Awards & Engraving

April '18

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A&E APRIL 2018 • a-e-mag.com 29 THE RIGHT LOCATION If you aren't sure whether a router even belongs in an awards retail shop, you may be surprised to know it does under the right circumstances. Like any decorating technology, it's only as good as the market that supports it, and you don't want to dive in if it's not right for you. "With the advances in technology and different cutting options from high-pow- ered spindles to multi-head knife units, a router can process a huge array of mate- rials," says Robert Marshall, AXYZ Inter- national. The degree of flexibility these machines offer is desirable among many retailers who are looking to become one- stop shops. "With the introduction of a CNC router, awards retailers can target larger market segments as a router can cut pretty much anything," he expands. For example, there are some jobs that a laser engraver just isn't right for. "The biggest advantage of a router over a laser — or in addition to a laser — is the ability to cut with a beveled edge and to perform three-dimensional cuts," states Chuck Donaldson, Antares Inc. Steve Alvarez, Laguna Tools, expands on this point. "A CNC (router) is a great complement to a laser," he believes. "Many awards and trophies consist of several dif- ferent types of materials. The laser can raster extremely intricate designs but is limited in its cutting and cannot create deep reliefs. The router can assume this role perfectly." Perhaps you're one of those shops that is interested in what a router can do but doesn't have the capability to purchase the equipment and tools. There is, of course, the contract option. "In general, I would prefer doing the jobs in house to have closer control on the quality of a job," Donaldson states, "however, if you cannot keep a router running with frequent jobs, it would be more cost effective to outsource the work." Regardless of the method of employment, it's safe to say routers have a place in an awards shop. NEXT STOP, BENEFITS One driving factor behind the decision to adding routing services is the jobs it can perform. When exploring whether this equipment is right for your shop, consider the many uses it has across several markets. Marshall provides a hefty list of projects routers are capable of completing: general Awards shops interested in adding this equipment should consider the size and electrical requirements it brings. IMAGE COURTESY AXYZ INTERNATIONAL Top Five Tips for Running a Router Chuck Donaldson, Antares Inc. 1. Training, training, training. The potential of a machine is severely limited if you don't utilize its capa- bilities, including understanding how to create files and output them to the machine. 2. Always use a sharp tool. 3. Use different tools for dif- ferent applications. Tools are made specifically for materials based on how hard the material is to cut. There are also different tool shapes for varied applications. 4. Try changing the spindle rpm and the XY feed rates to balance a quality cut with completing a job quickly. 5. Allow the tool to dwell (or pause) after it plunges down into the material. This gives the tool a chance to clear the chips before continuing its cut. Even half a second is enough to help the tool last longer and perform better.

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