Awards & Engraving

April '20

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8 a-e-mag.com • A&E APRIL 2020 W hen it comes to personalizing products with your laser, cus- tomers tend to only see the end result. They don't see the time and expertise it takes to go from design to fin- ished product. As engravers, we are often expected to take less-than-desirable images or graphics and create a picture-perfect gift or keepsake, or find ways to personalize a product that requires some prep work before engraving. In this article, we take a look at some technical advice engravers can use to over- come some of these obstacles. Our focus is on photo engraving, less-than-perfect artwork, and metal marking with a CO 2 system. PHOTO ENGRAVING Laser engraving photographs continues to be a popular laser application, especially on substrates like wood, leather, marble, or painted canvas. However, laser opera- tors sometimes get discouraged when they can't produce the same quality images with their machines that they see online or at trade shows. There's no one right way to engrave photos. A lot of it is personal preference learned through experimentation, but there are a few techniques that virtually anyone who laser engraves photos finds useful. • Starting out: If you're new to photo engraving, the first thing you should do is set aside some quiet time to practice and get familiar with the pro- cess. As with any technique, photo engraving takes time to perfect. • Image quality: Not all photos are going to engrave well. Photos that laser best are photos that contain a wide range of light to dark shades and everything in between. Photos with large areas of a single color typically do not engrave well, especially when working with wood. • Substrates: Photos are going to engrave differently from one material to the next, and your settings will vary as well. A photo that engraves beauti- fully on marble may not look as good on glass. Something that looks stun- ning on wood may not produce the same contrast on slate. As you become more adept at photo engraving, deter- mining which substrate engraves the best will become more intuitive. Amy Dallman is the marketing communications specialist with Epilog Laser. In this role, Amy creates many of Epilog's communications, such as newsletters, case studies, and press releases. She also heads up Epilog's public relations efforts. Amy can be reached at amyd@epiloglaser.com or toll free 888-437-4564. By Amy Dallman Photos, less-than- perfect graphics, and metal marking with a CO 2 laser Technical Laser Tips

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