Awards & Engraving

2019 Laser Engraving Report

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Laser Engraving Report 2019 l 27 A-E-mag.com • SDGmag.com as a thank-you gift to our other customers. Last year, we designed ones to resemble the Colorado flag, and had the year and "Thank You" engraved on them. Our customers loved them, and I am sure it helped them see what they could use from us to give thanks to their business's customers, too. One of our other successful avenues for the wood ornaments was to offer them to the local high school. We cut them to the shape of the school's logo, and then added the student's name and graduating year. Everyone absolutely loved them, and the ornaments offer the opportunity for repeat business as they are now a yearly collectable for the student's family. Like wood, acrylic is also a great item that can be used. I highly recommend using cast acrylic only; this is the acrylic that engraves white and is a little more tolerant to crazing down the road. For the acrylic items, I like to make ornaments as well as holiday décor from thicker acrylic. When processing the thicker acrylic, I rely on our Kern laser for the cutting and engraving. Once you have the right speed and power settings, you end up with beautifully flame- polished edges that give the acrylic a sparkling edge. The trees in the photo above, middle were cut from 3/4-inch thick clear acrylic. The trees leave just enough room to customize as gifts, or for customers to have them personalized. CREATING THE 3-D EFFECT Now to get into the really fun part for me: metal. For so long, we haven't been able to cut or even mark metal — this has led to a strong desire to push all the limits and dive deep into using metal for our projects. The item I am introducing this year is one that I have designed and produced myself, and I am proud to say it is even functional: Glassmith2's custom bottle opener ornament. I designed these because I wanted to explore the ornament realm and didn't want something that has been seen before. By incorporating the opener, I can market to those that don't have as much holiday cheer as well as those that love it. I use 14ga stainless steel to ensure they will not bend or flex when used, and then cut them on our Kern laser using their metal cutting option. Once the blanks are done, we have the choice of UV printing them, using CerMark, or using our Radian Laser Systems 3-D 60-watt MOPA galvo fiber laser. Now don't get me wrong; adding a color UV print to these looks amazing and wows the customers, but when you have a fiber laser at your fingertips, you really want to push that envelope. Using personalized ornaments as thank-you gifts keeps customers coming back for repeat orders. I highly recommend using cast acrylic when creating custom gifts; it is more likely to avoid crazing down the road. We designed this bottle opener that makes a great personalized ornament and is also functional. I use 14ga stainless steel to ensure these ornaments/bottle openers will not bend or flex when used. To start a little slower, I made a design for the dads out there: two hops and "Dad's Holiday Cheer" seemed to fit nicely, and the prototype has served me well. The marking on the ornament was done with my Radian fiber laser, and this was an easy and fast mark to accomplish. Since I was going for a shallow, black mark, I ran the laser rela- tively fast with a low frequency and high power setting. The results have been consistently great and well-received by all. Knowing that combination of settings now allows me to apply them to any text or pattern I want to put onto the ornament, and I know that my results will always come out well. I thought about leaving it there and marketing and selling these ornaments to my customers as finished items, or as blanks if they wanted to buy them wholesale to mark and sell to their customers. However, as I mentioned earlier, when you have a fiber laser at your fingertips, the envelope needs to be pushed. I have always loved how CO 2 lasers could engrave 3-D images into wood with the correct design, so I decided to make a call to customer support at Radian to inquire how to do this 3-D effect with my fiber laser. After a brief phone call and lesson on STL files, I was firing up my laser for a test run. On my second attempt, I accidently inverted the image and made a stamping mold because my details were backwards (on a bright note, I plan to try this again for leather stamping). On my third attempt,

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