Having Fun with Laser Technology
So, your armed with a 60 watt laser. Capable of easily cutting through many 1/2″ materials within the width of a human hair. What do you do with it? That is our question to you. We want to get your creative juices flowing. We know the more answers we give the more questions you might have, but that is a good thing. That means your mind wheels are turning.
There are a few limitations to keep in mind, so we might as well list them. The thickness of material that can be cut is limited by the power of the laser. The power of the laser also determines how fast a material can be cut. The power and speed must be set properly in order to get good results on the cleanness of the cut and what type of edge is created. Too slow and it will burn. Too fast and it won’t cut through. This is where our experience comes into play.
Some materials can be cut through and others can only be engraved. We will talk more about this in a minute.
The laser is held in a cross-arm that moves on the X and Y axis. Therefore, it cannot laser “around” items. The item is what must turn. So, to engrave a glass, for example, the glass is what must rotate. The surface of what ever you are cutting or engraving must be flat. This is due to the fact that the laser is “focusing its energy” to a very specific point. This point should remain constant. If the distance to the item changes the result is a laser that is out of focus and it won’t do its job.
Cutting – Cutting through items such as plexiglass (up to 1/2″), leathers, fabric, wood (1/4″),
Engraving – Engraving is marking the top surface of a material. This is usually done on items that are too hard to cut with this wattage of laser. Some industrial lasers (can go up to 6000 watts) can cut thicker material. If you are interested in this, let us know. The accuracy and control of the laser if phenomenal. You can engrave your face on a potato chip if you like. Ever see your mug on a pop-tart®?
You will begin to look at items you see in a new light. When I see a leather belt now I see cool designs for my soon to be Eagle scout. What a great gift when he receives his Eagle rank. What is the design? Only my imagination is the limit.
Art – Art files are in two categories. Vector art for cutting and Raster art for engraving. It is best if you use the Adobe products, so file transfer between us is smooth and can occur across MAC and PC. Adobe Illustrator files are best for cutting and Adobe Photoshop are best for engraving. However, we can help you with conversions of some files if you need.
The cutting is fairly straightforward. We will have to prepare your file for the laser by changing the colors of your image. A specific red cuts while other colors indicate other actions by the laser. There is a fee for this prep. The more you know about how to prepare your files the more you will save.
Engraving is a bit more tricky. These are the raster files. The different shades of gray will help the laser know how deep to make the engraving. The darker the pixel the deeper it goes. We tell the software what we are cutting and how thick it is.
There is an art to this process and experience definitely helps. It is not yet a robotic operation. That is where we come in.
We encourage you to look at your items in a whole new way. How can you increase value, increase interest, or increase security?
Isn’t it fun to only be limited by your imagination?
©2012 Laser Creatives, All Rights Reserved