Laser engraved images

I am trying to understand what is needed to photo engrave on polished black
granite with a laser. From what I have read you could use a 20 watt CO2
laser on a CNC table that allows the laser to navigate over the granite
surface. The laser must engrave a halftone pattern, a matrix of tiny dots
in the stone to create the photo. Has anyone tried this? What type of
hardware/ software would you use?
I have read about some turnkey systems for doing this, the problem is the
cost, they are not cheap. I was hoping if I learn enough about the subject
I may be able to cobble together a home build of some type, or at least know
what to look for in used equipment. Any thoughts on the topic?
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I'd have to agree with some of the previous posters, If you only need a few there are plenty of laser engravers around that can do it for you for a whole lot less than it would cost you to build a machine. If your thinking of mass production or going into the laser engraving business I would buy a turnkey system. Why try to re-invent the wheel. Keep in mind that engraving a bunch of vector lines and adding some raster fills is pretty easy, any simple cnc "router table" type of setup would do it, photo engraving however takes a good bit more control of both motion and laser parameters.
However, if your doing it for the fun and or challenge of making your own system then by all means have fun!
Good Luck George
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I think you right about re-inventing the wheel. I will keep an eye open for used machines for now.
I not sure how difficult it would be to calibrate a laser to run on a CNC table. It would have to engrave a bitmap of a halftone pattern of about 65 dots per inch that would be drawn by the laser in a high resolution pass of 1200 pixels per inch or more. Thanks for your thoughts on the subject. Tim
PS: I am using photo resist and sandblasting to do the work now, just looking for a better way.
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Yes I am using photo-etch and sandblasting now. I am considering moving to a better setup. Thanks Cliff.
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