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Cut with CNC and Engrave with a laser?

I apologize if I missed another thread. I don’t own a laser yet, but have a few projects in mind where I would probably want to cut the shape of the material with the CNC and then laser etch (or vice versa) on the shape. For example a map. What would be the best workflow for to keep everything correctly aligned? What software would I use? And would this work with one of the lasers (like the jtech) that can just attach to the x-carve?

Thanks for the help in advance. This community is so incredible for a newbie like me. I just want to have a plan before I discuss this with the household budget committee.

I have a laser cutter on hand and I find the easiest way to do this is to lay down a dummy material (I lightly secure it with tape in the machine) in the laser cutter before putting the part that you want etched inside, then in the laser software etch out the exact same profile of the piece that you cut on the xcarve (I usually etch at very low power and slightly burn thick manilla paper as the dummy material). This gives you a reference point to line up your piece.

Now line up your piece inside of the laser on that etched profile. Next, import the image that you want etched (I have to keep the profile border around it so that everything stays lined up) and turn off the profile/border as we don’t want that etched. Not sure how your software would work for the laser cutter you will be getting, but I make the profile/border of the part a different color from the etched part and that allows me to turn off “layers” in my software. Then just run the laser so that it etches out your engraving on the pre-cut piece.

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Ahhh good point, I overlooked that!

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