Awards & Engraving

September '16

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22 a-e-mag.com • A&E SEPTEMBER 2016 PAVER PROJECTS While the use of a laser combined with sandcarving can be used to mark pavers, there is yet another way of engraving them with a laser. If you have attended any sort of industry trade show, you have likely seen the offerings of LaserSketch. LaserSketch, based out of Romeoville, Illinois, specializes in a wide variety of products aimed at laser engravers. One of its biggest selling products is its Las- erBrick, which is a red clay-based street paver. The real advantage of this product is that you simply laser engrave your graphics directly onto the face of the paver without the use of masks or paint filling. The laser essentially melts the surface and turns the graphics into black glass. I had a chance to ask Jim McCreary, President of LaserSketch, a few questions regarding his special pavers. McCreary, who has a Ph.D. in physics and in chem- istry, released this special product about four years ago and says, "Weather has no effect on the laser engraving. The pavers are being used in the USA, Canada and Mexico." His LaserBricks are available in multiple sizes, including 4-by-8 and 8-by-8 inch. LaserSketch also offers the Mini-Brick, which measures 2 7/8 by 1 3/8 by 1/2 inch and can be used as a keepsake. McCreary recommends that a "50 watt (laser) or better" is ideal when using his LaserBricks. On average, a 4-by-8-inch paver with two lines of basic text and 13 characters per line takes approxi- mately 10 minutes, says McCreary. Of course, with a less powerful laser, it would take longer to complete the same task. F o r a n y o n e who has used the LaserBrick before, you may have found some white residue left over after laser engraving. According to McCreary, "The white residue is cerium oxide, (which) will wash off with water and a brush." Additionally, he suggests that you need to lower your laser power or raise the engraving speed if you encounter the white residue. McCreary shares that when using his LaserBricks, the projects are "very easy and very profitable." Dave Schwartz, Hoosier Lasers in Hunt- ingburg, Indiana, keeps his Universal and Trotec lasers busy with paver projects like this. Schwartz states the average fundraising project will see anywhere from 200 to 400 pavers completed for the initial order. "For a brick paver project to be successful, it needs to be tied to an event such as a new football field, new playground or a church parking lot," says Schwartz. His recommen- dation for anyone looking at expanding his or her business to engraved pavers is to "develop a nice brochure and mail it to all your local organizations, churches and schools." Schwartz even provides his clients with customized order forms, making it easier for them to raise funds. "It's a tremendous opportunity for any organization to raise capital funds for a project," says Schwartz. He also mentions that "people and companies enjoy seeing their own personalized paver." With the understanding of the two basic types of pavers and the various ways these pavers can be engraved, you just might be able to add another revenue stream to your laser engraving business. Perhaps your next business project will not exactly be paved in gold, but rather in personalized pavers. Richard Korbyl manages the family business, Columbia Awards, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He has been involved with the awards industry for over 20 years. If you have any questions or comments, contact Richard at 1-780-438-3266 or rkorbyl@columbia- awards.com. LASER ENGRAVING APPLICATIONS Laser Engraving For porous products like concrete pavers, you still need to utilize a sandblaster. LaserBricks, available from LaserSketch, allow you to simply laser mark the surface of a paver without the use of masks or paint. LaserBricks are available in numerous sizes, including a mini-brick, which is ideal for keepsakes. IMAGES COURTESY LASERSKETCH IMAGE COURTESY RICHARD KORBYL A&E

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