Awards & Engraving

2019 Laser Engraving Report

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32 l Laser Engraving Report 2019 • I find the results from one pass will differ based on the color of the coating. Blue or colors with a lot of blue in them leave a deep haze regardless of the power or speed set- ting I use. CO 2 lasers use blue light, which is absorbed by the blue in the product's coating. A second pass typically removes the haze or at least most of it. The remaining haze can be cleaned using Spartan SD-20 or LA's Totally Awesome cleaners. Some haze can be left behind regardless of the color of the coating. Leaving the cleaner on for several seconds before wiping it off works well. You can use a soft toothbrush to scrub it gently, but never use harsh cleaners, acids, or rough materials such as sandpaper. You risk damaging the coating or discoloring the product. As most tumblers are made from stain- less steel, the exposed surface will have a brushed silver look. For the artwork to be easily viewed, it must contrast well with the color of the tumbler, so results will differ by color. The brushed stainless steel is mod- estly light in color, so my customers like black, dark blue, and red the most. • Baked-on Powder-Coated Products – I have not seen tumblers made with this hard powder coating; however, I have been asked to laser other products with this baked-on coating. My experience has been that it is not worth the effort as results are often poor, and I have wasted lots of time trying to figure out settings that will work. • No Coating, Polished Metal – Tumblers and mugs are also available without a color coating. They are a shiny brushed silver color. I have not lasered any; however, I sandcarve these with great results and find I can get up to 3 1/2 inches wide in por- trait mode. The result is more subtle. We have samples that have been etched for Try This! Watch this video tutorial on how to laser engrave a tumbler: customers to see and they often like this look. Lasering will have the same restric- tions as to size as discussed. OTHER MARKING METHODS Should you have a rotary device for your laser, you will be able to etch larger artwork and text. As with any equipment, there is always a software and hardware learning curve. Mugs with handles do provide some limitation to the size of your artwork. Gener- ally, that is not an issue for most projects. Where the artwork is placed so the handle does not get in the way can be an issue if the customer wants the lasering close to the handle. UV printing, especially with a rotary device, provides excellent results as well. Many round products can be sublimated with the proper equipment. If you have a large market for tumblers, mugs, and glassware, consider investing in the necessary acces- sories such as a rotary device or mug press for sublimation. If not, know that you can still process a significant number of orders even if your capabilities are more limited. Black and steel provides the best contrast. This Polar Camel lasered clean. Two rulers are used here to help determine the laserable area on a specific tumbler shape. Seen here are different diameter tumblers with estimated laserable areas marked (1/4-inch and 1/2-inch focus depth measured).

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