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Laser Engraving

Whether you are a laser pro or novice, there is always something new to learn about laser engraving. Whether it’s expanding your core market; adding new products like signage, gifts, or rubber stamps; or learning new techniques; these articles will help you maximize the productivity and profitability of your laser engraver.

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By all accounts, Mike Westbrook’s Mile High Laser Engraving shop is new, having just opened in 2014. But there’s nothing new about the day-to-day work for Mike: For years prior to the business’ opening, his various jobs had him trekking the industry’s familiar terrain of engraving products, hunting down sales and overseeing online product distribution.

As the year progresses, awards and personalization members face no shortage of challenges: supply chain delays, inflation, labor strains and more. In this climate, making the most of the equipment you already have isn’t just helpful—it’s vital. If costs rise elsewhere, after all, greater in-house efficiency can help pick up the slack.

From all indications, the demand for laser engraved tumblers continues to grow—and grow. However, most laser owners could use tools to be more efficient in getting finished products out the door.

True, fiber lasers aren’t exactly new. After all, they’ve been used for decades in industrial applications. But fiber lasers have recently gained ground in the personalization industry, with smaller shops even reaping benefits from investing in such equipment. That’s in part because fiber lasers offer more versatility with metal applications than CO2 lasers and are faster and easier to use than mechanical engravers. The global fiber laser marking machine market is projected to have a 10.9% compound annual growth rate from 2017 to 2024, according to research that Research Nester compiled and released last year.

UV direct-to-substrate printing is a great technique for creating stylish and useful products for your customers. If you are ready to take your everyday UV printing techniques to the next level, combining UV-printed products with laser techniques can offer enhanced efficiencies for high-volume products while adding another dimension to the artwork. Here’s a nine-step guide for merging the best of both worlds.

Arlington, TX-based Engraving Concepts, which provides laser cutting, engraving, and metal marking services, is celebrating its 50th year in business. This year also marks 3 decades of the company representing the Epilog Laser brand. Along the way, Engraving Concepts has also added other made-in-America equipment: TYKMA/Electrox, Kern Laser Systems, and Direct Color Systems.

My wife, Lura, has figured out that finding gifts throughout the year in preparation for the holidays prevents needless stress during an already busy season. I have yet to adopt this philosophy but someday hope to hone this skill as well. There is sure to be last-minute shopping in the near future.

One of the versatile and inspiring aspects of a laser is that it can be used to engrave the graphics that will be the focal point of your finished item, and it can also be used to cut out the parts and pieces that will be used to produce the rest of your project. Many projects can make use of the laser’s ability to produce crisp, clean, and custom graphics; some can leverage the laser machine as a fabrication tool; and others can make use of both capabilities.

Selecting the right lens can be the key to achieving perfect results with your CO2 laser system. The parameters are set, the focus is adjusted, but somehow the engraving is not precise. Has this ever happened to you? This error is most likely a lens issue. The correct lens is just as essential as the parameters and optimal focus adjustment. To select the proper lens, you must consider the output of the laser device, the material type and thickness that you are processing, and the detail level and resolution (dpi) of the graphics.

Before I opened Champagne Engraving in Michigan, I operated a shop in Carlsbad, CA, that was famous for being able to engrave anything, from apple pies to zippers. Jigs were key to us gaining that reputation. Trial and error led to experience, allowing us to create jigs to personalize odd-shaped items.

How do you create jigs that keep your product where it belongs without crushing it? It depends on whether you're using a laser or a mechanical engraver. Let's start with the laser.

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