How are 3D Crystals made?

What is Optical Crystal?

Optical crystal is 100% lead-free and is manufactured in thick sheets by cooling the molten material slowly under tremendous pressures to remove all internal bubbles and imperfections. The result is an extremely hard material, clearer than glass and flawless, which is used to make lenses for cameras and telescopes. Because of its hardness optical crystal can be hand cut and polished, producing brilliant edges and wonderful smooth surfaces. As such, optical crystal trophies, awards and gifts have a high perceived value and high-end appeal.

The 3D Crystal process

A sub-surface laser engraving system is used to permanently etch designs and images inside clear optical crystal trophies, awards & gifts.

"How do you get the image inside the crystal" is the question we hear more than any other. While it may appear to be all smoke and mirrors, the concepts behind sub-surface engraving are not dissimilar to the common childhood game of burning holes in paper using a magnifying glass lens. In the game, the lens is used to focus the light from the sun into a single spot. The concentrated energy at this "hot spot" is so high that the paper starts burning.

For sub-surface engraving a lens is used to focus a laser beam to a point below the crystal surface. At this focus point the energy is high enough to create a tiny fracture in the crystal. The energy of the out-of-focus light is not high enough to have an effect, so the surface of the crystal is not disturbed. 

We use state-of-the-art German laser systems to ensure the highest quality engraving. The precision control of the laser system is carefully calibrated to ensure the fractures occur at exactly the correct location. The engraved image is formed by producing hundreds of thousands of fractures. The engraved points appear white in normal ambient lighting conditions.

Comparing 2D & 3D Crystal engraving

To create a customised 3D crystal guaranteed to astound and amaze, you must first create the artwork. Both 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional designs can be engraved inside optical crystal.

2D Crystals

Any 2D image, such as a jpg, tiff or png image, can be engraved. The resulting 2D image will not have any depth. Thus, the view of the engraving from the front will be a greyscale replica of the original image, while the side view will be a straight line (akin to the view of a photo from the side).

3D Photo Crystals

A 2D portrait photograph of a person or animal can be converted into 3D by wrapping the textures of the photograph around a 3D shape. This will produce a 180° view of the portrait image.

3D Logos, 3D text and 3D models

Our experienced team of specialist designers can create 3D models of just about anything using dedicated 3D software. Using reference images supplied by the customer, they construct detailed digital 3D designs that can be viewed from all angles. Complex machinery, vehicles, architecture, anatomical and industrial designs look fantastic when engraved inside crystal. Even simple graphics, such as logos and text, can be given depth to convert them into 3D. You can click here to view our gallery of examples.

Video Explaining how 3D Crystals are Made

Video Explaining the difference between 2D and 3D Photo Crystals

Click to view our range of Crystal Trophies and awards

Click to visit our
2D Photo crystal page

Click to visit our
3D Photo Crystal page

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