# Laser Highlight: Achieve Rastered Lines Using Vector Mode

Jordan with the laser cutter in our Austin workshop.

Jordan Varat is our Laser Operator and Instructor at MathHappens and works with our laser to achieve maximum quality and efficiency of our prints!  Here she writes about a technique she uses to create our butterfly puzzle.

Our Marjorie Rice Tessellating Pentagons #9 Butterfly Puzzle is one of our more popular puzzles right now, and it also utilizes a wonderful laser “hack” to speed up print time! This blog post serves to teach you about getting quick raster results through vector etching.

This is very helpful when aiming to achieve a raster etch with hairline/vector file data that you want printed a bit thicker than hairline, but don’t want to spend the time rastering. It is not to be used for “filled” file data (this will still have to be rastered).

This hack involves setting your laser head out of focus by a certain amount, which typically blurs your project, but in this case, since it’s working with hairline vectors, it makes them thicker. We have used this technique in multiple puzzles now, even those where lines need to match up from different pieces, and we have found that this trick still works where the lines align perfectly.

1. Place your wood in a laser. Set your laser out of focus by ⅛”. Select all of your vector etching data that you want printed out of focus, and send!
2. Leave your wood in the same place in the laser, and refocus the laser to regular focus.
3. Now send the rest of your file data that you want cut/etched in focus!

Effect of different focuses.

Time for single butterfly raster etch: 1 minute, 53 seconds.

Time for single butterfly vector etch out of focus: 19 seconds.

Butterfly used for print time test:

This particular technique is helpful for this puzzle because it allows us to draw guidelines for our participants to color in! However, it is also very helpful with other designs, such as our Knot Tiles and Martin Gardner line illusion where we have many lines to etch, but we want them thicker than hairline. Here is the full butterfly puzzle using an out of focus vector etch, and then the finished puzzle fully colored!

If you are interested in making your own butterfly puzzle, please find the instructions here and the svg file here.  Also, we have a link to a blog post with some background information on our butterfly puzzle!