April '22

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 94 of 120

A W A R D S & C U S T O M I Z A T I O N Y O U R L A S E R A T W O R K | B O B H A G E L 8 8 G R A P H I C S P R O A P R I L 2 0 2 2 G R A PH I C S - PR O.C O M KEY LESSONS I LEARNED ALONG THE WAY E xperience is a great teacher. I learned many lessons along the way — some the hard way. I wanted to share some of these valuable experiences with you. HOW WILL I MANAGE A COMPLEX LASER? My laser was a simpler machine than I rst thought. Learn how lasers work by going to a trade show or another location where the laser manufacturer has a sales and technical team. Spend time learn- ing how it works before researching laser specications you think you need. Understanding how the machine works will help you select the right specications and understand the im- portance of them in relation to the use of your laser. Understand the parts that will wear out and how they will be re- placed. Most lasers are well designed and you or someone you know that is mechanically handy can replace most of the parts. You should also know where the closest repair technician is to where your business will be. If you need their services, you will have to pay for travel time and expenses. MY LASER WENT DOWN IN THE MIDDLE OF A JOB Know which parts are most likely to wear out and create an emergency kit with each one. I remember the panic in the early days when my laser would stop working or have what I consid- ered a major problem. Anything that would prevent me from delivering a job on time was a major issue. After a few panic sessions I got the idea to create an emergency repair kit. I gained enough experience that I usually knew what was wrong. I almost always had the laser back working after a few hours. Having an emergency repair kit and some great technical support just a phone call away made all the dierence. I also avoided the large overnight shipping charges during my emergencies. I could replace parts I used at my leisure and with regu- lar shipping. INVESTING IN YOUR PRIMARY TOOLS Look at how much you spend on your primary tools as investments and not expenses. Buy qual- ity. Your laser and cutters and perhaps some other equipment will become workhorses and in use many hours each day. Poor quality and unmaintained equipment can ruin a lasered product. It costs money, frus- tration and perhaps the loss of a client. ere are tools that will be less important or infrequently used that can be of lesser quality. I bought lots of small hand tools at Harbor Freight and never had a problem. e quality is good without the higher cost. Howev- er, I would not consider buying my laser or cutting shears there. NEVER STOP LEARNING ABOUT YOUR CRAFT Learning new things about en- graving, graphics or about ma- terials and products will help keep you focused, enthused, Lasers look more complex than they are mechanically. (All images courtesy Bob Hagel)

Articles in this issue

view archives of GRAPHICS PRO - April '22