Global Featured Business – Trophy Studios

We’re pleased to announce our next Featured Business, located in Western Australia, Australia. Trophy Studios may still be relatively young, but they have established a great clientele base throughout Australia. Contact Name: Milan Shah Contact details: [email protected]  Tel :0433 294 878 W: Established: 2013 Location: 12 Fernlea St, Warwick, WA 6024 Number of staff: […]

CNC Laser Engraving Wood Logs (Pioneer Bling)

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

Laser Cut Dad Tie (636 downloads)


CNC Fiber Laser Annealing 304 Stainless Steel

In this guest article, our regular guest blogger Canadian registered business 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 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… whether stainless steel or anodized aluminum or anything else, it’s your choice.

cnc fiber laser annealing 304 stainless steel



Thinking of buying a used laser machine? Beware!

We have another article courtesy of our Canadian registered businesses who shares their experience and advice about why you shouldn’t buy a used laser machine.

As a follow-up to my previous blog post about branding issues with Chinese laser manufacturers, the next step down the totem pole for most shops looking for a cheap laser are going the used route.

My Situation

I bought a new Trotec Speedy 400 flexx, it had the nice factory smell out of the crate, for me, going used was NEVER an option. The problem with finding a used Trotec Speedy 400 flexx in Canada at the time was that there were none, I was the first one to have it in this country!

I did have a lot of other options, finding a used (name your laser manufacturer) by contacting the manufacturers directly is the best approach, you’ll read about why later in this blog. Companies are always changing, what they bought years ago may not suit them anymore for various reasons and you can stand to get a very good machine for a lot less, sometimes still under warranty.

Things to watch for:


The money you spend on a CNC laser is directly proportional to the value of the tube, never forget this. The lower the price, regardless of the condition of the machine, the less value the tube has as it’s such a significant % of the overall value and price of the machine.

Different tubes have different lifespans even if they are the same, a glass tube lasts the least, a ceramic one the most. A fiber tube may have less wattage (30 watts in my case) but it costs significantly more than the equivalent in CO2. YAG is somewhere in-between depending on specs. So, if you see a machine with a 50 watt fiber tube for the same price as a 50 watt CO2 tube, something is up.

To add to the complexity, you also have to contend with leakage. CO2 tubes lose power over time, that brand new 130 watt CO2 machine bought new 5 years ago is no longer 130 watts today!

This is why you MUST ask that the tube be checked, takes less than a minute, to find out the TRUE wattage, don’t negotiate based on stickers, negotiate based on actual testing!

Buying a used CNC laser


How do you test to see if a laser is properly aligned? Laser cut a circle, cut a few of them (you can engrave too), regardless of the media, you shouldn’t see any “overlap” and you should have a closed loop. If the starting and end point of the circle don’t match, something is wrong and it needs to be fixed.

Also, test odd shapes and sizes, just to verify that the start point of the laser is the same as the end point. If your table isn’t perfectly flat or level, you’ll also see variations in engraving and cut quality as well. Don’t just cut a rectangle that’s 2 inches by 1 inches and base your buying decision on that. It’s too easy.

Buying a used CNC laser


I understand you are buying a used machine, but at the very least, you should have a clean lens and machine. If the lens is black, walk away. If the machine is dirty, walk away… this isn’t a used car that was left in the wilderness for 10 years, it’s a CNC laser that should have been well maintained and kept in tip-top shape. At the very least, the company should have cleaned it BEFORE you walked in the door out of courtesy.

Now, if you see the CNC laser bed all scratched-up, that’s fine, ask about getting a new one put in place… that’s really the least of your worries. It just shows the person who used the machine before actually USED IT which isn’t a bad sign.

Scratches and dings on the laser itself are nothing unless they cause the entire frame to go out of alignment. Even my NEW machine, after a few months, has a few scratches on it… from moving material on the bed and around the machine.

Buying a used CNC laser


If you are buying your machine from a quality manufacturer, it should have a warranty. If it doesn’t, just don’t buy it and move along. It’s a good idea to ask about extended warranties as well. Yes, the offshore laser guys will have a warranty, but if you have to pay for travel expenses, room and board… it’s useless. Make sure things can be fixed as locally as possible and ask about EMERGENCY situations.

“My laser blew the tube and it’s 1 am and I have a project due noon tomorrow, what would you do?”

Good answer “No problem, you come to my showroom and finish the work and we’ll set you up with a replacement within a few days, if not, we’ll ship you a loaner machine.”

Bad answer “It never happens so don’t worry about it” (what they are telling you is you are F#cked and not to bother them as soon as they get their money)

Buying a used CNC laser


There are GOOD sales guys and there are BAD ones. It’s often too late when you discover which you’ve been dealing with. Regardless of what you are TOLD, make sure to have everything in writing, including the tube power tests (they should do this right in-front of you), type of lens you will be getting, warranty information and payment terms.

A GOOD sales guy will do this automatically, not for your protection but for THEIRS, a bad one won’t care. Remember, you want your sales guy to be a bean counter and methodical, not your customers. I’m a bit different with my approach to sales, being a bit more creative but at the end of the day, I make sure that expectations are CLEARLY outlined.



Here is a fantastic case in point to illustrate this. A&E Magazine wrote a great article about USED LASERS, you can read it here “Used Lasers—A Great Deal or A Great Pain“. Give it a read, and you, like me, might be SERIOUSLY tempted to contact Access Business Solutions ( as hey, they sound like an expert being quoted by a magazine.

READ THIS: WARNING concerning Access Used Lasers

That “good idea” doesn’t sound so good anymore does it? The point I’m making is that regardless of what you read online, you are buying capital equipment that yes, you are trying to buy on the cheap, but is still a significant investment in time and treasure. If you can’t meet with anybody in person, DO NOT SEND THEM MONEY OR BUY FROM THEM. You aren’t buying a keychain!

Wood Industry Social Network (WISnet)

When I bought my brand new Trotec Speedy 400 flexx laser, I knew the people I was buying it from personally for more than two years. Simon, the director of Trotec Laser Australia taught me everything I know along with his son Reece and the staff at I shook their hands so much through those two years that no handshake was required when I closed the deal, only banking information! I used their equipment, got to know the whole team and I seriously couldn’t have had better mentorship before taking the plunge myself in short notice.

It gave me confidence and I knew the pitfalls of getting into the custom CNC business before I even started – that’s why my buying decision from saying “I need to buy one, how much” to me running to the bank to give two deposits on my machine took less than an hour to happen. It took so long because I literally ran to the bank!

I realize I’m a special case but I can only hope that you have a similar circumstance before you jump into the industry and buy your first laser or any other CNC equipment. If your plan is to treat the laser like a used car and drop in, give your cash after kicking the tires and leave with a thriving business… you are in for a world of hurt.

Custom Designed and Laser Cut Acrylic Hangers

In this video, one of our Canadian registered businesses designs and laser cuts acrylic hangers using their Trotec Speedy 400 flexx laser.

The applications for this range from corporate branding to wedding favors and even personal use, custom hangers are a great way to get a message out regardless of location and this will actually be used for years to come. These have been very popular with many design houses and fashion stores globally. is a professional custom CNC and laser shop based in Ontario, Canada with clients worldwide. can engrave, etch, mark, anneal and cut any material for any application in addition to custom design / build solutions.