How to laser engrave Yeti Tumblers

July 6, 2020

The Full Spectrum Muse Laser Engraver and Cutter has become one of my most used tools in the shop.  From laser engraving to laser cutting, I keep finding new ways to use it.  I have run into a few limitations around the thickness of materials that I can place inside.  To fix this I’ve installed a riser and rotary kit that allows for an additional 6 in of material thickness plus that ability to engrave cylindrical objects.

This is an add on to the Full Spectrum Muse which I've reviewed here.

Want more lasers?  Check out my 2020 laser engraver and cutter rankings here.

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How to laser engrave Yeti Tumblers
The Good
The Bad
Rotary and Riser Kit
Price:
$895
Increase material thickness by 6 in and add a rotary kit to the Full Spectrum Muse Laser
Check it out!
STEPS
Full Spectrum Muse Laser Rotary Engraver

The riser installation process is pretty simple.  The hardest part is moving the laser around, I didn’t have anyone else in the shop but I would highly recommend having an extra pair of hands.

Move the Full Spectrum Laser Cutter to a work table

An issue I ran into several times was water coming out of both the laser and the cool box.  Make sure and attach a water tube to both the in and out’s on the back of the laser and cool box to keep everything from getting messy.

Remove the Exhaust Cover

Remove exhaust vent cover

The exhaust vent cover is taken off the back so that the laser could be flipped on its back.  I also taped the lid down to keep the glass from swinging open once it was upside down.

Flip Full Spectrum Muse Laser Cutter on back

Remove screws from bottom plate

Remove bottom plate from Full Spectrum Muse Laser

On the bottom of the Full Spectrum Muse is a metal plate attached by hex screws.  That plate is removed.  This is a good opportunity to clean out any debris you’ve built up.  I had lots of wood pieces that had fallen through my honeycomb bed.

Install bottom plate to riser

Setup Full Spectrum Muse Laser Riser Kit

The riser is turned upside down and the metal plate is installed with the same screws.

Install bottom plate on Full Spectrum Muse Laser Riser

Place laser on top of riser

With the riser flipped right side up the laser is placed on top.  There are no screws that hold it in place, instead, the feet of the laser sit down in holes on the top side of the rotary.

Place Full Spectrum Muse Laser Cutter on top of Riser

The riser also has a pass-through slot on the front which lets you use material larger than the width of the laser!

Install Rotary

Now that the riser is in place the rotary can be used.  The rotary unit is made to be portable so it’s very easy to install.  There is a single wire that attaches to the stepper motor on the right side of the rotary that then attaches to a port right underneath the lid of the laser.

Place Full Spectrum Muse Rotary in Laser Cutter and Engraver
Connect wires to Full Spectrum Muse Laser for Rotary

I’m still getting the rotary dialed in but this is the process I’m using for engraving Yeti style metal cups.

1. Square the rotary

Square Rotary to Full Spectrum Muse Laser

There is a metal bar running the length of the bed, push the rotary up against the bar as well as far right as possible.  Then once you’ve adjusted the left roller make sure it is square to the frame.

2. Level the engraving surface.

Level Yeti Tumber to Full Spectrum Muse Laser

Since the tumbler has different diameters at the base and the mouth the rollers need to be different heights.  I used a level to get the engraving surface parallel to the laser gantry.

3. Set up Retina Engrave

Set Retina Engrave to Rotary Mode

To use the rotary you’ll need to go into Settings in Retina Engrave and select rotary.  Then the only placement that will matter for the artwork is the location along the x-axis.

4. Line up the laser.

The laser is now in relative location.  Meaning that the artwork will start wherever the laser head is at the beginning of the cut.  The laser should be lined up at the furthest location on the left side of the artwork and directly in the middle of the tumbler.  You can then run the perimeter test to see where the artwork will be engraved.

Not only will the laser move in the x-axis but the rotary will also spin to show the location on the tumbler itself.

5. Set Engraving Settings


Settings will vary by laser but I found that for my 45 Watt machine a setting of 70% power, 100% speed, and 500 dpi produced pretty good results.

Laser Engraving Settings for Yeti Tumbler

Keeping the rotary from slipping

On several of my first engraves the engraving would look like it gets squished at the end of the engraving.

Death Star Laser Engraving

This was due to the tumblers and cups slipping while the rotary turned underneath.  There were a few things that I did that helped to fix the problem:

- Weigh the tumbler down.  I put a baseball as well as a large glove inside.  I’ve also seen people using a large metal bearing to keep the tumbler firmly pressed down on the rotary wheels.
- Slip a rubber band around the tumbler where the wheels touch.   This helps to increase the friction between the tumbler and the wheels.
- Use the top guide rail.  I initially took this off but these are great to place just inside the open lid of the tumbler to keep the pressure down on the rotary.

One 2 in Chrome Steel Bearing Ball
2in Steel Chrome Bearing Ball
Price:
$15.87
Heavy ball bearing to weight down items on the rotary.
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So far I’ve tested the rotary out on a large Yeti style tumbler...

a coffee cup...

and colored glass.

I still want to engrave a standard glass but haven’t got the settings dialed in all the way to get a result that isn’t squished.  Once I figure those out, I plan to make a new post about it.

In the meantime be sure and check out the Full Spectrum Muse 3D Laser Engraver and Cutter Reivew.

Also see how it ranks in the Best Laser Engravers and Laser Cutters: Guide for 2020.

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