I had a piece of basswood that had a live edge on it. I thought it would look cool and unique to put a raccoon looking out of a hole to give it the appearance that the piece of wood was the tree. This project was created with the AI image creator within Xtool Creative Space. That being said, you can create many other critters the same way! I just prompted "Raccoon looking out of hole in tree" Then after importing it into the workspace I edited out the edges and unwanted portions and this is the result. I hope everyone tries more critters! I'd love to see more!
For this project I used a 13" basswood plank with a live edge on 2 sides to give it the appearance that the piece IS the tree that the raccoon is in. Be sure to be picky when selecting the piece of wood that you're going to use. Any excessive dark lines or spots like the dark spot at the bottom of this piece will result in unwanted blackening/burning.
I like to sand the wood down prior to engraving on it (220 grit or finer). This helps prevent unwanted burning and soot around the edges of where you're engraving. Sometimes there's some fluffy stuff on there that needs to come off. Also, after sanding it helps to blow it off with some air whether it be from an air compressor or a can of air. You can also wipe it off with a lint free cloth instead.
Open the file in Xtool Creative Space and connect to your machine. Place the wood piece in your machine and center the laser head in the region you intend on engraving. Press the auto measure button to gauge the thickness of your material.
This part can be a bit tricky with live edge pieces. Not all natural wood pieces are the same and some narrow on one end compared to the other. If you have an even cut on your piece of wood you're in luck! This process will be much easier. If you have a piece like mine that's narrow at the top follow along.. You want to make sure that you base your work area off of the narrowest portions of the piece. If you don't you could potentially engrave off of the edges of your wood and onto the bark which makes for a messy and potentially flammable engraving.
Click start marking in Xtool Creative Space to start the marking process. Align the laser crosshairs with the inside edge of the bark on the narrowest left corner. If it happens to be the bottom corner for example, move the crosshairs straight up to the top from that bottom corner and stop just before the top edge to make sure your workspace will end up on your preferred work area. Press the button on your machine to mark the top left corner. Make sure that it ended up square with the cut edge, if it isn't then reset and try again. Once your first corner is established move on to the bottom right corner. If this one is the narrow side do the same as the first one. Find the corner at the inside edge of the bark then move up to the top in order to make sure you're still in your zone then back down to mark the corner.
Once you have your work space established, scale your raccoon to the desired size by clicking it and click/drag the corner to adjust. Move him around and figure out your placement. I usually count the squares on either side to make sure he's centered. It won't always be completely perfect with natural wood pieces.
ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS! Double check your settings! I can't tell you how many times I've started creating something new only to realize after starting the power is set to 1% and it isn't doing a darn thing..
Click the framing button in the bottom right hand corner of Xtool Creative Space and then press the button on your machine. Make sure that it's showing the desired engraving location.
If all looks good press Process, then Start. Once Ready appears on the screen go ahead and press the button on your machine to begin engraving. I advise staying close by especially if there's dark lines or spots in your wood. I have seen them flame up a tiny bit. I've never had an actual fire but better safe than sorry.
VERY IMPORTANT FOR ALL PROJECTS! I have noticed that there are times where Xtool Creative Space's loading bar will freeze while sending the file to the machine. If you hear your machine beep but it doesn't say Ready on your computer screen STOP. I've had this happen a few times and it will start on your previous project and potentially ruin this one. If this happens exit creative space. It should pop up and give you the option to save your project. Save it and turn your machine off. Re-open your project and re-connect your machine. Unfortunately you will have to go back to the step of setting your work area again. It should still have the wood thickness saved but to be safe I would recommend redoing that as well.
Once your project is complete, take it out and inspect for burnt area and soot. I typically hit it with air and then sand the surface down again with 220 grit or finer sandpaper to remove any unwanted dark spots around the edges. If you don't hit it with air before sanding you can smear black gunk around and leave marks that don't come out easy. After sanding blow it off one more time and stain it if desired. If there's any burning within your engraved area where there was dark lines or spots I have cleaned those up by folding sandpaper to make a fine edge then sanding them down. If it lightens or distorts the color you can use a lighter to darken that small spot up again. Just be very careful and keep the flame at a distance. You'll likely have to re-sand the areas close to the spot that are suppose to be light.
Congrats and enjoy your new creation!!!