September '22

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1 6 G R A P H I C S P R O • S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 2 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M ENGRAVING To start an engraving business, most shops require a laser engraver that uses lasers to engrave objects, a tool that is versa- tile and user-friendly, says Josh Robertson, market development manager of JDS Sign Supply, a division of JDS Industries in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. "One thing many people overlook are ancillary products that can make your life even easier when working with laser engrav- ers," Robertson says. "Seklema Mats and Rack Stars are very handy items to make engraving a variety of materials efficient and achieve a higher success rate." e two products are placed inside the laser to hold difficult items or to organize a job so that multiple pieces can be engraved at once. Other tools like table sheers, corner rounders, and punches also are important when working with engraving materials, Robertson adds. Some materials may be difficult or impossible to cut using a laser, so having the mechanical tools on hand can help with the desired profile. As for other tools, a good cleaning solution that is safe to use on materials that are engraved helps remove unwanted items from the cut pieces. Certain colors or finishes can redeposit unwanted material into finished areas, causing buildup or faint discoloring. "A proper cleaning solution will quickly wipe away these unwanted items and get you moving on to the next piece," Robertson points out. When purchasing entry-level equipment and machinery, he rec- ommends checking if they work with the design software in use and what kind of training is needed to operate them. "Be up front about what you'll be using your equipment for and be sure the manufacturer or distributor acknowledges that the equipment in question will handle the job," Robertson says. "How far is the service tech away from your facility? When things break, you want to have fast, responsive service." Other questions to ask include how long the manufacturer of the equipment has been around and how old the technology is. Do you really want to be a pioneer for a new product or technol- ogy and be starting a new business? For ancillary gear, Robertson urges researching the product and checking for quality. "Everyone wants to save money, but quality products can go a long way," Robertson urges. "Don't always be concerned with get- ting the job out the door. Make sure it doesn't come back through the door in the form of a failure or complaint." He suggests being open to "new ideas, tips, and tricks to make your life easier," and says, "Not every add-on or product adver- tised to make your life easier will be successful." GP Shelley Widhalm is a freelance writer and editor and founder of Shell's Ink Services, a writing and editing service based in Loveland, Colorado. (Image courtesy Johnson Plastics Plus) Seklema Mats are handy items to make engraving a variety of materials efficient. (Image courtesy JDS Industries) "It'smyfloorpadding.Living inacold-weatherclimate,the floorofmyworkshoptendsto getverycoldinthewinter.I haveinstalledinmyprimary workingareas3/4 " foam squares.Itissoftonmyfeetto walkon,yetfirmenoughtolet cartsrolloverthetop." — Lori Champagne, Champagne Engraving What's your favorite shop tool?

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