Guest Post : CNCKing.com : Custom CNC Laser Engraved And Cut Pine Sign

A Guest Post from one of our businesses located in  Canada  CNCKing.com.

In this video, CNCROi.com creates a custom 3/4 inch (18 mm) Pine Sign using an Austrian wide-format Trotec Speedy 400 flexx CNC laser.

CNCROi.com is a professional custom CNC shop with clients worldwide that can engrave, etch, mark, anneal and cut any material for any application in addition to custom design / build solutions.

 

Guest Post : Michael Clark : Fimark

We always welcome Guest Posts from registered businesses around the world.

We thank Michael Clark of Fimark in the United Kingdom for his post and know you will find it most interesting.

Vast abilities of laser technologies – sky is the limit
With laser technology, the sky is the limit! Lasers are intense light beams that are commonly used in various industries. The beam emitted by a type of laser has the power to mark, etch and engrave various types of materials, such as metal, plastic, wood, and numerous others. The engraving is permanent and the color of the light varied from monochromatic (single wavelengths) to colorful. As opposite to similar machines, laser technology prides with being extremely precise. Today’s advanced laser cutting machines work with programmable computers that determine how and where the interface gets in contact with the material.

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Laser technology – main benefits and abilities
Lasers keep work pieces in correct, exact positions thus making sure that the cutting process is extremely precise. The engraving or marking is particularly accurate and is done extremely fast. Since lasers work with beam light, the surface of the material doesn’t get in direct contact with any sort of cutting tool. This means that the material is kept safe and away from contamination or destruction. Conventional engraving process use machines that generate heat; this might disrupt the material’s shape. With laser technology, the heat produced is not that intense which means that the material has less chances of deforming.
Laser technology is versatile and can also be employed to burn or cut complex materials. The amount of work put into the engraving or etching is reduced, since laser systems are easy to maneuver using various computer programs. Furthermore, these machines don’t require human interaction thus limiting accidents and injuries.
Laser technology in medicine
Tech breakthroughs in laser technology have led to the creation of numerous applications in medicine. There has also been an increase in the number of medical procedures performed with lasers. Incisions are smaller and less painful thus trimming the recovery period. Lasers are widely used in various medical fields, including urology, gynecology, oncology, cardiology, cosmetic surgery, and more. Surgical lasers are precise and the procedures that use lasers no longer last 4 or 5 hours. In the recent years, many patients are shifting from intricate surgeries to less time-consuming interventions. These are less invasive and less painful too.

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Medical laser systems are growing in popularity. Most common uses of laser technology are: wrinkle removal, skin rejuvenation, hair removal, vision correction and benign prostatic hyperplasia. Diode and solid-state lasers are widely employed for hair removal procedures; whereas excimer laser systems are more suitable for vision correction procedures.
Laser marking abilities
Laser marking legibility eases the job of many consumers when attempting to read from boxes and other contains. Marks made by laser beams are permanent; this also contributes to a cleaner environment because fluids associated with additional technologies are properly eliminated. Due to the production characteristics of the equipment, container marking happens following the sealing and filling of a certain product. One of the most common types of laser marks is ablation. The process means etching of a packaging. The best laser solution is made from blending marking heads, lenses and laser wavelengths at a predetermined thickness and depth. Since small configuration differences yield visible performance differences, configurable laser solutions become essential.
Laser marking on metallic materials
Laser marking on metallic surfaces provide high performance, accuracy and high legibility. Direct metal marking is usually required when companies need to track and monitor a certain product. The right laser wavelength etches a surface with a predetermined depth, thus making the mark appear readable and easy to monitor.
Laser technology comes with a wide variety of abilities. For starters, the lines etched are continuous, thus improving legibility. The technology is excellent for bar codes, characters and logos. Furthermore, lasers feature a wealth of text styles; this enhances brand image and product quality sense. Laser machines require little maintenance. For a system to work at full capacity users will be happy to know that the only supplies needed are the filters; these make laser operations a lot more efficient.

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Bottom line is laser technology is the one of the greatest technological discoveries of the centuries. Companies are using lasers to keep track of their products but also to perform certain endeavors (e.g. surgeries) with a lot more ease. The industry is constantly advancing, so it’s natural to believe that newer lasers will soon emerge with even more pioneering abilities.
By Michael Clark and Fimark.co.uk!

 

 

 

Laser engraved padlocks – Love Locks

Looking for a last minute Valentine’s gift? Thanks to Trotec Laser USA for this tutorial on how to laser Love Locks.

Required Material:

  • A padlock made from anodised aluminum
  • A piece of wood or acrylics to build a tray for stability or some plasticine

Used Trotec laser:
Speedy 100, 60 watts, 2.5 inch lens

laser engraved padlocks

Love locks
You can see them on bridges all around the world: Love locks
Typically the lovers’ names or initials are engraved on the padlock, and the key is thrown away to symbolise their endless love. 
Step 1: build a tray
green and red padlocks
To keep the padlocks stable during laser engraving process, you can:
  • make a tray from wood or acrylics
  • or fix the lock with some plasticine (if you are only producing one of two custom pieces at time

Step 2: Design and laser process

Open our template or create your own individual design and send it to the laser.

Used parameters:

Engraving: power: 20% – speed: 10% – frequency: 1000 ppi – air assist: ON – high quality: ON

Downloads:

Unique Business = Unique Challenges

We found this blog post very relevant and thought it would be something all of our registered businesses could understand and learn from. Thanks again to our regular contributor Jon Cantin, from CNCRoi.com who are based in Ontario, Canada.

Running through the almost 300 blog posts on this website, it quickly become evident that not only have our skills improved but they have also diversified significantly since founding almost two years  ago. Our first MAJOR project was with Formica and it was a blazing success! We got the project because I had the foresight to buy a HUGE industrial wide-format laser with plenty of power and speed. These sheets were up to 3 meters long and we could pass them through our machine and cut through it at a rate that made financial sense for all involved. Up until that point, we NEVER cut through Formica before.

Afterwards, we got a bunch of projects across metal from stainless steel to anodized aluminium. A completely different set of materials requiring a different approach and laser tube as well! Luckily, I had the foresight to buy my Trotec Speedy 300 flexx with BOTH a CO2 (cuts Formica fantastically) and Fiber (engraving/marking metal) so the transition was pretty straight forward.

custom wedding and birthday cake toppers

The challenge with having such a unique business where we can essentially do anything with any material is trying to get this capability across to potential customers. To most people, saying “I can do anything” has the same effect as saying “I can’t do anything” as “normally”, this is a very true statement.

You heard of the quote “Jack of all trades, master of none”, well, generally this is the case… except that after doing THOUSANDS of units in Formica, you actually become a pretty good expert at cutting and optimizing it with a laser. Those skills completely transfer to other materials and processes… as such, that quote doesn’t really have much weight. We aren’t building high-strength aircraft landing gear, we are making the seat number tags… it’s a whole other ball game.

custom cnc furniture - laser cut

The other challenge ever-present at CNCROi.com is equipment. We do an increasing amount of metal in the shop from custom stamping blanks through engraving and all of those skills require specialized tools and expertise. We have “some” forming capabilities that we do on a regular basis as part of prototyping but other trades like welding is something that I’ve stayed clear of, a master welder isn’t something you can become over the course of a week or even a year.

There are definite limits and income generated in one area is pushed into others to grow capabilities and expand efficiencies, that’s where our trusted suppliers come in as well.

cnc laser engraving wood log

Education is Key

Due to our broad skill set, education is key for us to demonstrate to customers that what they envision is actually possible! Most people go with the status-quo, from awards to promotional items to things around the office and int he shop. Why? It’s EASY and been done thousands of times before. Why go through the “hassle” of trying to figure-out a new design for delrin seals or stamps that will stand-out and be unique… most just go with the old PO and issue another one with updated dates.

I can’t really say that anything we do in the shop is rocket science, it just takes time and money to learn all this stuff. There are no shortcuts to learning how to effectively cut Corian with a CNC router and engraving it with a laser then paint filling the results… you just have to do it, over and over again, until the results are as expected. Running through all these blog posts, you can see it as a class where we play with new and old material, testing limits and processes and continually refining them.

CNC Laser Cutting Paper Stencils

Case Studies

What I enjoy most about CNCROi.com is the creative customers we have, education very much goes both ways. They have their materials and processes which, quite often, they ARE an absolute expert in and then we come to the table and ideas go flying all over the place. I use my knowledge about materials and CNCs and they use theirs and together, we develop something either mundane or really cool!

For instance, I met-up with a customer last week whom we do lots of foam projects with and I showed them what we can do in Corian and they were blown away. What was most interesting though is that the conversation switched from foam to Corian and they actually had a unique application that they had a need for that Corian would fit perfectly for. It was a fantastic idea and I’ll be making a prototype to show them in the coming days.

laser marking pcb board

We’ve had customers where there was a need of something unique but at the time, we didn’t have any experience with the material they wanted the project made from. So, we grab samples and did our testing, revelling something that would work perfectly for them and some of our other customers! We then show these material results to both and end-up linking two previous companies who knew nothing about one another together into mutual suppliers.

cnc laser cutting and engraving

It’s about PASSION

You’d think that after writing the equivalent of a massive novel online with all these blog posts things would start to slow down, I’d run out of material to show, videos to produce and things to talk about. That hasn’t been the case. If anything, these posts are getting longer, more detailed and packed with more and more content. Why? Because what I do at CNCROi.com isn’t a job to me, it isn’t even a business, it’s a passion.

When our customers are looking for solutions to their problems, I really enjoy coming up with them. I enjoy going on plant tours and finding out how some of the materials we use are made. I enjoy coming-up with unique marketing and promotional items for our customers.

CNC Laser Engraving A Wooden Log

We’ve made some BEAUTIFUL signs, we’ve made some AMAZING custom coasters as we’ve done some cutting and engraving that have gone into major stores and businesses… and it’s fun to look back at all the neat stuff we’ve done!

The fact that we can’t show any of the customer work we’ve done might be seen as odd or a brick wall when it comes to marketing but if I’ve proven anything in the past, it makes no difference. Our customers know our capabilities, trust us with their secrets and hire us again and again to come-up with innovative solutions to their problems.

Annealing Stainless Steel Business Cards and Tags

Hire for Passion, Return due to Results

Like a good employer, you generally hire for passion and train people into their position. We are no different, once we have a customer and established what we can do and deliver the results they are after, they come again and again with different ideas and projects. Things don’t always go according to plan, but that’s when we shine.

One of our bigger customers had a problem with one of our projects a while back, it wasn’t antibodies fault, the material simply degraded over time, it was something we all though would work and it ended-up not – when you try new stuff, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. What did we do? We didn’t just cut another one to replace it, we agreed that material for that application wasn’t the best and moved onto something that would. How much did we charge the customer? NOTHING. Why? Because we stood behind our work! We’ve since done a lot MORE projects for them because they know if there are any problems, they know we’ll work with them to fix it!

cnc laser cutting formica laminate

I’m reminded by something Richard Branson said a while back, he doesn’t succeed because he’s so much better, he succeeds because so many other companies just don’t care! There is always a reason NOT to do something, there is always a goal that isn’t worth pursuing and there is always a way to limit your success. I’m very proud that we’ve been able to find customers who don’t think in these limited ways. They want a solution that succeeds, even if it means a few bumps along the road before you get to the end.

Custom CNC Laser Annealing Brass Valve Tags

I wish there was an easy way to explain what CNCROi.com does, the simplest thing I can come-up with is that we are custom solutions providers but even that doesn’t cover what we offer.

cncroi.com custom acrylic sign

Laser marking Samurai Swords

Although it’s a year old, this is a very interesting tutorial by Trotec Laser Canada, laser marking two Samurai Swords (the same ones used in the movie Kill Bill). Very useful to keep on file – you never know when an engraving or laser marking job like this will present itself!

Custom Corian Signage courtesy of CNCRoi.com

We haven’t heard from our friend and registered Canadian business CNCRoi.com for a while, so we thought we would drop in and see how he was going! This recent blog and tutorial on Custom Corian Signage is a great start for any business. CNCRoi.com is based in Niagara, Canada, but services the world. Thanks again for your support Jon!

Custom Corian signage is something CNCROi.com does a lot of, among many other neat things, in the previous blog post (CNC Router V-Carving Custom Corian Signage) demonstrated us making a sign using our CNC router, in this blog post, the concentration will be on doing essentially the same thing but using our Austrian CNC laser instead.

To make optimal use of this sample that I show clients, I decided to mirror the image that was V-carved on the other side of this piece of Corian so the same design is on both sides to help illustrate to customers the various options that they have available to them when it comes to custom Corian signage, wall plaques and anything else made out of Corian.

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

Keep in mind that although this post is focused on Corian, the same essentially holds true with wood, stone and a host of other materials we use here on a regular basis at CNCROi.com for our customer’s applications.

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

I strongly encourage you to review the video (link at the top) of the first part of this two-part blog post so that you understand how this cool shape came into being. It will help you make more sense of what’s going on in this blog post regarding this CNC laser engraved Corian.

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

There is quite a bit of dust produced by the CNC laser engraving into this Corian signage, the difference is the chip size, while with the CNC router, you can physically hold the chips, with the laser, it’s a very fine Corian dust that’s produced.

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

Depending on the design, CNC laser engraving Corian signage may or may not be faster than CNC routing Corian signage, there are a lot of optimal settings across both machines to produce a final physical design that have to be taken in account. Luckily, you don’t really need to know all this as we can help you produce optimal results for Corian signage.

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

As you can see, there are sparks produced when our 110W wide format Austrian CNC laser engraves into this material. Generally, we engrave about 1 mm per pass, we can do more, but the results start to be inconsistent regarding depth qualities. Why? The laser is always the same, the densities of the various “things” that make-up Corian start to be more pronounced.

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to custom CNC Corian signage, regardless of the technologies we use. For this project, I wanted about 2 mm of depth (less than 1/8th) so that’s why you see the laser going over the same place twice in the video and why it seems like we are repeating laser passes in these custom Corian signage photographs.

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

The advantage to using a CNC laser for custom Corian signage (and other things) is the amount of surface exposed by the process itself, it’s wonderful for paint adhesion, where the CNC router produces a nice smooth finish, the CNC laser produces a Corian surface similar to sand paper.

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

The other advantage to the CNC laser engraving Corian over CNC routing it are that no hold down is required. Watch the other video in the previous blog post and you’ll see screws holding down this piece of Corian and essential NOTHING in this one. There is no physical contact between the laser and the Corian other than the bed.

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

Fine details achieved in CNC lasering Corian are also apparent rather quickly, while with the CNC router you are limited by bit size, the smaller the bit, the more prone it is to breaking and the slower the engraving happens, with a CNC laser, you are limited by the width of a beam of light. Not much of a limit!

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

Regardless of what technology we use here at CNCROi.com for custom Corian signage, one thing holds true. Precision. We have top of the line CNC machines for their class, they are accurate within nanometers (not a typo) which means we can do neat things like going over a material again and again and still be dead-on. Look at the Corian we are engraving with the laser, the laser is passing over the SAME SPOT… time after time.

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

The challenge with custom Corian signage is actually narrowing down exactly what the customer wants, just like wood and other materials, there are endless combinations and options. Corian itself is available in hundreds of different colors and shades! Throw-in that we can use CNC routers or lasers to produce effects on the Corian and then endless paint filling options, and the Corian options list gets rather large quickly!

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

Luckily, we have lots of experience with Corian, we will produce an optimal results for your design! Some customers know exactly what they want down to the Pantone shade while others give us an open slate to work from. Both are fine!

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

As you can see, “raw” CNC laser engraved Corian doesn’t produce the best results regarding contrast, Corian is the same “throughout” the material so contrast must be created in other ways. Either paint filling the Corian or painting the Corian itself then engraving through the paint and Corian and/or combination of the two.

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

Looking at the CNC laser engraved Corian sign at another angle, after cleaning it, the contrast isn’t as bad but still not the best. If you wanted a custom Corian sign like this as/is, having it in a water fountain looks awesome but “dry”, there just isn’t much contrast by its nature.

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

Looking at it close-up, you can see the sand paper texture the CNC laser produces when custom engraving the Corian sign. It is consistent, it’s 90 degrees straight in and incredibly precise, just look at the “i” spacing, there is less than a third of a mm there and it’s still standing strong! Corian is awesome!

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

Look at the detail achieved in this custom Corian sign on the foliage of the palm tree, again, incredibly precise and clear!

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

Next step was paint filling the custom laser engraved Corian sign. I decided on a gray metal looking color, although there are many methods to doing this, for this specific sign, I decided on painting essentially the whole thing and then sanding the Corian surface (removing the paint in the process).

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

The results look pretty good but the contrast sucks! Well, that isn’t an issue, the surface is still incredibly rough so this Corian can be paint filled AGAIN! This time, a bit more contrasting material will be used on the Corian sign!

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

This time, another paint filling process was used, instead of a paint brush it was sprayed on. This custom piece of Corian signage will now be easily read and will stand-out!

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

After allowing the custom Corian sign to dry, the surface was then painted and the results look spectacular! Of course, we seal this after then a bit more sanding.

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

And that’s how CNCROi.com makes custom Corian signage, start to finish! Custom contoured using our CNC router and then profiled or using our CNC laser, engraved (we can also engrave using our CNC router by the way).

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

Looking at this from another angle, you can see the sine that’s achieved but regardless, this custom Corian sign looks fantastic!

CNC Laser Engraving & Paint Filling Custom Corian Signage

Have some custom Corian requirements from cutting boards through signage? CNCROi.com can do it for you! Contact us today!

What laser does Davenport West High School utilize for their STEM program?

The below article comes from a Trotec distributor in the USA, Wanlasers and his customer Davenport West High School

Davenport West High School

Davenport West High School loves the Trotec Speedy 100 laser and rotary attachment.  The machine is powerful, well-built and easy to use.  Our school has had the Trotec in the school for 1 1/2 years and it seems like each week, we learn something new to do with the laser.  The students have great ideas; for example, they created business cards for a robotics event and they used the laser to the business cards out.  Less than 30 seconds for a set of 10 cards cut out perfectly.  Recently with the help of the Trotec Rep, we were able to make rubber stamps for an event at the State Fair.

The Trotec Speedy 100 has been heavily utilized in our after school robotics program to make promotional items.  Another group has made custom signs for a fundraiser.  We are in the process of making a partnership with the local community to do more unique projects.   The machine has been amazing and I have only been limited by my imagination.

This machine has allowed our school to expand and enhance the curriculum we currently teach.  This machine will help teach skills and concepts needed for future jobs.  When I have questions, I talk to my Trotec Rep and if he doesn’t know the answer, he finds the answer.

Materials we have tried – Wood (Oak, Walnut, Maple, Pine),  Plywood, Plastic/Acrylic, Rubber, Paper, Cardboard, Metal (with spray), and glass.  I will continue to try new things to engrave or cut.

Find about the latest projects and creations on Twitter @GregSmithPLTW

Greg Smith – Davenport West High School (Davenport, IA)