Awards & Engraving

April '18

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A&E APRIL 2018 • a-e-mag.com 15 Laser Engraving I'll explain and expand on these key items and more in an upcoming article dedicated to working with glass ball orna- ments just in time for the holidays. And I'll have a new technique worked out by then, too. GETTING TO THE NEXT LEVEL You do not have to take all of your items to the next level, at least not all at once. Make a list of what you do and focus on what you are most passionate about or what you do best. Do not jump in at a high level. There are no shortcuts. Without going through the basics and working out the processes, you will be frustrated. It takes hard work, perseverance, and time to work through everything. Most likely an item that you're pas- sionate about is one that you do well. You may already be above the basic level and have all of the basic processes worked out. Now you have to decide what addi- tional techniques and skills are necessary to make your item stand out. You can draw on the skills you've developed for your other items or learn new ones. Try adding color or making them out of another material. Add textures or relief carved graphics. I do relief carving pri- marily on wood items, but the technique is transferable to other materials — it works well on acrylic. You'll have failures that you'll learn from, and a few successes. It takes time and effort to push your work toward something unique. Once you have it, you'll separate yourself from the pack. Don't discard your low-end items — consumers like to have "good, better, best" choices. But believe me when I say that the market for high-end items is out there. The consumers that purchase these want something unique and are willing to pay a premium for them. When you succeed, you find that the improvement process never really ends. There are always competitors right behind you wanting a share of your market. Do not forget where you are, how you got there, and that you are the one that is looking back at them. You can find the graphic limitations of your specific machine and lens on a glass ball ornament by engraving a series of concentric 2-point circles at 0.125-inch incre- ments on the ornament. Focus at the highest point and center engrave using that highest point as the home position. Check to see how far out and down the ornament you are getting acceptable results. That is your graphic size limit. There will be some distortion as the engraving goes down the side of the ornament that should be considered as well when determining what is acceptable or not. In my case, for my machine, I limit my graphics to a 1 1/4-inch square for a 2.625-inch diameter ornament. When using the rotary, I limit the width only of the engraving to the same 1 1/4 inches. The top right ornament is done without the rotary but is limited in size. The bottom is done with the rotary and limited only in height. The front is a combination of techniques. A&E GRAPHIC LIMITATIONS: GLASS BALL ORNAMENT

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