Awards & Engraving

March '16

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26 • A&E MARCH 2016 ENGRAVING MATERIALS There are many choices when it comes to engraving mate- rials and substrates. Most engraving shops offer more than one engraving service, so it's good to have a reputable and knowl- edgeable supplier. Some popular material types include: Plastic Laminates—heat bendable, impact resistant and scratch resistant, these materials are great for generic signage, ADA sig- nage, badges, trophy plates and more. Typically offered in one- ply, two-ply or three-ply, these materials can be UV-stable for outdoor applications, have micro surfaces for detailed engraving, or can even be made from ABS plastic for a more economical choice. Some plastics have been optimized specifically for laser engraving versus rotary-only engraving. Metallics—metal substrates are nice but can be expensive. Most suppliers manufacture plastic that looks like metal to save time and money for engravers. Metallic plastics also reduce the risk of oxidation. Metals—not all applications can use plastic. Some popular metal substrates include brass, anodized aluminum, stainless steel, etc. Be aware: These materials can be affected by the environment (such as oxidation). THE SOFTWARE LEARNING CURVE Each computer-driven engraving machine is controlled by a software design system. With this system, some training is required. As I previously pointed out, engraving can be as simple or as complicated as you like. There are multiple types of software systems for engravers. Gravostyle is one example of a soft- ware system developed by Gravotech for operating Gravograph engraving machines a s we l l a s o t h e r e n g r av i n g m a c h i n e s. Gravotouch is another software system from Gravotech designed for Gravograph machines that is run from a touchscreen computer or tablet. This is a picture-driven software system that has pre-programmed templates for specific items in your store. There is other design software out there that you should be familiar with. One of the most common software systems in this industry is CorelDraw. There are many versions available. With any software, it's important to learn it, in and out, before use. This will make your life much easier once projects and orders start flowing in. PRICING Of course, the ultimate goal for any engraving business is to make money. To do so, you need to set up some sort of pricing plan. Once you've got all the right equipment, ask yourself, how can I easily create a pricing structure for my customers? This can be accomplished by using a relatively simple formula: • Minimum Charge—to cover the time setting up the job. • Origination Charge—to cover the time required to create any logos or artwork. Those just beginning in the engraving industry not only need an engraving machine, but also ancillary tools such as a beveller, a corner shaper and an automatic plate feeder.

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