A customer knew someone who was going to be playing at the Electric Fields festival at Drumlanrig Castle with their band. She wanted to have some drumsticks personalised for the occasion.
This is the story of one of my most demanding jobs so far.
How do you engrave a drumstick?
Drumsticks are a challenge to engrave for two reasons.
Firstly, it’s important to have as flat a surface as possible to engrave. This ensures that the laser can maintain good focus on the surface of the material, important for high quality results. For this reason, I suggested that the artwork should be long and thin so that it could be engraved down the length of the drumsticks. This would also allow the engravings to be seen whole. Engraving around the circumference was out of the question.
Secondly, drumsticks can roll as they’re long and cylindrical. They would need to be held securely in place so they don’t move in the machine during engraving. Any movement during production would make the engravings look out of focus.
What size can the artwork be?
My customer wanted the logo of the band on the handle of one drumstick and the festival name on the other. Both sets of artwork could be set up to for engraving down the lengths of the drumsticks. Perfect.
As the drumstick diameters diameters were 15mm, I decided that the both engravings could be 8mm high maximum. Any taller, and the engravings could be out of focus at the top and bottom. At 8mm high, the engravings would be 60 – 70mm long, making them easy to read.
Laying out the artwork
My customer wasn’t sure how she wanted the artwork to appear on the sticks.
I suggested that if she held a stick in each hand like a drummer, it would look best if she could read the text on both sticks as in the picture above. If both engravings appeared in the same layout on each stick, one engraving would be upside down when held by a drummer. It wouldn’t look right.
When the drumsticks arrived in the post, they had the maker’s logo printed at the handle end. To avoid them being seen with the engravings, I decided to position the engravings at 180 degrees to the logos for a clean look.
Engraving curved surfaces
One of my secret weapons for engraving curved surfaces my 100mm focal length lens. It’s more forgiving than the shorter focal length lenses and wood is a forgiving material to engrave.
I secured the sticks in the machine with Blu Tack, lined them up with the laser and engraved using a slow speed setting. This made the engravings sharp with some depth for contrast. Both engravings looked great and completely in focus, and my customer was delighted.