Awards & Engraving

December '17

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18 a-e-mag.com • A&E DECEMBER 2017 by Jim Puentes YOUR LASER AT WORK When I saw the partially marked cup, I did not panic. Most importantly, I resisted the urge to remove the cup from the machine. I didn't have a spare cup, so I decided to fix the problem. DON'T PANIC Has something similar ever happened to you? Did you toss the work piece or try to fix it? Do you have clients bringing in pieces with mistakes on them, asking you to repair them? Working with a laser is complex. It's not just pressing a button. Getting great results depends on a lot of hardware, moving parts, electronics, connections, software, graphics, materials, and most importantly, humans. When everything goes right, the finished product can be awe-inspiring. With so much involved, however, a lot can go wrong. When something goes wrong, and believe me it will, there may be panic. But there also may be a way out. Most of us have experienced something go wrong. There are many causes, but when you get right down to it, there is usually a single root cause: human error. Sure, we can break down causes into several categories— mechanical problems, data problems—but if you look deep enough, the path usually leads back to human error. It may be lack of maintenance, inferior manufacturing, or poor design that is at the root of mechanical issues. Failure to keep optics clean, belts at the proper tension, elec- tronics from overheating, and cooling fins clean can lead to many performance issues. You may call a cracked lens a mechanical issue, but I say the cause is lack of mainte- nance and, therefore, human error. I t was the end of a long day of marking insulated cups. The last one of the day was turning in the rotary, so I decided to start put- ting things away to close up the studio. Suddenly, the machine stopped—something had gone terribly wrong. I had accidentally brushed up against the emergency stop button on my machine, shutting off the power, but not before a small part of the graphic was marked. When Things Go Terribly Wrong TROUBLESHOOTING TIPS FOR LASER MISTAKES I had accidently brushed up against the emergency stop button on my machine, shutting off the power, but not before a small part of the graphic was marked. ALL IMAGES COURTESY JIM PUENTES

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