Branded wooden sign for selfie bug

Branded wooden sign for selfie bug

Posted Posted in Signage, Wood

Craig Hutchison of Vollood Hair and Beauty in Dunfermline has a lovely old VW Beetle covered in Vollood branding. He wanted a piece of wood engraved with his logo to sit in front of the roof rack as a finishing touch.  Vollood Hair and Beauty is Dunfermline’s only vegan hair and beauty salon. Craig fitted it out with a smart yet sustainable vibe using lots of reclaimed wood, and the sign matched this look perfectly.

As part of his social media campaign, Craig planned to park the bug at different places around the town. People could win vouchers if they spotted it and posted selfies with the car.

Craig visited the workshop with the wood and we planned to complete the job while he waited.

Adjusting the logo artwork

Before he arrived, Craig sent me a vector file of his logo so I could make sure it was right for what I needed.  It was. Vector files are really flexible as I can rescale them and make customised tweaks to suit what the customer wants. In this case, Craig wanted the logo to fit the long, thin piece of wood he’d brought.

For clarity, Craig wanted the logo to be as big as possible. As the wood is narrowest in the middle and the logo is widest in the middle, I scaled it so that there’d be a 10mm gap between the engraving and the top and bottom edges of the wood at the narrowest point. He thought of removing ‘Hairdressing and Beauty’ and make ‘Vollood’ bigger, but decided not to in the end.

Vollood sign on the laser
Vollood sign on the laser

Engraving the wood

For stability, I usually sit large pieces of wood in the bottom of the machine after removing the knife bed.

Craig wanted the logo engraved as deep and dark as possible. He loved watching the machine engrave his logo and how the wood grain stood out clearly in the engraved areas.

He took the wood home to treat it for outdoor display outdoors. After he mounted it on the car, he posted photos on Facebook.

 

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

Fish & Frites festival menu boards

Fish and Frites festival menu boards

Posted Posted in Signage, Stainless steel, Wood

Sarah and Jordan from Fish & Frites were preparing to take their gorgeous blue Citroen mobile food van to The Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the first time. They wanted to have a flexible menu board and find a way to add branding to their batter shield and asked if I could help.

Wooden menu board

Sarah’s van has an area to the right of the serving hatch that was ideal for locating a menu board.  Something flexible was needed that could be altered for different occasions.

She has the idea of a board with interchangeable slats that different menu items could be engraved onto, and liked the idea that they could also be reversible to use both sides of the wood as only one side would be visible at any time. They also wanted something that they can use not just at the Festival, but afterwards at other festivals and events.

As Sarah has a joiner in the family, she asked him to make something simple and interesting. Then I could engrave each slat.

When the slats were ready, Sarah brought them round. She chose a font and we set up the artwork together to make sure she was happy with everything. After she approved a final proof, I engraved and varnished each slat.

Fish & Frites wooden menu
Fish & Frites wooden menu

Batter shield branding

This shield is a large piece of stainless steel bent at 90 degrees in the middle. It was added to the van give the cooking areas more protection from the weather. Sarah and Jordan thought it should also work hard to promote their business and wanted their logo engraved on it. Quite right too!

Fitting it into the machine was a challenge! When the engraved side sat in the machine, the other side (next to the ketchup bottles) had to hang out of the front during production.

As the logo was to appear in the centre of the front face, I had to scale the logo so that the engraved area would fit in the engraving bed. Part of the engraved side would be outside the engraving bed or be outside the machine entirely. 75mm diameter was the largest I could make it and Sarah was happy with that.

Finally, I had to make sure I engraved the logo the right way up!  I rotated the logo 90 degrees clockwise so it would be the right way up when the shield was mounted.

Once everything was ready, I painted the engraving area with Thermark metal marking paste, let it dry and engraved the logo. Thermark leaves a lovely matt black enamel mark that stands out and is weather proof and scratch resistant. Sarah and Jordan were delighted.

Fish & Frites stainless steel batter shield
Fish & Frites stainless steel batter shield

Fish & Frites at the Edinburgh Festival

Fish & Frites van looks even smarter with its new features, and they cooked up a storm at Edinburgh’s Underbelly. Their fish & chips are some of the best I’ve ever had, so if you see them near you, don’t hesitate to try their delicious food!

 

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

Shetland Wool Week plywood brooches

Shetland Wool Week plywood brooches

Posted Posted in Jewellery, Prototyping, Wood

Donna Smith lives in Shetland and designs and writes knitting patterns. She also teaches workshops and classes in knitting and design around the world.

Donna is a past patron of Shetland Wool Week, and was asked to design and commission brooches of a Shetland jumper for this year’s event.  So she contacted me to ask if I could make them from plywood.

Brooch artwork

Vector artwork is ideal for projects where products are laser cut and engraved. Donna sent a perfect file.

Her design included the square and cross elements from the Merrie Dancers Toorie pattern by this year’s Shetland Wool Week patron, Elizabeth Johnston (Shetland Handspun). She wanted the intricate pattern around the yoke raster engraved.

She also wanted a ribbed effect at the cuffs and the waistband of the jumpers. These details would be created by a series of cut through lines.

Shetland jumper brooch prototypes

Protype brooches

As soon as Donna had confirmed how she wanted all the details of the brooch to look, I made prototypes to ensure I could make something that Donna would love.  These brooches are 68 x 45mm which is not especially small, but the details on them are very fine. Yoke detail would need to be very crisp and fine cuts can be liable to burning on the backs of products if settings are even slightly out.

Donna agreed that 3mm plywood would be fine. I created two prototypes with different weights of engraving to choose between. One brooch featured a lighter engrave and the other a darker engrave with more depth that was created using more power. You can see them in the picture above.

Selecting a product

In the end, the darker engrave was selected and Donna asked me to proceed with making the brooches. She needed enough time to attach the brooch clasps and send them out to their premium members before Shetland Wood Week begins on 22nd September! The video above shows how they’re engraved and then cut out on the machine.

 

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.