Crystal clear in 3D

CAD files can be used to create an interesting 3D image
CAD files can be used to create an interesting 3D image
The  3D images in the 'Spirit of Innovation' and 'Young Person's Development' award were created by laser-etching in crystal
The 3D images in the 'Spirit of Innovation' and 'Young Person's Development' award were created by laser-etching in crystal

Many people looking at the Seawork awards might have wondered about how it’s possible to get a 3D drawing into a solid, clear block.

In fact, it’s down to a laser: “The beam is focused on a three-dimensional coordinate inside the crystal – which, by the way, has to be very pure, or it won’t work,” explained Andrea Hatcher of Laser Crystal, the company that created the awards.

The laser then creates a high-power pulse, etching a tiny dot below the surface before moving onto the next coordinate - the semi-translucent curves are actually made of thousands of very small points.

The nice thing for an engine or technology OEM is that the image can be taken straight from a CAD file, putting innovative designs on show in a rather elegant setting.

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