Awards & Engraving

2019 Laser Engraving Report

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Laser Engraving Report 2019 l 31 • the text, is lasered in. There will be some graphics with small details and tiny text that just will not work well on coated tumblers. Counseling customers is an important part of getting satisfactory results. I suggest only using pure black-and-white artwork, as grayscale that lasers lighter may not etch out enough of the coating to be visible. If you have to use grayscale artwork, several passes may be necessary or a higher power setting than usual may work for you. I personally don't risk it. Some artwork can be lasered larger in a landscape position (sideways) rather than a portrait position (upright). This is always true for a name. I have seen many people with their name lasered in the landscape position. Using landscape can be a great alternative and should be discussed with the customer up front. Having a sample lasered like this aids in convincing the customer to have their artwork lasered in the position. A tumbler is held in many positions so a portrait position is not always how people will view it. How wide can you laser a tumbler in portrait position and landscape position? While holding a tumbler in upright or por- trait position, notice it curves quickly. For many tumblers, the drop off is about a 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 inch until the laser is out of focus. Your laser has to be focused to some point along the curve. Laser power drops off as the laser light reaches around the curve until there is not enough power to remove the coating and the laser loses focus. Try to keep the total width of the artwork at 2 inches. I have gone as far as 3 inches wide and had reasonable results, but not always. The wider you laser, the riskier the project becomes, and expensive products are easy to ruin. For me, 2 to 2 1/4 inches is what I promise the customer. Where do you focus the laser along this curve? I don't focus the laser at the top of the curve. I focus manually in the range of 1/8 to 1⁄4 down from the top of the curve. The lasering at the top is in focus, yet I can still be well focused at a 1⁄2 inch down from the top. I find you have about a 1⁄2-inch focus range with a standard 2-inch lens. The height of the artwork should not be a problem for a straight tumbler. To determine how much width you will have on a specific tumbler, if you have a 1/2- inch focal range, take a piece of paper and place the tumbler on it upside down. Trace a circle along the edge. Place a ruler straight from edge to edge. With a second ruler, measure where a 1⁄2-inch drop off is and make marks on both edges. Now you can measure the width you have to work with. When lasering in landscape mode on the tumbler, you will find the drop off is much less from left to right. I can generally laser the length of the tumbler without any issues if it is a straight tumbler as long as I have a holding device to keep the tumbler flat. The height of the graphics and text has the same restrictions as with lasering in portrait position. THE TUMBLER HOLDER There are many ways to hold the tumbler flat on your laser table. You may have a generic holder you purchased that works well. I have made several holders that accommodate tumblers and mugs. The key is keeping the tumbler flat and steady. I use clay to work with my holding devices and sometimes it works well on its own. Clay can be shaped and easily built up. It has enough grab to it that nothing slides off of it, yet it is easy to remove cleanly from most products. The photos above show the primary holders I have made and use for many products including the tumblers and mugs. LASER SETTINGS For any of the coated tumblers and mugs, I use a power setting of 100% and adjust the speed of the laser accordingly. The settings will differ based on your laser. Left: my homemade generic holder set up for a tumbler. Right: the generic holder with a tumbler supported for a flat lasering surface. A small level is used to aid in the needed adjustments. • Best prices • No minimums • Largest selection of coating types and sizes • Order online • Ships out same day from several locations • Free technical support 866-241-9881 CerMark Sales is not the manufacturer of CerMark products, but is a master distributor with 20 years experience with laser bonding, laser marking and engraving. For Advertising Inquir ies, Call: 800-669-0424

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