Cask ends for Diageo

Cask ends for Diageo

Posted Posted in Corporate, Wood

My earliest high profile job came as a result of networking.

Whilst visiting the new bottling plant at Diageo‘s Leven site with Fife Chamber of Commerce, I met Richard the site manager. I had a chance to tell him about LaserFlair and that I could help with customised engraving jobs that might come up. Within two weeks, he was on the phone asking if I could help with a project.

Top secret!

Richard told me that in a fortnight, a VIP was to open the new bioenergy plant and distillery expansion at the Cameron Bridge Distillery near Leven. He wanted two cask ends to be engraved with the Cameron Brig logo and details about the grand opening.

One cask end was to be hung on the wall at the distillery to commemorate the visit, and the other would be part of an oak cask filled with Cameron Brig whisky. During the opening ceremony, the VIP would ‘hammer in the bung’ of the filled cask. It would then be stored for maturation before being auctioned off for charity. Richard told me that this project was be top secret because of the identity of the VIP.

 Cameron Brig artwork proofs

Artwork set up

A week later, one of Richard’s colleagues sent me a copy of the Cameron Brig logo with the wordings to be engraved. Ian also gave me a diagram of how he wanted the engravings to appear on the different cask ends. I sent him proofs that he approved. All the black detail was to be raster (fill in) engraved. The outer green circles represent the cask end diameters and the space between the concentric green circles would be hidden by the cask rims.

hammering in the bung

There was a wee cooper

My next call was from Alan, the cooper from Diageo’s Alloa site. He was making the oak cask for the ceremony and would be present to help the Prime Minister hammer in the bung should he need it! Alan’s in the middle in the photo above with his apprentice to his left.

He wanted to bring the cask ends to the workshop for engraving and asked if he should bring the cask ends varnished or unvarnished. It didn’t make a difference to me, but the finish would look better if the engraved areas were varnished too. He decided that he’d prefer to have them engraved and then varnish the cask on one go. It would be more efficient and time was tight. He came that day, I engraved the cask ends and he picked them up less than 24 hours later.

Everyone was delighted with the engraved cask ends, and the hammering in of the bung went without a hitch.

 

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.

branded golf bag tags

Branded golf bag tags

Posted Posted in Corporate, Other, Wood

Shona from Holiday Essentials got in touch. Her customer, Scottish Golf Tours, wanted a welcome gift box for their American visitors. They wanted to include bespoke golf bag tags or keyrings that their customers would love so much that they’d keep using them after they returned home. Shona asked if I could help her create something special.

Designing the tags

I knew that 3mm laser ply would be perfect for making the tags as the laminated layers of wood give strength to detailed shapes and the material is well priced. We needed to find a chunky design that would be robust enough to last for years on a well used golf bag.

Shona found a fun design online in black and white and in vector format – ideal for laser cutting! Its license also allowed us to use it for commercial purposes. The details of the clubs and golf bag strap were chunky and there was space on the bag to engrave Scottish Golf Tours’ logo. Just perfect for what we needed!

 

artwork for golf bag tag
artwork for golf bag tags

Prototypes for approval

Shona came to the workshop and we made some prototypes together.

We made two samples: a keyring 75mm long and a golf bag tag 100mm long. Each sample was laser cut from 3mm laser ply and featured vector engraved golf bag detail with a raster engraved logo. As we thought the golf ball part of the logo was too small to engrave clearly, we just engraved the flag and the text. The small green box to the top left corner of the logo is a white square that covers the golf ball. This means that the laser doesn’t see it to engrave it.

Shona proudly took our samples to show Scottish Golf Tours who loved them both. It made sense to select one option. They realised that golf bag tags would be on display on golf courses more than keyrings. They wanted them to be objects of desire that their customers’ friends, family and fellow golfers would envy. Perhaps they would dream of their own visit to the Home of Golf! Scottish Golf Tours decided to proceed with the golf bag tags and placed an order with Holiday Essentials.

First production run

As the golf season was starting, there was no time to loose! The first order was for 200 tags. I made them as soon as I could and Shona compiled the gift boxes in time for Scottish Golf Tours’ first foreign visitors arriving.

Shona found beautiful leather straps which she looped through the golf bag strap to finish them.

Branding slate coasters

Branding slate coasters

Posted Posted in Corporate, Slate

Fife Chamber of Commerce wanted to create gifts that they could give to speakers at their events. Jacqui wanted something that would be good value, but classy. A gift that would be useful, and that you’d want to have on your desk and that colleagues would envy. She asked me if I could help, and I suggested slate coasters laser engraved with their logo. Slate is chunky and beautiful, and engraved really well.

Sourcing slate

The Just Slate Company is just down the road from the Fife Chamber of Commerce office in Kirkcaldy.  They import Spanish slate and make their products on site in Fife. Their products are chunky with a riven finish, with foam backing and a food safe resin finish, making them black and shiny.

Fife Chamber liked the idea of having something made and engraved locally. We agreed that as the Chamber are VAT registered that they would source the 110mm square coasters themselves and have them delivered directly to my workshop. This helped to keep the price down and I charged for artwork set up and unit engraving only.

Logo artwork

Jacqui sent several versions of the Chamber logo in colour, all in red, black and white, including a png, a giff and an eps. Eps files are vector files that are easy to rescale without loss of image quality. And in this case, changing the logo from colour to black and white was easy as the logo is relatively simple, so I could do it myself.

I rescaled the logo to 70 x 50mm. This looked good centred on the 110 x 110mm slate coasters, and sent Jacqui a proof.

Engraving slate

Once Jacqui had given me approval for the artwork, I carried on with engraving. When slate is engraved, the mark is silvery grey against the black background and it looks very smart.

It’s easy to overpower slate when engraving it. Only a small amount of power is needed. Overpowering makes the engraving appears yellowish and the engraved surface looks a bit pitted, detracting from the look of the product. Most of the slate I engrave comes from The Just Slate Company, and my usual machine settings worked well.

Fife Chamber of Commerce were so pleased with their coasters that they came back for more the following year.

 

Cambo Estate's wooden keyrings

Cambo Estate’s wooden keyrings

Posted Posted in Artwork, Corporate, Wood

Cambo Estate decided to have new keyrings made for their guest accommodation. They wanted to use chunky fobs of wood from the estate and engrave them with their logo on one side and accommodation details on the other side. We knew that the logo would be a challenge as it’s highly detailed. How would it look when scaled right down?

Engraving room names

Once the wooden blocks were ready, we could begin. They were 80 x 30mm, and felt smooth, chunky and light in the hand. Large enough to be hard to loose, but small enough to be easily carried!

Cambo wanted the text to be raster (fill in) engraved for maximum impact. They provided the artwork for all the accommodation names in black and white pdf files, which was perfect as it ensures good engraving quality. Text for each name was shown in rectangles representing the fob size so the engravings were located where the customer wanted them, offset to the right to leave room for holes to be drilled.

As the engravings were a good size, we engraved using our usual machine settings for wood. We had to secure the fobs in the machine to stop them from moving during production. Compressed air is blown at 1.5bar at the engraved surface to get best results, and this can blow small items out of place.

Engraving the Cambo Estate logo

Cambo’s logo is very detailed. It’s difficult to downscale logos like so that fine detail isn’t lost. In this case, the bird and the sheaf of wheat at the top of the logo and the helmet were the most vulnerable areas. It they engraved well at the size required, the logo would look fine.

Again, the customer supplied the logo as a black and white pdf.  We had to rescale the logo dramatically to fit the fobs. Using vector artwork means that this can be done with no reduction in artwork quality.

Struan and Frances were open minded about how they wanted the logo to appear on the keyrings. Would the logo look better engraved at the bottom of vertical keyrings or in the middle of horizontal keyrings (pictured)? From the start, I was sure that the latter option would be better as the logo could be made bigger, increasing the chances of success.

We did sample raster engraves of both options. My hunch was right. Horizontally engraved keyrings looked good and were just big enough to see all the detail. Including the text, the logo is 24 x 36mm, and the coat of arms alone is tiny at 13 x 15mm.

A lot of details were lost on the vertical sample.  Unfortunately, it was just too small to work well.

Cambo approved the horizontal option, and we engraved all the backs of the keyrings. We used a much slower speed to engrave the logos – a quarter of the speed used to engrave the accommodation names! This kept the logo as sharp as possible. We also engraved the coat of arms with more power than the text underneath to give more definition.

Finishing touches

Cambo drilled and countersunk holes in all the engraved fobs ready for the split ring keyring hoops.

branding an exhibition stand

Branding an exhibition stand

Posted Posted in Corporate, Exhibitions, Signage

Strathearn Stone and Timber (SST) planned to exhibit at The Home Building and Renovating Show in Edinburgh. After rebranding and relaunching their website, they wanted to make the right impression at the exhibition and show off as much as possible! This was the moment to build an impressive stand to reflect the beauty of their products.

Engraved panels

Mark, the MD, wanted to line the walls and floor of their stand with their wooden floor and wall panelling products. And they had a cunning idea to add branding. Knowing how good their products look when laser engraved, they asked us to engrave several pieces of panelling with their logo. These boards would be mounted in strategic places around the walls and floor of the stand to best effect.

Artwork

SST sent a vector version of their logo in black and white. This was perfect as I needed to rescale it to fit comfortably within the width of the wooden boards. Jpg and png images can loose quality when resized but that doesn’t happen with vector files, so we knew that the artwork quality would be print quality. And black and white artwork is perfect as the laser engraves or doesn’t engrave. There’s no ambiguity, and the laser engraves the black areas and doesn’t engrave the white areas.

All the boards were the same width, so one piece of artwork was required to engrave all the boards.  We set up the artwork so that the logo was centred on each board.

Production

Strathearn Stone and Timber provided wooden boards from their ranges in oak and pine and brought them to the workshop and we engraved them with a nice deep raster (fil in) engrave. It was important that the branding should stand out clearly and be visible from a distance

After the boards were engraved, Strathearn cut them to size and finished them. Their stand exuded the quality and natural beauty of their products.