Awards & Engraving

2019 Laser Engraving Report

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26 l Laser Engraving Report 2019 • Using your fiber laser to create a 3-D effect A s I write this article, it is already time for us all to plan our items for the holiday rush. I'm not sure where the summer went, but it is clear that it's time to prep the holiday items and gear up for the busiest season of all. I don't necessarily want to speak for your sales, but we see a shift away from awards to a lot more gift-type sales for the holidays. For a long time, I tried to nail down the perfect gifts to offer our customers (I think I still have 500 personalizable flashlights hiding here somewhere). I have started to notice a trend within my customer base, and it seems that everyone really likes a custom/handmade item. By that I mean something that is not been seen in stores or promoted heavily by large companies, but something that is unique and custom to the recipient. To help cater to this growing demand, I went back to the drawing board (literally) and started to work on pieces that would truly stand out from other gifts and help set my company apart from the rest. PUSH THE LIMITS Every year I like to design new ornaments and gifts that we can fully produce in-house, and then offer our customers something unique that can turn into cherished family heirlooms. Making these pieces has become one of the highlights for me during this time of the year. Not only do we get to create something new and artistic, but we also get to push the limits of our equipment and even shock ourselves. Some common materials I like to work with are glass, wood, acrylic, and metal. Glass is a fun one — we have a paragon kiln in the shop so we can design an ornament with varying glass pieces and then fuse them all together. Once the glass has fully annealed and cooled down, I like to sandcarve or laser engrave the items with festive designs and custom details. One gift item that has proven to be a great seller is a fused glass wall vase. Pending the final design, I generally blast details on the back of the vase and leave the front full of color. When working with wood, I generally use wood strips from Colo- rado Heirloom and gravitate towards alder, cherry, and mahogany. I chose these three species because they have a beautiful appearance and when laser engraved, you end up with a nice dark mark. When working with the wood strips, we generally use our 75-watt Epilog EXT for the cutting and engraving. A little tip is to cover the wood strip front and back with a light adhesive contact paper to avoid any unwanted marks from cutting and to help with easy cleanup of smoke residue. Since the wood strips are so versatile, they make a great addition to your holiday offerings. I like to use them for ornaments (Baby's First Christmas, Our First Christmas, New Home, etc.) and then DRAWING A BLANK FOR Gift Items By Braden Todd Braden Todd is a second-generation engraver and owner of Glassmith2, located in Boulder, Colorado. Braden's expertise ranges from sandcarving, industrial laser cutting/engraving, UV printing, and the other supporting facets that allow Glassmith2 to consistently provide cutting-edge items to its retail and wholesale customers. Questions and wholesale inquiries are always welcome: One unique gift item is a wall vase — I blast details on the back of the vase and leave the front full of color. ALL IMAGES COURTESY BRADEN TODD

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