Laser Cut Acrylic Lamp

Acrylic Lamp, Cut with a Laser Machine Courtesy of Trotec Laser

The construction of this acrylic lamp provides a marvellous light reflection. Thanks to Trotec Laser for letting us replicate this!
You can now create this unique decoration with your laser cutter and experiment with light and shade.
Acrylic lamp, cut with the laser

Acrylic lamp, cut with the laser

Required material:
3 mm acrylic

Suitable machines:
Speedy 100, Speedy 300, Speedy 400, Speedy 500

The above Trotec laser machine was used:
Speedy 300, 60 watts, 2.0 inch lens

Tips:

  • Use the 2.0″ lens for an accurate cut quality
  • We used Evonik’s “Radiant” plexiglas.

Step 1 – Laser cut the acrylic lamp
Open the template file for this extraordinary design (to download click here) and send it to the laser. Select your favourite colour and start cutting the acrylic. The laser parameters may vary, as they depend on the machine being used and the available laser power.

Recommended cutting parameters:

  • Blue: power: 100 %, speed 0.7 %, frequency 9000 Hz, Air Assist on
  • Red: power: 60 %, speed 1.0 %, frequency 9000 Hz, Air Assist on, z-offset 3 mm

To fit in the socket of the light bulb, emboss the edge with cutting lines. This is an alternative to engraving the area. By using the defocussing feature, the laser beam can be made wider forcing the cutting lines to overlap. This is how we can create the engraving effect using cutting lines. 

Why not try using different acrylic colours?

Step 2 – Assemble the acrylic lamp
Assembling the acrylic lamp is easy. The assembling instruction helps. Download the PDF file here (can be opened in Corel Draw).

Special piece of furniture, laser cut

Special piece of furniture, laser cut

 

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!

Laser engraving crayons

  • Today we have a guest blog from Jon Cantin, from CNCRoi.com in St Catherines Canada. CNCRoi.com is one of our go-to registered businesses to help with jobs in Canada and blogs/ tutorials. Thanks for all your help Jon!

Laser Engraving Crayola

Wax is a tough material to laser engrave because it tends to melt when heated up, so I grabbed some Crayola crayons that I got at a manufacturing trade show (yes, some companies are getting creative with their swag), and gave it a try! Got a bunch of metal stuff engraved and I wanted to do a slight change of pace… keep the mind sharp!

laser engraving crayola

I could have spent a bit of time making a custom jig for my soon-to-be engraved Crayola but I decided to just grab some Lego to build a quick and dirty holding jig to prevent them from rolling off the bed.

laser engraving crayola

My guess is that the darker the color, the more apparent the engraving will go. My goal here was to vaporize the paper holding it in place and only very slightly engrave into the wax as it would just pool around in the bottom of the engraving, removing some of the sharpness I was trying to achieve.

laser engraving crayola

The blue came out pretty good as with the orange.

laser engraving crayola

From the picture above and below, the Crayola came-out pretty good, if I had to redo these, I’d use slightly more power or a slower speed (both do the same thing) in order to burn off a bit more depth. It’s a fine line between producing a soggy mess and a sharp engraving.

laser engraving crayola

You can watch the video below of the entire process, filmed here at CNCROi.com HQ. Now you know the secret behind crazy fast and easy to use jigs, Lego! This must be the first time these two worldwide-known brand names have come together with a third, Trotec!

Constant Speed Test Pattern

We’re back for 2016! Our next blog comes from Adrian at HowtoLaser.com,

Constant Speed Test Pattern

In this article we will learn how to use the Constant Speed Test Pattern, in order to find the power and speed setting suitable for your material.

Firstly, it is important that you download the files needed, they can be found HERE.

Once the files have been downloaded, extract the zip file in a folder or on the desktop.

Next we will need to open JobControl and import the Material templates.

Import Material
Import Material

By clicking “CTRL + M” after opening JobControl, the material database window will pop up. Navigating down to the “Options” icon, press the “Import from file” option.

 

Import Material Template
Import Material Template

Next, we have to navigate to the folder where we extracted the .zip file and find the file called “Constant Speed 25%”. This files, file type is .XML. Once you have clicked the file, press “Open”. You will later need to repeat this step for all the other .XML files (50%, 75% and 100%).

Import Material Dialog
Import Material Dialog

The next window you will be greeted with is the “Material Import” window. When presented with this window, please click “Import Materials and create copy on equal material names”. By clicking this option, it will prevent overwriting a material file with the same name.

Material in Database
Material in Database

As you can see, once imported, the new material will be stored under the material group “Standard” in a material called “Constant Speed 25%”.

NOTE: As you can see in the image above the power and speed settings increase at a rate of 6.25% per colour. Each colour will have a constant speed of 25% and only the power of the laser will increase. You can skip certain colours, if you think that they will damage the material you are testing. For Example 100 power, 25 speed will put the most power into the material which could set fire to it. Please be aware, that if the material under test is flammable or can be easily damaged due to high heat, please skip this engraving colour.

Now that we have the material in the material database, please restart JobControl to save the changes.

Once JobControl has been restarted, the material will now be stored in the material database. These steps will need to be repeated for the other 3 material templates. Please repeat this step for the 50%, 75% and 100% speed test patterns.

Now we will learn how to use the Constant Speed Test Pattern.

Constant Speed Test Pattern
Constant Speed Test Pattern

When you open the “Constant Speed (P 6.25 – 100)” file, you will be greeted with this view.

Simply navigate up to “File” and press “Print”

Print Properties
Print Properties

You will then be greeted with the “Print Properties” window. Please click the “Preferences…” button to set up the printer driver.

Printer Driver Setup
Printer Driver Setup

The printer driver settings should look like the image above.

Material Selection
Material Selection

NOTE: Please take care to make sure the correct material is selected in the “Material Settings” section. This should have the correct Constant Speed material selected. Constant Speed 25% will run the laser with 25% speed, 50% for 50 etc..

JobControl View
JobControl View

If everything is done correctly, you should see the test pattern in JobControl with each colour selected. Again I must stress, if your material under test is flammable or can be easily damaged due to high heat, please skip any engraving colour that might cause damage to the material.

An operator must be supervising the material testing at all times. By using these test files, you as the operator of the laser, take full responsibility for any damages caused by the misuse of these files.

That’s it for now

Catch ya next time!