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Laser engraved candy

Why

Because, why not? Does everything need a justification?

This was the inspiration: Bittersweets, the despair.com Valentine candies

How

A 40W CO2 K40-III laser cutter was employed. A test image ("test" text) was used for the engraving.

Engraving

The candy used are the kind consisting of pressed sugar, with some added starch, citric acid, flavorings and dyes.

The machine was set up and the candies were engraved with the test image, using a variety of currents (5 and 10 mA, later settling on 10 mA) and scanning speeds (15 and 35 cm/sec). Normal scanning (every 3rd line) was used.

Results

The sugar engraves well. At 5mA and 35 cm/s the mark was rather shallow. 10mA and 35 cm/s yielded deeper cut and 10mA at 15 cm/s yet deeper. At all speeds, the groove was clean and with glossy surface. At lower speed and higher power there were signs of caramelization (browning of the surface). One kind of candy, with looser material and powdery surface, shown more tendency to melt.


Candy engraving

Candy engraving

Candy engraving

Candy engraving

Candy engraving

Candy engraving

Candy engraving

Candy engraving, darkening showing at a spot

Engraving fake pills

For a friend psychiatrist, a set of "medication" was made. Pressed round sugar candy of 20mm diameter was used. The scan speed was 8 cm/s and the laser current was 4 mA. Higher current tended to melt the edges and make the text less legible.

Depressed? Overworked? Job sucks? Unappreciated? Money problems? Family issues?

FUKITOL!


Fukitol 500mg

Fukitol 500mg

Fukitol 500mg

Fukitol 500mg

Fukitol 500mg

Fukitol 500mg

Fukitol 500mg

PEZ candy used

Cutting

Cutting speed of 3 mm/sec with 12 mA of laser current was used, on the large round candy with thin center. A 6mm-diameter circle was used for the test pattern.

Results

The need for deep cut and the required speed and energy for a single-pass cut led to overheating of the material. The sugar in the cut line melts and caramelizes.

The cut core of the hole has to be pushed out immediately, before the caramel in the line can solidify. Once it gets solid, the only chance is to cut again. Eating the failed tests is a suggested method to dispose of evidence.


Candy cutting, incomplete cut-through, top

Candy cutting, incomplete cut-through, bottom

Candy cutting, incomplete cut profile

Candy cutting, pushed-out core

Candy cutting

Engraving M&Ms

A bag of M&M peanuts in chocolate and colored sugar shell was obtained and samples were tested. The results should be portable to any kind of chocolate candy in hard sugar shell.


M&M candy, bag

M&M chocolate nut, internal structure

Results

The fairly large diameter of the samples resulted in a grossly out-of-focus position when located on the top of the cutter bed. The energy transfer was suboptimal, the surface was melting instead of ablating.


M&M at 10 mA, 15 cm/s, out of focus

M&M at 10 mA, 15 cm/s, out of focus, 2nd pass

M&M at 10 mA, 15 cm/s, out of focus

The samples were then mounted in the spring-loaded sample holder, with the surface to engrave being more or less flush with the bed. Intact-shell samples had to be selected, as the force of the spring had tendency to crack and deform the sample.

The sugar shell is the crucial part where all the action happens. The laser energy melts and/or ablates the sugar. Sides of the beam may also deliver significant energy to the sides of the cut.

At slower speed and higher beam current, the burning and melting of the cut is more pronounced. Faster scanning results in sharper but shallower cut. Two passes at fast scan may be superior to one pass at slower speed.

No differences were observed between different colors. Deep cut down to the chocolate layer is better contrasted on white or light colored samples, shallower cut with white background shows better on the darker ones.

Deep cut is easy; after reaching the chocolate layer, any additional depth does not change the cut appearance. There is a margin of setting.

Shallow cut is finicky. Not deep enough, and the dyed layer is not penetrated and the cut is indistinct. Too deep, and the remaining sugar layer is too thin and translucent, and shows the chocolate as brown tint; it may even be fully breached.

Photographs were taken usually in pairs, with and without flash, to show better the shadows or the surface-cut contrast.


M&M at 10 mA, 15 cm/s, focused

M&M at 10 mA, 15 cm/s, focused

M&M at 10 mA, 35 cm/s

M&M at 10 mA, 35 cm/s

M&M at 10 mA, 35 cm/s

M&M at 10 mA, 35 cm/s, 2nd pass, cracked

M&M at 10 mA, 15 cm/s

M&M at 10 mA, 15 cm/s

M&M at 10 mA, 15 cm/s

M&M at 10 mA, 15 cm/s, 2nd pass

M&M at 10 mA, 15 cm/s, 2nd pass

M&M at 10 mA, 15 cm/s, 2nd pass

M&M at 10 mA, 15 cm/s, 2nd pass

M&M at 10 mA, 15 cm/s

M&M at 10 mA, 15 cm/s, 2nd pass

M&M at 10 mA, 15 cm/s, 2nd pass

M&M at 10 mA, 15 cm/s, 2nd pass

M&M at 5 mA, 15 cm/s

M&M at 5 mA, 15 cm/s

M&M at 5 mA, 15 cm/s, 2nd pass

M&M at 5 mA, 15 cm/s, 2nd pass

M&M at 10 mA, 8 cm/s

M&M at 10 mA, 8 cm/s

M&M at 10 mA, 8 cm/s, burning marks

M&M at 10 mA, 8 cm/s, burning marks

M&M at 10 mA, 35 cm/s

M&M at 10 mA, 35 cm/s

M&M at 10 mA, 35 cm/s, 2nd pass

M&M at 10 mA, 35 cm/s, 2nd pass

M&M at 10 mA, 35 cm/s, 3rd pass

M&M at 10 mA, 35 cm/s, 3rd pass

M&M at 10 mA, 35 cm/s, 5th pass

M&M at 10 mA, 35 cm/s, 5th pass

M&M at 15 mA, 35 cm/s

M&M at 15 mA, 35 cm/s, 2nd pass

M&M at 15 mA, 35 cm/s, 2nd pass

M&M at 15 mA, 35 cm/s, 2nd pass

M&M at 8 mA, 35 cm/s

M&M at 8 mA, 35 cm/s, 2nd pass

M&M at 8 mA, 35 cm/s, 2nd pass

M&M at 8 mA, 15 cm/s

M&M at 8 mA, 15 cm/s

White M&M

two passes, 10 mA, 35 cm/s
White M&M

two passes, 10 mA, 35 cm/s
Green M&M

two passes, 10 mA, 35 cm/s

Todo

Higher-resolution videos

White M&M

two passes, 10 mA, 35 cm/s
White M&M

two passes, 10 mA, 35 cm/s
Green M&M

two passes, 10 mA, 35 cm/s


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