Can I supply my own materials?

Can supply my own materials?

Posted Posted in FAQ, Materials

This is a question that customers ask, and it’s something that I’m very flexible about. If you’d like to supply your own, that’s fine by me. I can just quote for production time and the one off artwork set up fee.

Each customer and each project are different, and I’m happy to be flexible to help customers create the products they want. Hopefully this blog will help you understand what we need to think about and give you some inspiration too.

What materials does LaserFlair stock?

I stock and can quickly source laser ply and mdf from 2 to 9mm thick. This makes sense for me as I use them for lots of different jobs from golf bag tags to geese shown in the video below.

Perspex in black, white and clear are standard, so they’re easy for me to order, unless you want a matt, glitter or frosted material.

I work with a couple of furniture makers who provide wood for signs and other applications. And The Just Slate Company in Kirkcaldy supply high quality slate coasters and cheeseboards that make great corporate gifts when engraved.

Very specific requirements

Some materials have lots of options to choose from. Paper and card come in so many thicknesses, colours, textures and sheet sizes, as do Perspex and formica.

Materials like leather also come in a range of finishes . Some customers want them treated with specific dyes like vegetable variants. Leather can have so many textures, thicknesses and finishes on both sides of the product.

In cases like these, it’s safest for customers to order what they want. I’m happy for the materials to be sent directly to me to save time and postage costs. Or sometimes, customers want to bring them to my workshop and watch them being processed.

Something completely different

I’ve successfully engraved axes, drumsticks (top picture), cocktail keys, wooden tankards, stainless steel hipflasks  and leather aprons that customers have brought to me, aswell as cheeseboards and coasters, toy boxes and signs.

Brides have ordered coasters or pieces of wood they want engraved for favours and table settings. They’ve even brought large pieces of wood sourced from furniture makers as wedding logs that their guests can sign around an engraving of their names and wedding date.

A small question of VAT

LaserFlair is not VAT registered. If you are, another benefit of buying your own materials can save you money as you can claim VAT back. If I bought them, I’d need to absorb the VAT and pass it on to you.

 

Have you got a product you’d like to develop but aren’t sure how? Contact us or ask for a quote.

Personalised axes for Best Man gifts

Personalised axes for Best Man gifts

Posted Posted in Leather, Other

Iain got married last Saturday. He presented his Best Men with high quality axes that he’d asked me to engrave for him. This is how we did it.

Engraving high quality axes

Iain knew he wanted axes, and he wanted them personalised for his friends. He searched for personalised axes, but he couldn’t find any of high quality, so he decided to buy the axes he wanted. He brought them to the workshop and we discussed how he wanted the engravings to look.

We had two options – to engrave the wooden handles, or the leather head covers. Iain decided he wanted the head covers engraved on the presentation side . There were logos on the wooden handle.

Axe head metal isn’t usually compatible with laser engraving as I’ve found from past experience, and the engravings would be more likely to be damaged during use.

I engraved a  leather cartridge belt recently. Iain had seen the pictures on social media and liked the effect.

Personalised text

After some thought, Iain decided to go with his best men’s initials and the date of the wedding. He wanted to keep things simple and bold, so we settled on the Arial font. There was a nice flat area on the leather covers for  30 x 30mm engravings.

We agreed that the engravings would look best orientated so the text of the engravings and axe branding all read on the same plane.

I created proofs for him to approve, making the initials 48 point and the dates 24 point to create neat 33 x 23mm rectangles that would fit the covers nicely.

axe after engraving

Engraving the axes

I set up individually in the in the laser to get the engraving positioning just right.  Then I wedged some perspex blocks under the blades to lift the areas to be engraved so they were as flat as possible to keep the laser in focus. This was much easier to do withthe covers were in position on the axes to keep them steady.

Iain loved the results and picked the axes up a couple of days before the wedding.

 

Have you got a product you’d like to develop but aren’t sure how? Contact us or ask for a quote.

engraving stainless steel hip flasks

Branding stainless steel hip flasks

Posted Posted in Corporate, Stainless steel

Tom and Karen opened their new Scotch whisky gift shop, The Wee Couper of Fife, six weeks ago.  Initially, they asked me to laser cut gift box foam inserts for them. Then they had another idea. They’d ordered stainless steel hip flasks for inclusion in some of the sets, but their supplier sent the wrong size for the gift boxes!

Rather than returning the 200 flasks, Tom and Karen wondered if I could engrave them with their logo so they could sell them separately.

Engraving stainless steel

My laser can mark some metals directly, but stainless steel isn’t one of them unfortunately. However, there is a wonderful product called Thermark that changes this. It’s a grey paste made up of fine glass particles and black pigment. After it’s been painted on and left to dry, I can engrave as usual.

This process leaves a matt black enamel mark on the metal surface and the remainder of the paste can be washed off. It’s weather proof and highly scratch resistant, and it sits slightly proud of the metal’s surface.

I knew it would be perfect for the hipflasks as it would give a high contrast engraving.  Tom and Karen liked the idea.

Branding artwork proof

Tom asked if I could make up a design using their logo with the text they wanted underneath. He sent me a copy of the logo in vector format so I could rescale it without loss of image quality. This is really important for achieving a high quality engraving.

Tom asked for the artwork  to be approximately 45 x 45mm so it would fit onto any hip flask size they had and we could use one size of artwork for them all. The flask in the picture at the top is one of the shortest flasks and you can see how the engraving fits.

Engraved hipflask set for The Wee Couper of Fife

Engraving sample hip flasks

Tom and Karen liked the proof and brought around a box with two sizes of large and small hip flasks. Both they engraved well. They were so pleased that they decided to have them all engraved, even the ones in the gift boxes! It’s a great way for the Coupers to add more branding to their products. Their customers will still use the hip flasks long after the miniatures have been consumed.

 

Have you got a product you’d like to develop but aren’t sure how? Contact us or ask for a quote.

Laser cut business cards for Ritchie Design

Laser cut business cards for Ritchie Design

Posted Posted in Designers, Paper

Courteney Ritchie is a recent graphic design graduate and has started her own business, Ritchie Design. She wanted to create her own bespoke business cards and had a clever idea for a two ply laser cut card that she wanted to have laser cut and engraved. She had an idea to play on her surname and make her business cards look like Rich Tea biscuits!

Business card vector artwork

Courteney sent me artwork for the layers to be cut from brown kraft card that she had delivered to me. All the artwork was in vector format as it’s perfect for laser cutting and vector engraving, a similar process to cutting but using much less power. This allows the surface to have a good contrast mark without being in any danger of cutting through the material.

The top layer of the business cards was to be completely laser cut and the base layer was to have all the detail vector engraved so that when the layers were put together, this detail would be visible, giving more depth to the cut detail. I made a prototype and the engraving underneath the cuts really did throw the layers into sharper relief.

Engraving thin kraft card

My biggest challenge in this project was engraving the bottom layer so that the laser didn’t cut through. This kraft card was thin, and engraving on my lightest settings did cut though in places, especially at the corners of the letters where the laser slows down to change direction.

I did some tests and decided that I could use a little less power for engraving so that I’d still get consistent but lighter mark with no danger of cut through.

Finishing the business cards

I sent all the card discs to Courteney and she glued the layers and added a printed backing with her contact details. Haven’t they turned out well? Here’s her blog about personal branding where she talks aboout them.

 

Have you got a product you’d like to develop but aren’t sure how? Contact us or ask for a quote.

Crail Castle Walkway panorama

Crail Castle Walkway panorama

Posted Posted in Signage, Wood

The Crail Preservation Society wanted to refresh the Crail Castle Walkway panorama showing landmarks on the opposite side of the Firth of Forth. The old one was printed and mounted in a box to protect it from the weather, but it hadn’t survived the elements in that exposed spot. This time, they wanted it engraved on a piece of wood to fit the location.

I love panoramas, so I was really excited about this project!

Converting the panorama artwork for engraving

Dennis wanted to use the artwork that had been used for the previous panorama. It had been created by artist Kurt Diggelman. It had to be modified as it was in colour and the laser can’t engrave in colour. Catriona of CatMac Design is a graphic designer who helps me out with things like this, and she worked with Dennis to a create black and white vector artwork conversion of Kurt’s image.

One of my concerns was whether the text would be easy to read without people having to bend down. To check this, I performed some test engraves of the smallest text and they worked better than I’d expected.

A piece of white oak

Dennis knew Frazer Reid of FAR Cabinet Makers, so he asked him about what wood would be best to use for this project. Not only did it have to look beautiful, but it had to be suitable for outdoor display in an exposed spot. Frazer suggested white oak, and supplied a beautifully prepared piece 1330 x 385mm and about an inch thick. The maximum width of the machine is 1340mm, so it was a snug fit!

Crail Castle Walkway panorama

Engraving the panorama detail

I used machine settings to make sure the detail of the text would be as clear as possible. Then I engraved the wood with maximum power for best possible contrast between the engravings and the wood. Dennis was delighted with the results. It’s hoped that the panorama will be installed this week in its new home.

 

Have you got a product you’d like to develop but aren’t sure how? Contact us or ask for a quote.

personalising a leather cartidge belt

Personalising a leather cartridge belt

Posted Posted in Leather, Other

Customers often ask if I can personalise special gifts. I’ve engraved wallets, wooden boxes and even axes for best men and ushers!

Vicky asked me if I could engrave a leather cartridge belt for her son’s landmark birthday. Leather engraves well, and the appearance of engravings depends on the colour, type and finish of the leather.

This belt was very high quality and if I made a mistake, I knew I’d have to buy a new one!

Creating the vector artwork

Vicky wanted her son’s initials engraved on the belt. I typed them into my software and chose a font that she liked. I suggested choosing a finer font as the engraved areas of leather don’t look particularly attractive. They’re best minimised for best effect.

Personalising the belt

Vicky wanted the engraving to sit to the right of the buckle when fastened. I measured the space between the right hand edge of the buckle when fastened on the tightest hole and the nearest edge of the cartridge holders. Then I created a rectangle to represent that area of the belt, centred the artwork at the size Vicky wanted in it so they’d be engraved in the right place. We were ready to engrave!

laser engraved cartridge belt

What does engraved leather look like?

Engraving leather is like engraving card of different colours. Dye colour and depth of shade, and the depth to which artwork is engraved all contribute to the appearance of the engraving. It’s usually darker than the shade of the material and browner too as engraving is a burning process.

I had some engraved dark brown leather samples to show Vicky. She was keen to have an engraving that would stand out well and possibly be recessed into the leather.

After setting up the belt in the machine and checking it was the right way up so the cartridges wouldn’t fall out, I engraved the belt using my usual raster engraving settings for leather. The first pass was so clear and Vicky was so pleased that she didn’t feel the need to have the engraving any deeper.

 

Have you got a product you’d like to develop but aren’t sure how? Contact us or ask for a quote.