Awards & Engraving

June '18

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10 • A&E JUNE 2018 of engraving passes. The bonus to lower engraving resolutions is that the job run time is shorter. Check your laser system's exhaust. Often when visiting engraving shops, I see poorly designed and ineffective exhaust systems connected to the laser system. If you see a cloud of smoke inside the laser when engraving, this indicates a poor air- flow extraction. The result of poor airflow of an extraction system is a fogging of the engraving plastic sheet with residue from the smoke. Removing the hazing and fogging from the smoke residue is time consuming and can lead to a poor-looking final product. BEST PRACTICES: CUTTING Laser cutting plastic sheets should be an easy task as the absorption factor for laser energy is high. A high absorption factor helps make the plastic sheet more laser friendly, but there are still several best practices that should be adhered to for pro- fessional results. Don't be afraid to apply a mask. Prior to laser cutting, apply a masking material to the top surface of the engraving plastic sheet. The masking material protects the top surface from smoke residue created during the laser cutting process. Often a sticky residue is created along the laser cut, and the mask protects the area and achieves a cleaner laser cut. A medium tack paper mask, often called transfer tape, is a great way to go and is easy to peel off after laser cutting of the plastic sheet. Double check the focus. Often it is the simplest part of the process that makes such a huge difference in results. When the focus is off by a fraction of an inch, the laser cutting results can be dramati- cally different. An out-of-focus laser can create burning and melting of the plastic and requires re-running the job due to the reduction in quality. Power down for best results. Much like laser engraving, too much power could have a dramatic effect on the quality of the laser cutting result. Laser cutting with too much power creates a raised ridge along the cut, signaling the need to lower the power set- ting. As a guide for laser power settings, The final engraved and cut name badges. Engraving or cutting with too much power can leave excessive smoke residue.

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