3D Crystal Engraving: How It Works

One of the many custom crystal awards we offer at FineAwards.com is our 3D laser engraved awards. 3D laser engraved crystal awards feature a 3D holographic image floating inside of a piece of solid crystal. This floating image, or bubblegram, is an elegant, classy way to personalize a crystal award. Have you ever wondered how we create that floating image? Here, we’ve simplified the 3D laser crystal engraving process into three steps.

1. Create the template

To engrave a 3D image from a 2D image, we must create a template! To do this, we convert your image to a 3D series of points that the laser engraving machine uses as a stencil for engraving, where the laser will engrave your image. Each 3D laser crystal engraving uses tens of thousands of points. A bubblegram as small as 5 cm x 5 cm x 5 cm could use as many as 60,000 points!

2. Align the crystal

A technician working from a computerized template to create a 3D laser engraved crystal.

Line up the crystal with the laser engraver. Many engravers have just one laser coming from one point, but some have two lasers coming from two sides. These two-sided lasers are more difficult to align. Once aligned, we fix the crystal to the base of the machine to prevent it from moving around during engraving, as the vibrations from the machine and energy of the laser can cause the crystal to shift. Proper alignment, especially in a two-sided laser, is essential to ensure that the engraving looks its best.

3. Etch your image

Finally, your crystal is ready for engraving! A laser (or lasers) is aimed at each point individually and pulsed. Each pulse creates a tiny hole, or etch point, in the crystal. The energy at the end of the laser is what causes the distortion, not the length of the beam, allowing for carving inside the crystal without damage to the outside surface. The final 3D laser crystal engraving is also called a laser-induced damage image because the laser effectively damages the crystal inside.

FineAwards.com CEO Seth Fine discussing our 3D laser crystal awards with an employee.
FineAwards.com CEO Seth Fine at our 3D Engraving facility.

To add more dimension to your 3D crystal photo, the size of the etch points can be changed. Points with larger diameters result in brighter points, and smaller diameters create dimmer points. Through this, the crystal hologram comes to life!

We offer engravings of many sizes in a wide selection of crystal awards. If none of these fit your needs, or you want to make your award extra special, you can design your crystal award featuring a custom 3D laser engraving!