November '20

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7 8 L A S E R E N G R A V I N G R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M I magine you are making the decision to purchase your first laser system. This laser system is your start, addition, or change in your career path, and now the ideas and creations you have been thinking about will soon be attainable. Many of our new customers find themselves in this same scenario: trying to justify the reasons their company may need a large-format laser versus a smaller one or another type of tool altogether. This is usually where the journey begins, with this justification phase. Making sure you ask the right questions before the purchase ensures that you do not end up regretting the choice(s) you make. WHEN TO CONSIDER A LARGE-FORMAT LASER This is usually the first question. There are several reasons one should look at a large-format laser, but the most common factors are material size and thick- ness, potential industry growth, new and improved applications, and larger production/volume orders. Working in any of these areas usually justifies the need for a large-format laser. It's probably fair to say most of us have gone to a car lot and drooled over the biggest and nicest vehicles out there but walked away because we couldn't justify the cost of a brand-new vehicle with all the bells and whistles. The new vehicle is likely just a purchase with no profit, but do we really need TV screens on every seat in the car? More than likely, you bought the car that provided the features you needed, like good gas mileage if you drive long distances. Buying a large-format laser (or any laser for that matter) should make sense; specifically, it should justify a potential profit, production value, or potential growth for your company. This comes in various ways for all of our customers. For example, in the case of Spider Johnson, Marquetry Artist, his search was for production value: Johnson was looking for a way to increase pro- duction. As a professional artist whose work included hand-cutting wood with either a scroll saw or an X-Acto knife, his production capabilities were limited to how much he could manually process each day. It was around that time he saw a laser demonstration at a trade show and started to wonder if a laser could be the thing to help him increase production. L A S E R E N G R A V I N G R E P O R T 2 0 2 0 Large- Format Journey Before you purchase a large-format laser, consider these points B Y A D A M V O I G T I Journey B Y A D A M V O I G T Journey B Y A D A M V O I G T Journey Johnson was an old-school artist that had the vision of volume and large scale. However, the learning curve from hand tools to a large-format laser system was completely new territory for him. With no idea how to operate the system, or much less put the machine together, Johnson dove headfirst into the large-format laser arena. TRIALS AND ADVANTAGES In Johnson's case, the idea of laser power wattage combined with the speed of the cut was a brand-new equation for him. Prior to this, if the blade was spinning or his hands here pushing, he was making art. In any case of new machinery or appli- cation, there is a learning curve. In this specific situation, it was a couple days of training on Johnson's new 52˝ X 50˝ laser system, and a couple phone calls to support to feel comfortable with this new process and testing his materials.

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