Yesterday I got my 17" MacBook Pro laser engraved, and I'm extremely excited about the results:
Overall the process is actually fairly simple - the artwork gets loaded into CorelDraw (oh how we were missing Illustrator) and then you print the design just like any other document. The printer driver allows you to select the settings for the laser engraver such as power, resolution, and dithering modes. After a test run on paper to ensure everything was lined up properly, we etched directly onto the laptop.
The hardest part was picking out and customizing the artwork. It is permanent, and as such the task of choosing artwork made me feel like I was getting a tattoo. Because I earn my living as a Flash Developer and I spend much of my day working on my laptop, the design had to be something I was sure would stand the test of time. For that reason I decided to choose something that had a retro feel, but also a bit organic and edgy. I think that was accomplished with this design, and once the process was finished I felt I had chosen correctly.
A big thanks to Joe at Engrave here in Portland, Oregon for spending a few hours helping me get everything perfect. Joe posted a few photos we took (including the two above) to his Flickr account last night, and the design is already getting some great feedback.
Update: Here's a short video I shot with my small Canon Powershot last night of the laser in action:
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.jonnymac.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/engraving_video.swf" height="340" width="400" /]
Update 2: Looks like someone posted this to Digg! Also, I've gotten a few emails asking about the artwork. It is an illustration I found on iStockPhoto, which I then put a few hours into customizing. So yes, it is unique, but you can find a similar illustration on iStockPhoto.