February '21

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 1 F E B R U A R Y G R A P H I C S P R O 7 9 few minutes," notes Dean. "Over 90% of our customers already have graphic experience because they are doing subli- mation or something along those lines." David Stevens, Trotec Laser, agrees that learning the graphics software is the hard- est part. "If the user is already well-versed with a graphics program, the next step is the preparation of the designs specifically for la- ser processing," he says. DIFFERENT SUBSTRATES It is important to learn how a laser reacts to a variety of materials, which can take time and some trial and error. "Some manufac- turers offer additional online educational resources as well as in-person workshops that will support your ongoing laser knowl- edge. With these means, the user can learn quickly and easily from step-by-step tutori- als, get their questions answered promptly, and become comfortable with the laser," Stevens states. Some offer customers cheat sheets with the speed and power necessary to engrave on different substrates. "For instance, wood is typically medium speed and high power because the wood absorbs laser energy so you have to slow the machine down, unless you have a 120 watt and then you can run full speed," Dean says. "For lasers that are 50 watt or 60 watt, you have to slow the laser down so that you get enough depth into the wood." But if a laser engraver goes too slowly over wood, it can leave a charred mark, notes Voigt. It also depends on the type of wood being cut or engraved. Some woods are more porous than others and will leave grains behind when engraving. Hardwoods are always a good choice. Engraving plastics is different. "Vaporiz- ing the cap sheet on engraver's plastic can be done at high speed. Those are the two pri- mary variables that control the laser: speed and power," Dean states. For glass, the laser should be on medium speed and high power but, says Dean, you might want to adjust the artwork to 70% or 80% fill as opposed to being 100% be- cause when the laser hits the glass, it chips the engraving surface. If you reduce the fill, you aren't applying as much heat to the glass overall and it doesn't chip as much. HAVING TROUBLE DECIDING ON A LASER? ASK YOURSELF THESE SIMPLE QUESTIONS: TROTECLASER.COM Trotec Laser USA Trotec Laser USA Speed Quality Reliability

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