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Posted by Wayne on March 14, 2003 at 14:11:09:

In Reply to: Re: Laser Engraving and Marking posted by Chris on March 14, 2003 at 11:58:47:

The systems work like a plotter attached to a PC. Mine uses Corel Draw, so the stuff needs to be put into Corel. Corel is vector based. When we get bitmapped artwork, we have to clean and convert it. Right now, my daughter does this work in Adobe Illustrator and saves it in an "ai" file which we bring into Corel. I think it is also simple to do in Corel, but her expertise is in Illustrator so it is faster for her.

Technically, the artwork is done in layers. Then lines are assigned a color. The color is the way we set the speed and power. That way we can have some lines that are going to burn, engrave, or cut.

What I was thinking was that for high buck items like teak wood spearguns, we would engrave about 1/16 deep or so. If we want to get fancy we could engrave at a depth then cut a piece to fit and make it an inlay. For dry aplications this is no problem, for inwater use, I am not sure if inlays are a way to go (glue issues and stuff). Marking on metal is a bit different with a surface coating being zapped onto the surface or an anodize being blasted off or turned white.

When I first thought of doing some scuba type gear, my thoughts were that if I owned a dive shop, I would mark all my rental gear for ease of ID. That way the setup costs would be spread over many engravings. Imagine doing 20 sets of fins or 30 regulators and the costs get reasonable in a hurry. If I add this service (ID of SCUBA gear) I would try to market it directly to shops. But when I got to thinking of folks who have underwater cameras stolen, I thought how engraving would completely destroy the street value of the stolen property. Also, identical gear would never be mixed up on a boat. I will engrave my cheapo camera!

I have committed to do some freebie work marking sporting goods for a high school and and other non-profit places.

My laser is small -- 11 X 17 platen, so I can't take really big things into it without modification.


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