Start Here October '20

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26 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 2 0 PRODUCT HOLDING DEVICES You will discover the need for a variety of holding devices for many different kinds of products. This may be as simple as making sure a product doesn't move during lasering, to hold- ing a product so the engraving area is flat. There are several good holding devices available from laser manufac- turers and industry suppliers. I have always found I needed some- thing else to supplement a holding device or something completely different, so I've made my share of devices. I have found a few low-cost, store-bought items to be useful. One small box of modeling clay has lasted me 18 years. It is moldable and sticks well enough to my laser table but is easy to remove without leaving residue on the product. A peg board with 1⁄4-inch round dow- els available at hardware stores serves me well. I have cut and glued these to form many holding devices. Sheet acrylic and wood can easily be cut by your laser to make holders. The hardware store is full of products and materials that can be used to hold products in place. Even bolts and nuts can be useful. Note: Anything metal that you use for a holding device should be covered in felt wherever it comes in contact with products. For holding sheet acrylic or wood flat, I use iron metal square rods and flat bars purchased from a hardware store and cut to desired lengths. Some laser tables are made from steel, so strong magnets can be used to hold down materials. Thin acrylic can even be held down with name badge magnets. MAINTENANCE Maintenance is key. Talk to tech sup- port before you buy. You are selecting them as well as the laser, and they will become a big part of your team. Keep your machine in great working order, and keep it clean. This helps you keep your products you hand to your customer clean. A clean laser also wid- ens the timeframe between parts replace- ment and repairs. Cleaning your lens fre- quently provides more detailed engrav- ing and longer lasting optics. Vacuum your laser bed and every nook and cranny of the laser at least once a year. This also allows you to inspect it for worn parts and helps you become familiar with its Laser Engraving My emergency laser repair kit contains the X-axis motor, encoder assembly, encoder strip, flex cable to the encoder, X-axis belt, and extra lens-cleaning fluid. Part of my collection of the many product holders created over my many years of lasering. A homemade holder for flat bottles, pens, and many other products. The stop on the left allows quick bottle replacement for center-center lasering of a multi-piece job.

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