Feedspot's Top 40 Laser Cutting Blogs

Feedspot’s Top 40 Laser Cutting Blogs

Posted Posted in Other

Feedspot is a website that allows people to follow their favourite blogs in one place. They also compile lists of blogs in a range of categories.

Last week, they published a list of the Top 40 Laser Cutting Blogs and Websites on Laser Cutting, Engraving, Marking and Etching. You can find here. Anuj Agarwal, Feedspot’s founder, sent me an email to let me know that LaserFlair was included. He made my day!

Laser cutting blogs from around the world

There are blogs from the UK, the US, Russia and China. Some are by companies that specialise in cutting metal, and others are by people who make their own craft products.

Laser cutting blog

Why I started blogging

I work on such a variety of projects using such a wide range of materials. Anything from fishing reels to jigsaws, beard trimming scissors to pianos! I love the variety and every day is different.

Blogging is such a great way of showing what LaserFlair can do. It helps me to demonstrate how I help customers to create the products they want. I can explain how we select materials and get the artwork right. And I can share photos and videos of the work in process and the end results. It can be hard for readers to imagine, and a picture tells a thousand words.

Customers and friends are always commenting on recent projects I’ve blogged about. They’re amazed at the variety of products that the same laser machine can create.

Every project is unique, and each collaboration is different. Blogging helps me keep readers up to date with what I’m doing, and allows me to share our customers’ stories if they are happy with that. They usually are!

International recognition

So I’m really pleased that my blog has had international recognition. Thankyou Feedspot! It’s much appreciated.

 

Bespoke keyrings for Burntisland Prinary School

Bespoke keyrings for Burntisland Primary School

Posted Posted in Other, Wood

Burntisland Primary School wanted to have some bespoke keyrings made. A week before the school broke up for summer, they decided to act quickly so they could be given to the teachers as thankyou gifts.

Meeting a tight budget

One of the parents at the school works with wood and can generate computer based artwork, so they asked him if he could help. Once he had an idea of what they wanted, he got in touch with me and we discussed materials, thicknesses and designs that could work well.

Which material to choose?

As the budget was tight, I suggested using 3mm plywood. It’s good value, robust and tactile, and looks woody. Choosing a thinner material means that cutting will be faster, making production time shorter, keeping costs down. And I had some in stock so I could make the keyrings quickly.

We discussed Perspex as it’s colourful, but it costs a lot more than plywood. The only option that would have been slightly cheaper than plywood is mdf, but it wouldn’t look as nice.

Burntisland Prinary School keyring

Bespoke design

Jonnie said that the school were thinking about jigsaw piece shapes of around 50 x 60mm with a hole cut out for the split rings. I said that from experience, interesting shapes are more appealing than simple shapes like squares or rectangles. A jigsaw piece would be a fun and interesting shape, but would be robust in the parts of the design more vulnerable to breakage.

He asked if I could cut and engrave 70 keyrings from 3mm ply within a set budget. I thought I could, so he set about a final design for the school to approve.

Making the keyrings

After some thought, the school decided that the keyrings should be engraved with something fairly generic so that they could be used for different purposes. They chose ‘Team BPS’ with their motto, ‘Belong, Participate, Succeed’ below. After a final sanity check on my quote, Burntisland Primary School approved everything. I made a sample and sent a photo to Jonnie so he could see how they would look.

I made the keyrings that day. BPS were delighted with them, and with how quickly we had made this happen.

 

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

https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=hInaK7mOToY
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.

beard comb branding

Beard comb branding

Posted Posted in Corporate, How to, Other, Recycled wood, Wood

Bearded Basturds is a Dunfermline based startup company with a range of beard oils and waxes that don’t contain harsh chemicals or alcohol.

Craig started to get inquiries for beard combs from customers. He wanted something wooden if possible, and wondered if it might be an option to have them laser engraved with his logo. So he got in touch with LaserFlair to see if we could help.

On his search for fabulous and original beard combs, Craig came across The Upcycled Timber Company, a start up based in Glenrothes. They make all sorts of things from recycled wooden whisky barrels, and now they make chunky and manly combs for Bearded Basturds too. Each one is unique with a slightly different shape as they are all handmade.

Making prototypes

Craig brought some sample combs round to our workshop to test engrave them. He decided that he wanted his beard logo on one side and the company name on the other. Getting the size of the text and logo just right for the combs would be important for product aesthetics. In addition, we knew that a good 3D effect would complement the combs’ rugged appearance.

We made the engraving for the text deeper than for the beard logo. A deeper engrave makes finer features like text stand out more. Larger engraved areas don’t need as much depth relatively as finer engraving. So although the engravings were done at different power settings, they look similar in depth which is what Craig wanted.

In the engraved beard logos especially, the light and dark growth rings in the wood are highlighted. Engraving is deeper over the less dense spring/summer growth rings, and shallower over the denser autumn/winter growth rings. You can see this in the picture, and it is clearer in the logo than the text. This is one of my favourite features of laser engraved wood.

It has been wonderful to work with two other local companies to make such an original product with a good story. The engraved beard combs look amazing, and we’re really proud of what we’ve created together.

How to engrave curved surfaces

How to engrave curved surfaces

Posted Posted in Artwork, Corporate, How to, Other, Wood

We can engraved curved surfaces as well as flat ones, but it depends on the curve and the material. Here’s an example.

We engraved these beautiful beech coffee tamper handles for Made by Knock for their customer, Machina Espresso. They’re so tactile, and are perfect for engraving if you can work with the curved surface. That was the biggest challenge, along with getting the logo centred on the top. You can easily spot if engravings are out by a millimetre.

It’s all about focus

The principle is that flat surfaces should be engraved. This is because the laser beam is focussed vertically onto a horizontal surface. The distance between the lens and the material surface is crucial for high quality engraving. Lenses have specific focal lengths that should be adhered to for best results. Even a tolerance of plus or minus 1mm can be a problem depending on the material used and the lens selected.

These principles need to be adhered to more for sensitive materials like acrylic and metal where a reduction in engraving quality is very easy to spot. Wood, on the other hand, is much more forgiving.

My secret weapon

My secret weapon is my 100mm lens. It allows me to work with a curve of around 8mm, particularly if the material is forgiving like wood is. I’ve used it to engrave these tamper handles and mini wooden baseball bat muddlers for mixing cocktails. It is still important to keep engravings on relatively flat areas for best results.

Before we went into production, we engraved Machina Espresso’s logo on a few tamper handle seconds to judge the largest size the logo could be engraved to keep the logos on the flattest part of the handles. It was important to know at what size engraving quality would deteriorate, and to make sure that engraving results would be consistently high quality.

How to engrave wooden tankards

How to engrave wooden tankards

Posted Posted in How to, Other, Wood

Customers request all sorts of weird and wonderful commissions. Customers have lovely ideas to personalise gifts that are only limited by their imaginations, so no two jobs are ever the same.

A customer approached us to ask if we could engrave a pair of matching wooden tankards. He’d commissioned them as gifts for friends for their festival themed wedding or ‘wedfest’. If possible, he wanted to personalise them to make them extra special. Perhaps they would become family heirlooms to be treasured for years to come.

Engraving cylindrical objects

It is possible to engrave cylindrical objects, but this has its challenges. The laser needs a flat surface to focus on for best results. If the laser beam loses focus, engraving quality suffers and becomes fuzzier. The more out of focus the beam becomes, the worse the effect is.

We suggested that for something a little different and to maximise the chances of success, we could engrave the tankards vertically. This tactic would allow the laser to focus on the relatively flat spine of the cylinder. It worked a treat and you can see the results in the photo.

Top tips for engraving cylinders

We used our 100mm focal length lens to compensate for the slight curve on the circumference of the tankards. We performed a nice deep raster engrave to give a 3D effect on them, and the look really suited the chunky tankards. My customer was delighted with the results.