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Adding Value with a Laser

By MIKE FRUCIANO

The ornaments were created using thin wood sheets covered with foil. The foil was applied to the top of the wood, then engraved and cut.

The lettering on these frames was created with thin wood sheet appliqués.

The fine engraving detail and cutting capabilities of modern laser systems can create outstanding effects, and by understanding a few basic techniques and knowing the best materials to work with, these special effects can add extra value to every engraving sale.

The development of materials and processes has been dramatic in the last few years and has added many new possibilities for decorative laser engraving. Foils, laminates and other laser-friendly materials are cost effective options that have become widely available. The ability to add color and unique features to laser engraved products is now easier than ever!

Adding value to your laser engraved products is one reason to consider laser decorating. Making your products look more elegant increases their perceived value in the customer's eyes. Adding simple decorations to an already attractive product makes good merchandise even better.

If the engraving job is preplanned, simple decorations can be added to products without increasing your overall production times. Consider the setup time and extra handling needed to create special engraving effects before starting a large or small order. Calculate the time required for special fixturing, templates or cleanup of customer supplied artwork.

An ounce of planning can save you a pound of headaches if you know what you are getting into both time- and material-wise. Attending seminars and workshops, if available in your area, is a great way to stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest techniques and materials, and are excellent investments for both you and your staff.

Also, working with laser-tested products is another important factor. Common problems for non laser-friendly products include melting, poor cutting and emission of hazardous fumes. You can waste time, money and materials trying to laser non laser-friendly materials. Contact the material manufacturer or distributor for tips on working with specific products. Ask about product laserability as well as technical recommendations like power and speed settings. Using the correct materials will be a real timesaver and product the best quality results.

The paint filling process is a great way to add pizzazz to products, and it's a simple technique. The most common approach involves applying a masking material to the product to be engraved and then using your laser to engrave through the mask.

Mr. Fruciano is the co-founder of LaserBits, Inc. The company's web site, www.laserbits.com, features products and information specially for laser systems owners worldwide. Mike may be contacted by phone at 602 943-1228 or by e-mail at mike@laserbits.com

P.O. Box 7065 / Algonquin, IL 60102/ Phone: 1.815.477.0778 / Fax: 1.815.477.1210