Laser Engraving Control – guest post

Today’s post comes courtesy of Tim Mathes II, he is a Laser Operator at Superior Labels based in Betterndorf, Iowa United States. He has sent it through as this product has been very beneficial to him in assisting with laser operations and thought other laser users may benefit too. Thanks for thinking of us Tim! This is a direct reproduction of an article by PI Engineering found here.

Laser Engraving Control

XKE-128

“Your product has helped me so much with speed and convenience. This is something I want people to know about.
– Tim Mathes II

RubberStamps.net asked us to blur out some of the legends on the X-keys XKE-128 Tim set up to optimize workflow for their process.  We can’t blame them for not sharing their secret weapon.

XKE-128

The X-keys runs Corel Photo-Paint, Corel Draw, and laser engraving control software. Tim tells us, “I have 220 programmed keys with a majority of them being application specific.”

  • OS functions: Cut, Copy, Paste, Show Desktop, Select All, Alt-Tab, Ctrl+O, Ctrl+P, and Import
  • Shortcuts to 7 files, 14 directories, 1 URL address, and 6 programs
  • A Layer Toggle key
  • 14 Keys that involve keyboard shortcuts and menu options within specific programs.
  • Various keys for multiple settings.

Tim programmed the LED backlighting in banks to designate groups of keys. He also programed some special functions including keys alternating colors, or flashing for a period of time or until other specific keys are pressed. “Indeed, like you say on your site, it does kind of become addicting in a fun way. Not only to use – but to really figure out how to take advantage of it,” he writes.

“MacroWorks is very user friendly and has many options to take advantage of. It is a very powerful tool that I am glad to have. It is convenient that I can save a file of the script for backups or updating the other XKE-128 that we use. This also makes it easy to experiment on functions or rework the key layout at home then take that updated Script back to the office.“

“I find it nice that the keys are interchangeable. It is also neat that the caps pop off so I can make my own legend tailored to my specific layout and functions that I have programmed. So those features plus the programmable LED banks makes customizing the look of the keys more pleasant and easier to navigate. It has sped up particular processes that were tedious and time consuming before. Certain actions are way more convenient now.”

Click here to find out more.

Featured Business – WA Engraving

Our next Featured Business is located in Western Australia. All engraving businesses typically start small, and the determination to work and grow is a testament to the owners. Jeff currently works on WA Engraving part time and we’re sure he will grow as his customer base grows!

Welcome WA Engraving!

WA Engraving - New Logo Design - 24.07.16

Contact name: Jeff Tennant Contact details: email is best – jeff@waengraving.com.au or waengraving.com.au , ph. 0450 497 352 Established: 2014 Location: Landsdale, WA Number of staff: 1

Tell us a little about WA Engraving and the team.

WA Engraving is currently only me, Jeff. I currently run WA Engraving as a part time business, operating in the evening and weekends.

My goal with every job is to do the best possible engraving I can to suit the client’s needs. I offer the care and attention to detail that only a small company can. If redrawing artwork will give a better result, then I’ll do that. If doing several passes with the laser will give a better result than I’ll do that. My goal isn’t to get the job done quickly, it’s to get the job done right.

If an urgent job is required, I can be flexible and will work with you to make sure it’s finished in time. If I can do it, I will, and I’ll do the best job possible.

What do you like to do in your down time away from the business?

My current hobby is remote control helicopters, cars and planes. I’ve also been making my own remote control car by laser cutting the components. I’m still waiting for some of the electronics to arrive so I’m not sure if it will work yet but I’m having fun with it!

How did you get into the laser engraving industry and what do you enjoy the most about it?

For the past 5 years I’ve been working in the promotional industry. The company I worked for had an old laser engraver machine which broke and I was assigned the task of finding a replacement. I came across Trotec’s Speedy 100 and thought it looked pretty cool. After having a demo I fell in love with it! I told my work how amazing the machine was but rather than getting a new laser they decided they would like to outsource all their engraving work. Although I couldn’t afford it I knew I had to work out a way of getting the machine and starting my own laser engraving business. It took over 12 months before I could start the business and get a loan approved to buy the Speedy 100 but I got there in the end!

I love everything about the laser engraving process, from helping plan and design the image to be engraved (and redrawing if required), to setting up the laser engraver and watching this amazing machine burn the image into an item with unbelievable speed and precision.

What machines do you currently have? 

I only have a 60 watt Speedy 100 at the moment. Although there’s a ton of different items that can be laser engraved with this machine I would really like to get a Speedy 300 Flexx. Not being able to help all customers because I don’t have a fibre laser is disappointing, but hopefully I’ll be able to get a Speedy 300 Flexx in the next couple of years.

What type of jobs/work do you do?

A lot of work I get is through the promotion industry like pens to have a company logo engraved. This is nice easy work and I offer good prices and I never miss a due date. I’ve actually done several “all nighters” to make sure my clients got their job in time.

I also do a lot of small one off jobs for the public, like laser engraving a wallet, a bag or an iPad. I do these jobs while my clients watch and I explain the process to them while I work. Most people love seeing how it’s done and leave with a great job smile!

What was your favourite job to date?

I’m not sure I have a favourite job. Every job has it’s challenges and is exciting in its own way. Sometimes the item being engraved will not be too interesting but the client will be awesome, and sometimes the item itself is something I never would have imagined engraving in a million years, like a flute I engraved once. So I guess I have lots of favourites.

What would be your ultimate job and client to work with and why?

My dream job would be a single large client with repeat work that lasts years. Ideally a charity organisation so I knew the work I was doing was for a good cause. If I could get enough regular, steady engraving work then I could do it full time. Being able to work from home as a laser engraver would be a dream come true.

Below is a range of WA Engraving’s recent projects. Thanks for sharing them with us!

IMG_0384

IMG_0402

iPad v2

Pen - Louise Symes - Wood - Close up

Trowel - pic 2

Wedding ideas

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Guest blog – Advantages to Laser Engraving Over Conventional Methods

Thanks to our new guest blogger Mike Clarke (Fimark.co.uk) who has given us this great article about the benefits of laser engraving over conventional benefits.

Advantages of laser engraving over conventional methods

Laser engraving and marking are system technologies that have evolved tremendously over the years. Attractive, permanent laser engravings of part numbers and logos are not a luxury anymore, but a necessity. Many industries need to have their products engraved to be able to track them down and keep a close eye on distribution. The inherent benefits and general value of laser marking systems that are computer aided are finally being more understood. High-quality, unique imagery and codes are a lot more readable by machines when engraved. Laser marking in particular, might have great potential benefits in the future as well. Right now, some industries that have already adopted the technology are: aerospace, firearm, jewellery, medicine, vehicle manufacturing, and more.

Why is laser engraving better than conventional methods?

Advanced technology has completely changed the way we look at the world. The future of laser marking, etching and engraving have a lot of potential because these laser technologies can out-stripe the quality and price of a product in a way that the market must adapt in order to live up to the competition. High precision laser engravings and laser markings can be attained on nearly any sort of material including stainless steel, platinum, copper, titanium, gold, aluminium, carbide, and brass. Even plastic and wood can benefit from timeless laser engravings.

  • Non-contact laser marking is a process known for its high temperature and durable resistance; micro-coded laser markings have the capacity to resist in extreme heat, which basically implies that words that are attentively etched won’t degrade over time. The process doesn’t include any sort of toxic solvent use, acids or inks.
  • Leaving aside laser engraving and laser marking, other marking methods that can be traced are hand engraving, ink jet, and dot-peen marking; these however don’t guarantee durability, and marked surfaces might fade away over time.

Product engineering professionals are starting to understand that conventional marking methods don’t last. Laser engraving on the other hand, prides with outstanding quality. The engraved products feature lifetime traceability; they don’t fade away, so business can be sure that their requirements will be met.

Unparalleled benefits

Whether you’re goal is to reach new markets, expanding your business mantra or you simply want to change goals completely, deciding on laser marking and engraving equipment with the finest capabilities is fundamental. First of all, the scanning speed of a laser is incredibly fast and precise. Characters can be processed dimensionally, and if you want you can also have images and words engraved as well. Laser engraving produces extremely precise and clean marks; the lasers used are incredibly fast and a lot more convenient than conventional product imprinting methods. This makes them versatile on a wealth of materials. Furthermore, the exact same type of machine can handle thin materials, and also have them engraved.

Fimark image 1

Advanced technology has completely changed the general design and use of laser machines

Original laser engraving devices used to be very large, bulky and particularly difficult to manage and maintain. However, advanced technology has change all that. Today’s laser machines are more compact, easy to operate, maintain and utilize. To begin with, lasers now come with a seal and a constant use of gas flow is no longer necessary. The engraving speeds are a lot faster and they feature more options. In terms of price, we’ve seen a significant decrease in cost, thus making laser engraving a lot more accessible to companies of all sizes and shapes.

The most notable change in laser technology is the laser’s interface, which is now tech-enabled and tied to computers. Systems are connected to desktop computers through a printer cable. There’s also a machine driver included, which is installed into the computer. The artwork involved is generated onto the computer via graphic programs like CorelDraw and other similar ones.

Bottom line is laser engraving comes with a wealth of benefits. Latest equipments are easy to run, learn and maintain. Furthermore, lasers are not longer heavy priced, and even small business can afford to make an investment. Rather than stick to conventional methods and watch your engravings fade away over a period of time, it’s a much better idea to go high-tech, and try out laser engravings machines to mark your products.

By Michael Clark and Fimark.co.uk!

 

How a Flexx Can Add Value

Our Global Premium Partner is Trotec Laser, and we recommend and use their machines and materials. We also recommend the great blog: HowtoLaser.com, for a great portal and Facebook group to share ideas and get some tips and tricks. Drop by the website and be inspired. Thank you to HowToLaser.com for allowing us to reproduce this great article on the benefits of Trotec Laser. The original article can be found here.

FLEXX Lasers Mean More Value

Being ahead of the 8-ball is key to success in any business; this is also true for the laser industry. The Flexx laser technology allows your business to be one of those success stories.

This article will outline some ways for your business to get the most value out of a Flexx laser. If you are unaware, a Flexx laser is a type of laser engraving machine that Trotec developed, which has both a Fiber laser and CO2 laser source in the one machine. More info here!

The two laser sources are selectable through the JobControl software which allows you to run both the CO2 and Fibre laser in the same job.

HTL1

Trotec Flexx Job – Multiple Materials, One job

So how can a Flexx laser benefit your business? Well, by having both laser sources in the one machine, you have the ability now to mark, cut, engrave or colour change any laserable material. If your competitors have limited themselves by only owning either a CO2 OR a fiber laser, by you having the ability to engrave any material gives you the upper hand.

By adding a Flexx laser solution to your business, it will allow you to expand what you currently offer to your clients. Now instead of engraving laminate plastics to make name plates for example, you will be able to offer Stainless Steel or Titanium at a premium cost. Expanding your range can reap larger profit margins, which were otherwise untapped.

Another great example of the abilities of a Flexx laser is the ability to create custom products from PolyCarbonate. PolyCarbonate is a great material as it will colour change really nicely when marked with a fiber laser and can be cut with a CO2 laser. A complete keytag, name plate, compliance plate or custom engraved photo is achievable with this material. Engrave whatever you want on it, then cut it out of the stock sheet with the CO2 laser.

Turning down work, or outsourcing certain jobs eats into your profit and we all know that’s not a good business model. Bringing a lot of that work in-house will help increase your return on investment, which will ultimately allow you to grow your business quicker.

HTL2

Knife Engraving

Processing time is also a major factor here too. With the JobControl Software you are able to seamlessly swap between a fiber and CO2 laser source within the same job. This means objects like knives which have a metal blade and wooden handle can be processed as one job, without any user intervention. Simply use two different fill colours in your artwork, send it to JobControl and simply select the intended laser source for that colour out of the list. The machine will then do the rest. There is no need to refocus, physically change any aspect of the machine or swap out lens. Just select the intended laser source and hit go!

So what are the steps to prepare the metal for fiber marking? Well…. There are none! A fibre laser is a direct metal marking solution. There are no costly pastes or sprays which need to be applied to the surface of the material. No labour costs associated with preparing the material for marking and no dry time or clean up required. Some other reasons why using the Flexx technology makes sense for metal marking applications is that, the sprays such as Cermark are actually carcinogenic and toxic. It will harm you if you breathe it in and is not good for the environment when you clean the metal off in the sink.

Sprays and pastes are difficult to get consistent, in terms of thickness, contrast and application. It’s not considered a permanent mark and can wear off. But more importantly, using a paste or spray to mark metals do not meet medical grade, food grade and other industrial grade standards. If you want to expand your business and find new, more profitable opportunities, not having the ability to meet those standards are hindering you.

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Laser Engraved Medical Equipment

So what if you currently own a CO2 laser, or can only afford a CO2 laser at the moment? Are you stuck with it now? NO… Trotec’s Speedy range, that is the Speedy 100, 300, 360 and 400 are all able to be upgraded and retrofit with a fiber laser at any time. If you are new to the market and don’t currently have a need for a fiber laser, by purchasing a CO2 laser now, does not restrict you from being able to upgrade to a Flexx at a later date, once you have established your business and have interest in metal marking.

The Speedy Flexx laser solutions that Trotec offer are world class laser engraving machines, but partnering with a business such as Trotec, you can now optimize your workflow which will enable you to expand your business, by reducing costs and saving time. Not to mention by owning a Flexx laser you will control a largely untapped side of the market.

 

 

Guest Post : Custom Fishing / Hunting Pine Signage

Guest Post:  from one of our registered businesses : CNCROi.com Here CNCROi.com shares their amazing and diverse products using Austrian wide-format Trotec Speedy 400 flexx CNC laser. In this video, we see how a custom made double-sided pine sign “Gone Fishing ” is produced and all the variations that are possible. Fantastic!