I've been playing with this laser cutter at work and as I'm only etching the surface of what this tool can do, I'm getting really happy with some of the results I get.

I've found a workflow that works pretty nitely while working on this project.

  •  Google image search for an image of interest (tree), activate "Search Tools" and filter on size:large and color:black&white.
  • Import the image on in Pixlr (Photosh or any other image editing tool will do just as good)
  • Crank up the contrast until you have only pure blacks and whites
  • Bring into Illustrator
  • Trace image (vectorize)
  • Make correction
  • Check for path duplicates (somehow Illustrator seems to generates dups when image tracing), delete dups manually, or use the layer pane to identify and bulk delete
  • Load up your laser cutting machine, make it do what it does
  • Sand, varnish, hang.