Start Here October '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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78 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 1 8 of engraving jobs using the advanced and fast mirror system. If larger work areas are an important part of your business, consider the plotter style or gantry laser systems. With bed sizes ranging from a tabletop 12 by 18 inches to super-sized 4 by 8 feet, there are plenty of bed size choices to fit your business type. Still plenty fast for engraving, the gantry- style laser system moves the engraving head in that familiar back-and-forth motion or raster mode. High-volume engravers like the larger bed systems to fit multiple parts across the engraving bed, making using of the engraving head movement of the gantry-style laser. Many smaller items can be engraved in-mass using a fixture or jig to hold them in place. All around the more flexible of the two laser system designs, the gantry style of laser is also an affordable and reliable tool for your laser engraving shop. Whichever laser system you choose, be sure to consider safety. The design of the laser system is what qualifies it for various safety categories. Monitored by the FDA, laser system manufacturers have a rigid design criteria that must be adhered to. Class 1 and Class 3 categorized systems are always the safest and best for in-shop use. Class 4 laser systems have the lowest level of safety, so operation must include safety goggles and other requirements to avoid potential contact with the laser. Exhaust – Part of the Laser System A byproduct of the laser engraving pro- cess is smoke; a safe method to evacuate the smoke residue is required. Two types of exhaust systems are available depend- ing on your budget and shop design. An exhaust fan is an affordable method to expel the smoke generated from the laser engraving process. Be sure to seal and tape your duct work and make sure the exhaust design meets local building codes. The size of the exhaust fan depends on the length of the duct work used. Lingering smoke in the laser system is an indicator of an inadequate exhaust fan or poorly designed duct work. Another option to removing the smoke from your laser is to use a filtration sys- tem. These smoke-eating systems have an Ancillary tools such as CerMark and clean- ing supplies are also important to have in your laser engraving business. (Image courtesy JDS Industries) There are hybrid laser systems available that accommodate all laser material types and are a combination of both a fiber and CO 2 lasers in one system. (Image courtesy Epilog Laser) LASER ENGRAVING Pick one or two markets to start with and create a successful busi- ness wrapped around those markets.

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