Frequently Asked Questions
We regularly get some of the same questions from our customers. If you have a fundamental question about our products or capabilities, chances are the answer is below. For anything not covered, please contact us, and we will be happy to assist you.
What is laser engraving?
Laser engraving is the process by which light energy (laser) is used to vaporize and erode a surface.
What makes your process better than paint or stickers?
Stickers and paint are applied to the surface of the glass. While the glass itself is suitable for indoor and outdoor use, UV light may degrade plastics used in stickers or paint over time. Our process engraves the glass so it will last the life of the glass block itself. And since these blocks are made for windows or walls, they’re manufactured to last for decades already!
How do I prepare an image for engraving?
Easy… you leave that part to us. Your challenge is to get us a photo that is suitable for engraving.
How do I know if my photo is good enough to engrave?
We never really know until we’re finished processing the image. You should always send us the highest quality image and largest file size you can. It’s good to have even light from the front of the subject as well. Backlit images can cause shadows that are difficult to render.
What can you engrave?
If you’ve visited our Gallery page, you’ll see that we can engrave just about any image on to the blocks.
How do I get the largest file size photo to you?
The absolute best way is through our online form available during the checkout process. If you do not have the ability to use our form, some other methods are outlined below.
Keep in mind the resolution of the image will directly impact engraving quality. In some cases we may reach out for a higher quality image.
A file hosting site like Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive is going to be the best alternative. You can also email your image, but you should do that from a computer or if you must send it from a phone, make sure you’re connected to wifi. Otherwise your device may automatically compress and resize the image (Based on settings some devices always do this), in certain cases it can be only 10% of the original image data.
Online Checkout = Best
File Upload = Great
Email = Usually Workable
Text Message = Unusable
What is a pixel?
A pixel is a digital unit of measure. All pixels are not created equally though. Pixel density is what is important as shown in the graphic below.
Why are pixels and pixel count important?
Engraving is essentially turning your image into a two dimensional black and white version. Each pixel will be either marked (white) or not marked (transparent). The more pixels you have, the more opportunity to mark or not mark which determines the quality of the engraving.
The “heart” on the left has four times the pixels as the “heart” on the right, though both images are dimensionally the same.
So just how much detail can I expect?
Assuming you provide a high quality image with good lighting, we can get very good clarity on the engraving. Our laser is capable of about a quarter of a millimeter in accuracy. This is limited by the material being engraved though. But, you can see in this image just how fine we have it set to mark.
(note the actual size of the block is ~7.75” x 3.75” and the red square is approximately 1”)
What makes glass engraving so difficult?
When you think of a black and white image, you see two solids – Black and White, like ink on paper – any color paper! Glass is not like paper, wood, stone, or other solid materials where the material itself represents either the black or the white. Glass is transparent so we’re engraving only the black or only the white while the other remains transparent. This is why we have the option to engrave either the positive (marking the blacks) or the negative (marking the whites). Whether we use one method or the other depends on the subject being engraved. Photography almost always looks better when engraved in the negative while text and 2D images can look good either way.
The white portion in these two examples is what gets engraved. The image on the left is a “Positive” where the dark parts of the original image are engraved. The image middle is a “Negative” where the light portions of the original image are engraved. In these examples, the black is not engraved and remains transparent so whatever is behind the glass is visible. The finished engraving on the right is a product of engraving the “negative”.
Can I have an image on opposite sides of the block?
Yes! But you have to keep in mind that the blocks are transparent so the opposing image will be visible through the block if you don’t put a solid material in the block.
This could be advantageous to some designs though. See examples in the gallery.
Do you offer bulk discounts?
Yes! A large portion of the price comes from the time it takes to manipulate the image so the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and any subsequent copies are always less expensive. Let us know when you order how many of the engravings you want and we’ll let you know the cost.
What if I lose or brake it and need to replace it in the future?
We keep the engraving file (for quite a while) so we’ll be able to make copies for you. Since the bulk of the work was already done, it will be less expensive than the original but because of setup it won’t be quite as cheap as buying multiple copies initially.
What if I get a broken block in my window mosaic?
The good news is that we keep the engraving file (for quite a while) so we’ll just need to know which individual block needs to be engraved and we can have a replacement made. The bad news is that replacing a single block in a window can be difficult bordering on impossible without damaging adjacent blocks. If you have a broken block in your mosaic window, contact us and we can help guide you on the repair.
What if I don’t want a pre-assembled window and I want to build it myself?
We can make a kit for you depending on how you plan on building the window or wall. All of the blocks will be clearly marked with a letter/number combination and a gridded image showing their location will be provided.
About Our Products
We can engrave nearly anything you like onto a glass block from a digital image.
We offer certain glass blocks engraved and ready to be shipped. These vary based on times of year and our current stock.
We can create custom multi-block mural engravings for the layout of your glass block wall or window. Easily shipped anywhere in the USA.