Awards & Engraving

April '20

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A&E APRIL 2020 • 15 Laser Engraving If after all this you still have no idea who or what you will focus on, I suggest you buy a used CO 2 laser with a 30- to 50-watt tube. A 12-by-24-inch table size will serve you well until you discover the niches you want to focus on. Should you select a niche requiring a different laser or simply decide you want a new laser, keep the used laser as a backup or second laser to improve productivity during busy times or for large jobs. Here are a few general guidelines that are useful in selecting a laser: • Acrylic, laserable metal, and wood sheet material for making plates and products is available from industry suppliers in 12-by-24-inch sheets. • If you focus mostly on making tro- phies, 30 to 40 watts does the job well; 50 to 60 watts is better for a lot of cutting. Bigger than 60 watts is useful in cutting plastic or wood thicker than 1/8 of an inch. • Baseball bats, shovel handles, axes, and other long tools and sporting equip- ment need a wide laser bed in the 36- to 48-inch range. • Lasering a lot of glassware including bottles, mugs, tumblers, and other round products warrants an investment into a rotary device for your laser. • Lasering large quantities of products such as promotional items can be served best with a larger table size and a new camera system. • Mixing technologies such as UV print with laser cutting works much better with a camera system, as reg- istration for the cutting operation is much quicker and more accurate. Custom-made storage for flat stock and cut pieces. It's wise to keep these items located near your laser. Part of my collection of the many product holders created over my many years of lasering. Your niche will guide you in selecting the right laser technologies.

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