Application Story: Laser Inscribing Diamonds Using Motion Controllers

PhotoScribe Technologies, TeoSys Engineering, and Galil Motion Control have combined to create a user-friendly and safe laser system capable of engraving a diamond. This system, the Excimer laser, combines custom software with a Galil DMC-1822 motion controller to allow for the precise inscription of a diamond.

Applications of Diamond Engraving

Diamond inscription can be used in a variety of ways, such as to commemorate a wedding or special life event. However, it can also be used to inscribe logos, brand names, or photographs. The most important application of engraving may be the ability to engrave a serial number. Serial numbers correlate to certifications that can be used for security, identification, and traceability of the diamond.

Galil DMC-1822 Motion Controller Features

Galil’s flexibility has allowed the motion control code to interface with graphics and live video. The user can now type the desired name or serial number into a text box. From there, the PhotoScribe/TeoSys software will take the text and convert it to a DXF CAD file to allow the image to be placed on top of the live video showing the diamond. The CAD file is then converted to Galil’s proprietary motion control language and sent to the motion controller to be executed.

The laser marks achieved by this machine are inscribed on the girdle of the diamond and the machine can engrave on all shapes and sizes of diamonds, mounted or loose. The marks are anywhere from 7 to 15 microns in diameter and may be engraved 10 to 30 microns/second.

Galil’s DMC-1822 PCI bus motion controller supplies coordinated motion in two axes through the use of stepper motors. The X-axis moves the diamond forward and back, while the Y-axis moves it up and down. Throughout this process, the laser stays fixed as it makes the series of points. The result is an engraving that is less than the width of a human hair.

Advantages of the Excimer Laser

Through the combination of accurate software and precise motion controllers, we have been able to create a laser engraving system with a number of benefits. This machine provides precise, coordinated motion that is accurate enough to be repeatable. With the DMC-1822 and the custom-designed stages, the accuracy is repeatable to 1.5 microns. Furthermore, the Galil motion controller has allowed for the reduction in price of the system by more than one third, while only a small reduction in throughput.

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