Awards & Engraving

December '17

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A&E DECEMBER 2017 • a-e-mag.com 21 If you're not sure that the work piece is correctly placed, you can outline the graphic with vector hairlines and run a slow-speed, no-power job to double check before running the job. Do this before you've re-coated the work piece or you may not be able to see the old markings. When you need something precise, try this method; it involves applying the marking material only to the part of the graphic that needs to be remarked, so there is no way you can accidently mark the work piece in the wrong spot. First, cut painters or masking tape with the laser to the shape of the repair and apply it where you'd like the mark to be. Next, apply the marking material; using a small brush will work. After it dries, remove the tape. Line it up with a no-power vector hair- line job. Mark a slightly larger area than the shape of the repair. For lettering, I just add a 1-point outline. This will allow for the area of repair to be slightly off in relation to its original position; however, only that area with the marking material will be marked. Run the job, clean off the residue, and the repair is complete. REPAIRING THE INSULATED CUP Let's go back to my partially marked insulated cup in the rotary device. I lost my center-center engraving home position, so how do I get that back? Because I did several of these insulated cups and have the potential to do many more, I wanted the position of the graphic to be consistent, so I had recorded the new home position of the X-axis on the drawing page. In this case, I moved the home posi- tion 2.65 inches to the right. You can read this dimension on the control panel screen prior to setting the new home position. Because I did not remove the work piece, the X position of the graphic would be accurate when I reset home to that posi- tion. But where do I set the work piece to get back to the Y-axis starting position? With the rotary, there is no Y position to set; it's located on the work piece by positioning it in the proper place. For center-center, it would be where the center of the graphic is supposed to be on the work piece. The partially marked work piece rotated a few lines before the power was cut and remained out of position. I did have a piece of tape on the rim, marking the approximate Y position relative to the logo on the work piece. This, at least, got me in the ballpark. To find the exact position, I created a hairline outline of the graphic and ran that as a no-power, low-speed job. When the red dot got to the small section that was marked, I used the STOP key to pause the job on a node. It was then a matter of rotating the work piece, being careful not to move it in the X-axis, until the corre- sponding node lined up with the red dot. Please note that it is important to make sure that your raster and vector jobs are syn- chronized. If not, the engraving will be off. Do a test on some scrap material to make sure. Once satisfied that everything was properly lined up, I ran the original job to complete the graphic. As you can see by the photo on the upper left of this page, it turned out well. Mistakes happen and problems occur. Sometimes you just have to take the loss and move on. Think about this, however: You've got skills and a powerful and accu- rate machine. There is almost always a solu- tion to every problem. Don't give up too quickly and don't forget to analyze the error and find out the root cause. It can help minimize similar problems in the future. Have you had any successful saves? I'd like to hear about them and maybe share them in a future article. You may be helping a fellow craftsperson out of a jam. Send your stories and photos to me at coolaser@ sbcglobal.net. Jim Puentes opened COOLaserCraft in 2008, providing his clients with marking, cutting and fabrication services. Contact Jim at jptreeman@sbcglobal.net. Laser Engraving Through careful proceedings, I was able to correct the cup that had a partial marking on it. How to Check Your Raster/ Vector Synchronization Draw an object of any shape (a square is a good option). Fill the shape with black and make the outline a hairline (or whatever cues your laser to cut rather than engrave). Run a job that will print the fill and cut the hairline using only enough power on the cut to make a mark rather than cut all the way through. Check up close to see if the cut line is even with the edges of the engraved areas on all sides. Repeat this in each corner of your work area as well as on the rotary device. If everything lines up, you're good to go. If not, check your manual or with your manufacturer's technical support team for instructions on how to get them in sync. A&E

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