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.

Waymarking posts for Kinghorn Creative

Waymarking posts for Kinghorn Creative

Posted Posted in Designers, Stainless steel, Thermark, Wood

Ritchie Feenie from Kinghorn Creative was asked to design and create six sign posts for Kinghorn Community Land Association. He asked if I could advise him on design and then laser engrave the sign posts.

Style of post

Ritchie sent me some pictures of how he wanted the posts to look. He wanted them to be square in profile and a metre high, but he wanted the tops cut at an angle with engraving on the angled surface. Would this be possible?

I knew this would be tricky as the posts would have to be propped up in the machine to make the angled surface horizontal, and the posts would have to be limited in length to 1300mm to fit inside the machine.

Then Ritchie had an idea. If we had engraved metal plates on the angled surfaces, we wouldn’t need to put the posts in the laser for engraving so we wouldn’t have to worry about their size. I could order stainless steel plates and engrave them much more easily.

We decided to use green oak or larch for the posts as they’re great for outdoor use without treatment. As larch was the cheaper option, Ritchie settled on that.

 

Deciding on the artwork

Initially, Ritchie’s customers wanted all the engraving to be on the stainless steel plaques. Ritchie sent me a proposed design. My initial thought was that too much detail was squeezed onto the plates. I was worried that the details could be too fine for good engraving results, especially on the Lottery logos. As the project was lottery funded, the logos needed to be well defined and easy to read.

As nothing that could be lost from the design, Ritchie suggested to his customer that some of the engraving could be on the wood under the metal plates. It was agreed that this would be a good place for the Lottery logos that could be made much larger and clearer.

Creating waymarking posts

Ritchie ordered six 1300mm larch posts and brought them to the workshop for engraving, and the Lottery logos came out as well as I’d hoped. I put the posts sideways into the laser, dropping the machine bed to suit the depth of the posts. Then, I engraved the logos sideways onto them to they were in the right orientation on the posts.

I ordered six metal plates in marine grade stainless steel plates. It’s ideal for coastal locations as it can withstand salty conditions without corroding. We decided to get plates with radiused corners to make the corners rounded to match the edges of the posts.

To achieve an engraving on stainless steel, I spread Thermark paste onto the plates, let it dry and then engrave. Thermark leaves a weatherproof, abrasion resistant enamel mark where the laser has melted the glass particles and trapped black pigment onto the metal surface. You can one of the plates after engraving in the picture above. Excess Thermark is then removed, leaving the shiny plate with a high contrast engraving.

Once I had glued the plates onto the posts, they were ready for Ritchie to install.

 

Have you got a project that you think we could help you with? Contact us or ask for a quote.

Vaccines facility sign for GSK

Vaccines facility sign for GSK

Posted Posted in Signage, Stainless steel, Thermark

GSK Montrose was preparing to open their first vaccines facility in the UK. This new £44 million manufacturing site will provide ingredients for more than 400 million vaccinations a year worldwide.

A commemorative plaque was required for the opening ceremony. Dave Mackenzie got in touch to ask if I could engrave a brushed stainless steel sign in time for 15th August when they were expecting the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to do the honours.

Proofs for sign

David sent over a couple of sign mock ups and a GSK logo. He wanted a plain font with the GSK logo in the top right corner. Unfortunately, the artwork was very pixellated and not of high enough resolution to deliver good engravings. To achieve the best results, I created the text in vector format, traced the orange GSK logo to turn it into a vector too and sent a proof to David for approval together with a quote.

David decided to supply the stainless steel plaques to get the size and thickness they wanted.

GSK sign zoom

How to engrave a stainless steel sign

Once David had approved the artwork and the stainless steel plates arrived, I could get to work.

As the laser isn’t powerful enough to engrave stainless steel, I used Thermark, a metal marking paste. It’s a mixture of glass particles and black pigment. Once it’s been spread on the surface to be engraved, it needs to be allowed to dry. Then engraving can commence.

When the laser engraves the paste, it melts the glass and traps the black pigment onto the surface of the metal. This process forms a thin layer of black enamel on the surface of the metal that can just be felt with a fingernail. It’s weatherproof and highly scratch resistant, making it perfect for outdoor display. And the matt black mark gives good contrast against the metal.

When the engraving was complete, the sign was rinsed to remove traces of the leftover paste.

David was pleased with the sign that arrived with time to spare, and the sun shone for the big day!

Have you got a project that you think we could help you with? Contact us or ask for a quote.

tiny logos on beard scissors

Tiny logos on beard scissors

Posted Posted in Artwork, Corporate, Stainless steel, Thermark

One of my most unusual enquiries came from Beard Juice. Wayne wanted to sell some beard accessories alongside his new range of beard oils, and chose surgical stainless steel beard trimming scissors. He wanted to brand them with his logo, but knew that this would be a challenge on two levels. Could I engrave on metal? And could I engrave his logo small enough to fit on the largest area available – the hinge area of the scissors?

Engraving tiny logos

Wayne sent me a copy of the Beard Juice logo in black and white. I worked out that to engrave the logo in the right place, it could be 19mm wide maximum. I was concerned that the detail in the logo wouldn’t come out clearly enough as the text lines were very fine, and the feathering around the edges might be completely lost at that scale. It was clear that the copyright logo at the top right would be too small to be seen clearly, so Wayne said I could remove it.

Beard Juice logo

Prototypes

Wayne send me some scissors to perform some sample engravings on. We needed to check whether the stainless steel of the scissors would be compatible with the Thermark metal marking paste. It was also important to see whether or not the logo would engrave at a high enough quality.

Thermark is a mixture of glass particles and black pigment. It looks like a grey paste and it is spread onto the surface to be engraved. After it has dried, it can be raster or vector engraved. We chose raster engraving in this case. The laser melts the glass and traps the pigment onto the surface of the metal as a layer of black enamel. Residual paste is then washed off.

Beard Juice logo zoom

It’s a great technique offering good contrast against stainless steel. But it hasn’t worked with every stainless steel sample I’ve engraved using this method. It did in this case, and the logo came up beautifully despite all my concerns. There’s no substitute for preparing samples. Then customers can be confident that they have a good product at the right price before they commit to investing in new product lines.

I sent the prototypes back to Wayne who was delighted and promptly ordered more for engraving.

branding stainless steel cocktail keys

Branding stainless steel cocktail keys

Posted Posted in Artwork, Corporate, Other, Stainless steel, Thermark

We’ve been branding stainless steel cocktail keys for Panch Drinks recently. They’re made in three sections for measuring fixed amounts of sweet, sour and strong ingredients, allowing cocktail recipes from mojitos to Moscow mules to be mixed to perfection every time.

These measures are made from stainless steel. Our laser can engrave some types of metal, and stainless steel usually gives good results. We had to use Thermark metal marking paste as the laser can’t engrave the metal directly.

Small logos

The circular bases of the cocktail keys are only 50mm in diameter, which means that logos must be small to fit the space. As a rule, the smaller the logo is made, the harder it is to reproduce the fine detail when engraving it. Thick lines become thin, and fine detail that would look great on a large scale becomes almost indiscernible when scaled down to a few centimetres wide. In this case, we had to remove all the detail apart from the text, and even then I had to engrave some samples to make sure I could get good engraving results.

How does Thermark work?

Thermark is a mixture of pigment and glass particles. When the laser engraves it, it melts the glass and traps the pigment onto the metal surface, forming an enamel finish for a durable, weatherproof mark. Perfect for using in bars!