Remembrance Day Poppies 11.11

With Remembrance Day being observed in many countries next Wednesday 11 November at 11am, we wanted to share some beautiful images of poppies created on a laser machine that current students gave to ex-service personnel who were past students, in April 2015 (ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand). You can also download the file in Corel Draw (corel v3 and v7) so you can create your own poppies this November.   Poppy files (351 downloads)

A wonderful touch and very well received. Lest we forget.

Images courtesy of Trotec Laser Australia

Poppy 2

_MG_9594

DSC_3406

_DSC3827

IMG_0683

 

How to make an Acrylic Taco Holder

We loved this idea so much we thought we should share it with you all. This is courtesy of Instructables.com, Acylic Taco Holder created by Joe Gadget and reproduced from the site. The machine used was a Trotec Laser Speedy 300.

Step 1: Materials and Equipment

Vector drawing software (I used CorelDraw)
Laser cutter (my TechShop has a Trotec Speedy 300)
Acrylic strip heater
Acrylic sheet folding tool
1/8″ acrylic sheet

Step 2: Measure a Taco

Taco Holder 1

Seriously.  You have to know how big the shell is before you can make a holder for one.  The brand we regularly buy is about 5″ in diameter as shown in the picture.  To plan the holder I added a couple of rectangles to mark points of interest.  Then, using the 3-Point Curve tool I drew in the base.  Then using the 2-Point Line tool I added the two vertical supports.  In the first few attempts I didn’t like the shapes so simply deleted the red lines, resized the rectangles, then redrew the holder profile.  The reason for using the rectangles is it let me easily make a symmetric design.

Step 3: Make a Top Down Guide

Acrylic Taco 2

Again to make it easier to create a symmetric design I dropped down a series of rectangles.  I sized the three large rectangles from the profile in the previous step.  CorelDraw reports the lengths of line segments (including arcs), and I used that to get the 2″ and 3.25″ horizontal dimensions.  Two tacos standing up against each other are about 2″ wide at the top, so I decided to make the widest points of the holder 3″ wide.  I then added the smaller rectangles to help define the openings in each vertical piece and the narrowing of the base in the middle.

Step 4: Draw the Top Down Profile

Acrylic Taco 3

Using a combination of the 3-Point Curve and 2-Point Line tools I drew the top down profile of the holder.  Make sure you use the hairline setting for the profile so that these lines will be cut and not engraved.  Once you like the shape, delete all of the guide rectangles.  I added two black lines (to be engraved) to show the fold lines on the holder (in hindsight it was pretty obvious where the folds would be and I could have skipped this step).

Step 5: Laser Cut the Acrylic

Acrylic Taco 4

Acrylic cuts and engraves quickly and easily.  For engraving I used 100% power and 80% speed, and for cutting I used 100% power and 0.7% speed.

Step 6: Fold the Ends Up

Acrylic Taco 5

Acrylic Taco 6

An acrylic strip heater generates a line of hot air that will locally heat and soften the acrylic for bending.  The acrylic sheet folding tool can be positioned and locked into place so that the acrylic can be bent to a specific angle.  For this holder I set the angle to 105 degrees (so that the ends will be folded slightly back onto themselves).  Line up the first end of the holder over the hot air opening, and after a few minutes the acrylic will be soft enough to bend. Bend the end up partially by hand then press the holder into the folding tool.  Hold it in place for a few minutes to allow the acrylic to cool and set in position.  Repeat the same heat and fold process on the other end.

Step 7: Bow the Middle of the Holder

Acrylic Taco 7

I wanted to curve the base of the holder, and the strip heater doesn’t heat a large enough area.  So I placed the holder over the hot air opening, and shifted its position every minute.  This slowly heated the entire middle of the holder, which I was then able to bend by hand into a gentle curve.  This completes the taco holder!

Step 8: Make Tacos and Enjoy!

Acrylic Taco 8

CNC Laser Engraving & Cutting Custom Wedding Cake Toppers

Another great “how to” by our supporter CNCRoi.com.

For the past year, CNCROi.com has been solely focused on manufacturing, mill work and aerospace industries, the reason is simple, they have the volume and expertise that utilizes our capabilities to the fullest. Now that we are in our second year of operation, we are expanding into new markets that can benefit from our industrial expertise in areas that aren’t being well served.

Our first stop on the diversification train is custom cake event toppers, specifically, wedding and birthday. We are, of course, still going full throttle with our “traditional” markets and expanding them further thanks to our unique dual-sourced Austrian wide format CNC laser, we are just opening our doors wider now into new areas. The more volume we can get into the shop, regardless of source, the faster we can acquire the equipment we are saving-up for to maintain and expand our lead in the custom CNC marketplace.

custom wedding cake toppers

These custom wedding cake toppers were custom designed by CNCROi.com in-house. This makes us a very unique entrance into the wedding cake topper market as our stuff isn’t imported. It’s CUSTOM DESIGNED, CUSTOM ENGRAVED AND CUSTOM CUT on any material you wish FOR YOU.

custom wedding cake toppers

The entire process can be as fast or slow as you wish, generally, give us a day to design and cut though this can vary to 2-3 days depending on the number of revisions, material selection and other stuff we have going on in the shop.

custom wedding cake toppers

The advantage though with CNCROi.com is that, like our industrial clients, we can easily ramp up production and make hundreds if not thousands of these in very short order. Not only that, but we can customize each wedding topper with the name of the person attending your wedding… as a keepsake.

custom wedding cake toppers

This is entirely impossible and impractible any other way. Why? Because we are a custom mass production business, meaning that in-house, if you need a thousand unique items or a thousand same items, our CNC laser (and operator) don’t care. It’s no problem as we cut, engrave, etch ON DEMAND.

custom wedding cake toppers

This incredible power is now available to you, for your special event… for the FIRST TIME EVER! Having industrial scale expertise and customers has many advantages, that you can now benefit directly from.

custom wedding cake toppers

The nice things about weddings and birthdays is that, generally, you know what the date of the event will be. That gives everybody tons of lead time, and again, you benefit as do we as between production runs at our custom CNC shop, we can fit in custom laser engraved and cut cake toppers.

custom wedding cake toppers

Another advantage that CNCROi.com offers, in addition to custom design and engraving/cutting capabilities and database driven customization of wedding cake toppers is that we are able to make these cake toppers out of any material you wish.

custom wedding cake toppers

In these examples, we make the wedding cake topper out of 6 mm (1/4 inch) birch plywood but that can just as easily have been solid wood, acrylic, plastic, polycarbonate… even stainless steel! What will dictate material options is the design and budget.

custom wedding cake toppers

Taking things one step even further, you can now have a mix and match, which means we can make a custom wedding cake topper for you out of one colored (or multi-colored) acrylic for the cake and make all the others out of plywood or anything else.

custom wedding cake toppers

These options, and a bunch more are all up to you. You want your cake topper to double as a knife to cut your cake? Yep, get one made out of stainless steel. Never seen that before… this is the power that CNCROi.com brings to your event.

custom wedding cake toppers

Not only that… I know, we can expand this infinitely, but we can just as easily make these wedding cake toppers for corporate use, so making them out of your logo as keepsakes or handouts to celebrate a big event. Got your first million dollar contract? Get a custom cake made (we can’t do that) and then get us to make a custom cake topper for it!

custom wedding cake toppers

The quality of our work is evident from both the front and the back. We are truly passionate about what we do here at CNCROi.com and make sure what ever we do for you, you not only are aware of how it’s being made but also get action shots during production.

custom wedding cake toppers

So, if you want to create extra buzz about your upcoming event, we can make videos, photography etc. that you can share on social media so that your awesome cake toppers becomes a conversation piece in addition to a keepsake.

custom wedding cake toppers

Alright, I can write about how awesome this stuff is all day, let’s go back to looking at how these two wedding cake toppers were made, production wise. Keep in mind that the steps change depending on the production quantity, materials and timelines involved.

custom wedding cake toppers

The first step involved with making these custom wedding cake toppers, after the design is signed-off upon, is to mask the plywood (acrylic etc. don’t need this step). The reason why we do this, ON BOTH SIDES, is due to the resins and glues in the wood, we have to do this whether it’s hardwood, softwood or engineered by the way. Once it’s vaporized, the residue which is very sticky, tries to find a place to latch onto, which is generally the surface of the material.

custom wedding cake toppers

The easiest place to latch onto is the front and back of the wood, for engraving, it’s just the front. Once this sticky residue latches on though, it’s very difficult to remove as it gunks up sand paper and most other materials. This is why we mask both the front and back, so that after production, we remove the masking paper which, removes the gunk as the same time.

custom wedding cake toppers

This is why the birch plywood you see in these photos looks “white” (or green actually through our industrial laser window). That’s paper covering things up.

custom wedding cake toppers

After the engraving is complete, we then cut the inside parts and outline. Why? Well, if we cut out the outline first, it will “shift” slightly and so, cutting out the inside parts and the engraving will no longer be the same. We imported an industrial CNC laser from Austria… the precision is insane… and that’s why our customers love us. Just because we are now offering “simple things” like this wedding cake toppers, doesn’t mean we cut corners to speed production up.

custom wedding cake toppers

This is what makes CNCROi.com different. If something takes a bit longer to do RIGHT, so be it, at least you get what you paid for!

custom wedding cake toppers

As you can see from these photos, the masking has burned edges (resin) residue. This is why most laser cut cake toppers look HORRIBLE, because the company can’t be bothered to do things RIGHT. They have a junky machine that’s anything but precise that is simply set-up on the wrong foundation to run a proper custom CNC shop upon.

custom wedding cake toppers

Taking the masking off, you can clearly see the quality of our output. Yes, we masked this (we didn’t have to), yes, we made extra cut lines around the letters (we didn’t have to) and absolutely yes, we custom designed this to spec. We do this because we care about what leaves the shop, we are in business for the long term and CNCROi.com will not last as a business if we only do awesome industrial work but awful cake toppers. Either you do things right and perfect or go out of business.

custom wedding cake toppers

This is plywood, so the results from the laser have a bit of variance. You can see the “white blotch” inside the “Mr.”, upon closer inspection, the wood itself is a different color – in this case, we’d send a photo to the customer for approval before shipping. If you didn’t want that white blotch, no problem we cut another one until you get what you paid for. Easy as that!

custom wedding cake toppers

Here you can more clearly see the quality of the output, our letters are perfectly centered with their related contours, the lines are smooth, not jagged. The engraving is the same depth all over and considering this is wood, a pretty darn good sample of what we are capable of doing!

custom wedding cake toppers

CNC Laser Engraving Wood Logs (Pioneer Bling)

Our Canadian registered businesses CNCROi.com and Guest Blogger Jon Cantin shows how to engrave wooden logs using his Trotec Speedy 400 flexx laser!

CNCROi.com works with a wide variety of woods during the course of normal operation, including wood logs, or what we like to call, “pioneer bling”.

I grabbed one of the scrap logs from a recent project we did, having a split means it wasn’t to spec but for our purposes here on CNCROi.com, it’s more than fine as a demonstration of what we can do with our Austrian industrial wide-format laser.

cnc laser engraving pioneer bling

After focusing our lens, we powered-up our CO2 laser source (we have a dual-sourced machine with fiber as well) and began engraving away, but first, we had to mask the wood log. The process is the same when we do large natural wood signage, masking, laser engraving and then sealing.

cnc laser engraving pioneer bling

Masking is important as it protects the surface NOT being engraved from vapor and smoke deposits that tend to stick to the surface. The surface may be uneven like this log piece by up to a centimeter without any issues with our laser, as we have a wide focal tolerance when it comes to wood and other materials with similar densities.

cnc laser engraving pioneer bling

In this case, we set-up our CNC laser to vaporise about one millimeter of material from the surface after it was sealed… sealing keeps that “wet look” even when it’s dry and protects the wood long-term from moisture. Sealing prevents the expansion and contraction seen throughout the season as it provides a barrier from local humidity.

cnc laser engraving pioneer bling

The CNC laser engraving went perfect, we were looking to achieve a dark mark that would be clearly visible. Keep in mind, there is NO PAINT FILLING in this project, we are just exposing the charcoal that the laser made during the engraving process.

cnc laser engraving pioneer bling

Taking a look through the masking paper, you can clearly see that we not only produced a very clear set of letters, something not possible with hot branding or CNC table routing, but also exposed the beautiful grain at the same time.

cnc laser engraving pioneer bling

After the masking was removed, there was some smoke overspread exposed, not an issue in this case as it’s easily removed and dramatically less than if we didn’t use the masking.

cnc laser engraving pioneer bling

Another spray of sealant over the entire piece of log once again to keep the charcoal and any wood “seams” exposed during the CNC laser process sealed and the results don’t look good, they look SPECTACULAR!

cnc laser engraving pioneer bling

To give you an idea of scale, I have an averaged sized hand. We can do wooden logs over a meter wide to small little miniature ones to suit any project, several inches to several millimeters in height.

cnc laser engraving pioneer bling

 

Make your own I Love Dad wooden tie!

In honour of father’s day in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, we’re repeating this awesome post from June. For those down under… here’s a free file courtesy of Macquarie Engraving! Thanks Dave.

Download the zip file for free (save to your desktop and extract the CDR file). Make sure you send in some pictures of your creations!

If you’re interested – you can purchase more designs from the creator at davidcncking.com.

Laser Cut Dad Tie (362 downloads)

 

CNC Fiber Laser Annealing 304 Stainless Steel

In this guest article, our regular guest blogger Canadian registered business CNCROi.com shows an example of fiber laser annealing stainless steel using their Trotec Speedy 400 flexx laser.

CNC fiber laser annealing  304 stainless steel is something we do quite a bit of here at CNCROi.com. It’s a slow and methodical process but the results are permanent and highly visible.

Although this is an inefficient method of fiber annealing many 304 stainless steel custom bottle openers, the demo looks better on camera using this layout rather than a whole row.

cnc fiber laser annealing 304 stainless steel

CNC fiber annealing means that each stainless steel opener will be heat-treated identically, there is no pre or post processing required – as would be – if I was using Cermark and a CO2 laser source.

cnc fiber laser annealing 304 stainless steel

There is a lot of clearance between the stainless steel openers and the fiber laser lens because we have a special lens with a very precise focal length. This means we can anneal faster and more precisely, even on parts that are not totally flat or with height variances that would “traditionally” bang-up against the overhead gantry.

cnc fiber laser annealing 304 stainless steel

The fiber annealing process is quiet, there is no sound and all you see is the stainless steel becoming black instantly where it’s heat-treated. This is a very slow process – another reason why Cermark is used is to speed things up – but the results are simply stunning.

cnc fiber laser annealing 304 stainless steel

The camera has a tough time with highly reflective parts, rest assured, all these fiber annealed details are pitch black. The font size we can achieve with this process, just to give you an idea, can be microscopic and still be clearly legible.

cnc fiber laser annealing 304 stainless steel

Looking at it from various other angles, you can see now legible the content is. Fiber marking is a slightly faster process which does more scoring than blackening of the metal, that isn’t as clearly seen from all angles though for many applications, it’s fine, like part identification.

cnc fiber laser annealing 304 stainless steel

These are used as promotional gifts by my cousin who runs a welding shop. The stainless steel bottle openers can be kept in any environment as nothing was added or removed during the heat treating process.

cnc fiber laser annealing 304 stainless steel

No special coating is required, we can do the same regardless of metal from titanium through to anodized aluminum and even raw aluminum if required though that doesn’t become black, just white due to the low-carbon content.

cnc fiber laser annealing 304 stainless steel

Taking a closer-up view, you can see how smooth the surface is. If you wanted something rougher, we can increase the power to produce a texture that you can easily touch and feel. An application for this would be darker environments or those with a lot of dirt flying around, like the back of a crank shaft where the extra “hold” is a good thing for quick identification.

cnc fiber laser annealing 304 stainless steel

Next up is some dog tags, literally. This is the guard dog for the welding shop so thieves need to know who is attacking them should they choose to break in and steal equipment.

cnc fiber laser annealing 304 stainless steel

This is also 304 stainless steel, just slightly thinner than the bottle openers above. Each tag is identical though we could have just as easily done this through a database merge so, for instance, an alphanumeric code or QR code would identify each one uniquely.

cnc fiber laser annealing 304 stainless steel

As we aren’t damaging or warping the stainless steel in any way with this project, we fiber annealed both the front and back of the dog tag. When we have larger volumes, we make a jig just to make things more efficient but for small numbers, this is more than fine as our table is square and flat.

cnc fiber laser annealing 304 stainless steel

Just two were needed for this project but we could have easily done a production run in the thousands. The advantage of volume is a lower per-unit price. We can produce either high volume stamped metal tags or low volume CNC laser cut shapes, another unique aspect of CNCROi.com… whether stainless steel or anodized aluminum or anything else, it’s your choice.

cnc fiber laser annealing 304 stainless steel