Awards & Engraving

April '19

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14 • A&E APRIL 2019 their way up to more intricate engravings, such a wedding photographs on canvas or marble," Dallman adds. And while it's overall easy to learn about laser engraving, there are a few challenges you can and will encounter along the way. "Users typically find learning graphic design software the most challenging," observes Dallman, "but once they learn the basics of their software capabilities, they quickly become more adept at designing engraving/cutting artwork for the laser." Scott returns to the earlier point that because there are so many materials avail- able to laser engrave, that in and of itself poses a challenge. "Another challenge beginners face is understanding how to get the best results for laser cutting, marking, or engraving a material," she elaborates. "This challenge can be minimized by purchasing a laser system that offers a materials database with material processing parameters preset for both convenience and optimal results." JUST THE BEGINNING As you move along in your laser engraving endeavors, remember that this information is just the tip of the iceberg. Along with purchasing the basic equipment, training, and familiarizing yourself with the machine, a beginner must also consider the business side of things. "We have found the people who flourish most in this business are those who are creative, sales-oriented, and outside-the-box thinkers," comments Dallman. "If you… are interested in starting a laser engraving/cutting business, there are several questions to ask yourself." For example, explore why you want to start a business and add this technology, what niche you will fulfill, and how you plan to deliver the best service possible. Of course, it goes deeper than that, which is why it's important to continue to work at it. "The more you allow your brain to wander on the laser, is the more comfortable you'll get with being uncom- fortable," Voigt finishes. As beginners get more comfortable with the laser and its settings, they should push the creativity and test the various projects it's capable of. IMAGE COURTESY KERN LASER SYSTEMS

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