie red ink.

The V-shaped groove is even more obvious when seen end-on:

Tek CC - Cursor Hairline - 30pct 100u - end view
Tek CC – Cursor Hairline – 30pct 100u – end view

In both cases, the travel speed seems to be about 10 mm/s regardless of the speed set in the cut layer parameters. The higher power level produces a slightly wider cut that doesn’t seem deeper, which I cannot explain.

Filled with red lacquer crayon, the hairline looks absolutely gorgeous:

Tek CC - Cursor Hairline - 30pct 100u - in place
Tek CC – Cursor Hairline – 30pct 100u – in place

Engraving the PETG sheet with the protective film in place produces a neat cut with the film edges fused to the plastic.

Cutting the outline and pivot hole in the same operation ensures everything remains perfectly aligned:

Tek CC - Cursor Laser Cutting
Tek CC – Cursor Laser Cutting

Scribble red crayon over the film, make sure the trench is completely filled, peel the film off with some attention to not smearing the pigment, and it’s about as good a hairline as you (well, I) could ask for:

Tek CC - Cursor Hairline - 30pct 100u - Width
Tek CC – Cursor Hairline – 30pct 100u – Width

The pigment in the trench is about 0.2 mm wide, with slight heat distortion along each side, and I’ll call it Plenty Good Enough.

Totally did not expect this!

Getting a good-looking hairline on a good-looking cursor turns out to be a major challenge, because there’s nowhere to hide the blunders. A few of the many dead ends along the way shows what’s involved:

https://softsolder.com/2020/05/06/tek-circuit-computer-cursor-hairline-scraping/

https://softsolder.com/2021/01/26/tek-circuit-computer-cursor-hairline/

https://softsolder.com/2021/02/16/tek-circuit-computer-sawed-hairline-fixture/

https://softsolder.com/2021/04/13/tek-cc-milled-cursor-vs-speed-vs-coolant/

https://softsolder.com/2021/04/15/tek-cc-milled-cursor-mvp/

Plenty of Quality Shop Time™ along the way, though …

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