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Laser Engraving a Stars and Stripes Fourth of July Custom Guitar

Metal, Plastic, Wood

Introduction

– Laser Engraving a Stars and Stripes Fourth of July Custom Guitar
What’s more American than rock n’ roll? How about this customized stars and stripes guitar we created with the Fusion Pro! Using the IRIS™ Camera System we were able to quickly and easily place our artwork and graphics to not only engrave the guitar body, but also to cut a custom pick guard. Read on to see how we did it!

Project Settings

Materials Needed
Machine Used
Fusion Pro 48 120w
Speed
Power
DPI

Place the Guitar

Start by placing your guitar body and pickguard into a Fusion Pro laser system, and close the top door. At the laser, use the Focus and Jog features to bring the guitar body and pickguard into focus.

guitar body inserted into the bed of the Fusion Pro

Copy Background Image

With the Epilog Dashboard now open, you’ll see a top down view of the guitar body and pickguard on the bed of your laser system.

view of the guitar in the epilog dashboard

Click on the Copy Background Image button in the left tools panel.

click copy background image in epilog dashboard

Paste Background Image

Open your version of CorelDRAW, and paste the copied background image into the page.

paste image of guitar body on table into CorelDRAW

Crop Background Image

We’re going to crop the pasted image to make it easier to work with in CorelDRAW. With the image still selected, click on the Edit Bitmap button in the Properties Bar at the top of the screen to open a copy of the pasted image in Corel PHOTO-PAINT.

click edit bitmap button on properties bar

Within PHOTO-PAINT, select the crop tool in the toolbar on the left side of the screen.

use photo-paint to crop the image

Draw a rectangle around the guitar body and press Enter to create a cropped version.

crop the image by drawing rectangle around guitar image

In order to Save this new version and update the pasted image in CorelDRAW, simply press CTRL + S to Save the image or select File > Save at the top of the screen.

save the image

Then close PHOTO-PAINT, and return to CorelDRAW. You’ll see the newly updated version of the background image.

find the cropped image inside CorelDRAW

Trace Guitar Shapes

Select the Bezier tool from the tool bar on the left.

use the bezier tool to trace the guitar body

With the Bezier tool selected, trace the outline of the guitar body and the routed-out holes to create your engraving template.

trace the outline for engraving template

Once you’ve completed tracing the Telecaster guitar body, trace the pickguard as well, and (optionally) the guitar neck headstock.

trace pickguard as well

With your outlines completed, now you’re ready to move on to applying graphics to your template.

preview of the guitar outlines

Create Contour Lines

Start by opening the CorelDRAW Contour tool. Select Window > Dockers > Effects > Contour tool from the drop-down menus at the top of the screen.

use contour setting under effects in CorelDRAW

Next, select the outer telecaster body outline, and use the following settings to add an inside border for the body.

  • Set the contour to Inside contour
  • Set contour steps to 1
  • Set contour offset to 0.125”
  • Select Green as the outline color
  • Then click Apply

add inside border to the telecaster body outline

Create Borders

Now we’ll create borders for the body cutouts. Start by selecting one of the cutout shapes on the guitar body.

select cut out shape and preview border

Use the following settings to add an outside border for the cut. In the Contour Tool panel

  • Set the contour to Outside contour
  • Then click Apply

click apply button

Now, one at a time, select the other body cutout lines and apply the same settings to create the borders for the cutouts.

set borders on additional shapes

With all the borders created, you’ll now need to break apart the contour group shapes to separate the newly created contour line from the originally traced lines.

apply additional contour settings

Break Contour Shapes Apart

Select all of the Contour line groupings, then right click on one of the groupings and select Break Apart Contour Group, to separate the Contour lines from the original lines.

click on break contour group apart to seperate contours from original lines

With the green contour lines now separated, select only the green lines, then click the Back Minus Front button, from the Properties bar at the top of the screen, to remove the traced hole objects from the guitar body outline.

select green lines and remove the traced hole objects

Test the results by adding a color fill to the resulting shape. The resulting shape will serve as the template for engraving the Telecaster Guitar body.

use color fill to reveal telecaster guitar body

Add Stripes to Artwork

To add the stripes to the body, start by drawing your black filled stripes over the body.

add stripes to the artwork

Once you’ve drawn your stripes, select all three stripes, then select Object > PowerClip > Place Inside Frame from the menus at the top of the screen, and click on the guitar body template to place the stripes inside the container.

clip the artwork to preview the design on the guitar body

Once you’re finished, we’ll select only the pickguard outline and the Neck Pickup hole, then select Back Minus Front from the Properties bar at the top of the screen to remove the hole from the pickguard outline.

select the pickguard

Now we’re ready to add the star pattern to the pickguard. Press CTRL + I, or select File > Import from the dropdown menu options at the top of the screen.

select import to find the star pattern

Then select the stars-pattern.eps file (download the file using the button near the top of the page) from its saved location on your computer, and press Import.

select the pattern from the downloaded project files

Now click on your workspace to place the stars pattern.

place the pattern over the pick guard

With the star pattern placed into your work area, we’ll now move, scale, and PowerClip the star pattern inside your pickguard template.

resize the star image on the pick guard

Once you’ve finished adjusting the star pattern for the pickguard, select Object > PowerClip > Place Inside Frame, and click on the pickguard to place the stars inside your template.

Add Star Pattern

clip the image to see final preview of star graphic on pick guard

The guitar body and pickguard are now ready to be sent to the laser.

artwork is ready to print

Select just the guitar body template, then print the job to the Epilog Laser Dashboard.

print the guitar graphic first

With the guitar body in the laser, the top door closed, and the material in focus, you’ll now see a preview of the guitar body and your graphics in the Dashboard.

preview of the stripe graphics over the guitar body

Click and move the graphics over the guitar body until they are visually aligned to the guitar body.

repositioning of stripe graphic on guitar body

Once you have your graphics placed, adjust the laser parameters and settings for the material then print the job to the laser and start the job.

define the engraving settings in the epilog dashboard
engrave the stripes on the guitar body

Repeat these same steps for cutting and engraving your pickguard and optional neck headstock.

engraving stars on pickguard along with additional optional neck headstock

Additionally, we’ve engraved the back of the guitar body and the guitar neck plate to make this project one of a kind.

additional engraving on the back of the guitar body showing an eagle over American flag
Epilog laser logo engraved on neck plate

Apply Finishing Touches

Once you have all of your guitar parts engraved, finish any additional steps, such as color filling the stripes. We used white acrylic paint to help drive home the stars and stripes motif.

add white acrylic paint to finish the guitar

Then follow the assembly instruction provided with your guitar kit to finish your 4th-themed guitar project!

final assembled guitar

closeup of top of guitar
closeup of engraved neckplate
angled view of stars and stripes guitar
final view of completed stars and stripes guitar

Where can you sell custom laser engraved instruments?

  • Specialty gift stores
  • Silent auctions and fundraisers
  • Birthday or anniversary gifts