MC Escher’s “Hands” Laser Etched in Acrylic

May 09, 2010

One of the features of the laser is the ability to take a black and white image and have it interpret the shades of gray as power settings for the laser beam. (The default is to do what printers do and vary the dot pattern to give the illusion of the gray levels.) This is appropriately called 3D mode as in many materials, a hotter beam will cut deeper.Here I scanned M.C. Esher’s 1948 work, Drawing Hands, tweaked the gray values in Photoshop and sent it to the laser in 3D mode for use on a piece of 1/2″ thick cast acrylic. I don’t remember exactly, but this is almost certainly two or three passes at fairly strong power settings. As you can tell, it provided a nice deep relief in the material. You can see it from a different angle in the other image.