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Contents

2007 equipment advisory A supplement to The Engravers Journal

THE

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Publisher Mike Davis

THE MARKET FOR LASER & ROTARY ENGRAVING By Jackie Zack Read about the direction of the marketplace in the world of laser and rotary engraving.

General Manager Sonja Davis

senior contributing Writer Jackie Zack

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Contributing writers Lisa Bakewell Dale Gruver Roy Brewer Richard Hilton J. Tol Broome, Jr. William J. Lynott Mike Clarke J. Stephen Spence Mike Fruciano

ADVISORY PHOTO EXPO—PART 1

ADVERTISING ACCOUNT REPRESENTATIVES Mark Forsythe

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CIRCULATION/SUBSCRIPTIONS Jaime Peters

EDITORIAL CONSULTANTS Joyce Belczynski Cecelia McClure

Multimedia & Graphics

2007 EJ EQUIPMENT ADVISORY 12 LASER & ROTARY ENGRAVING 16 ADJUNCT EQUIPMENT & ACCESSORIES

Andrea Thill

© 2007 Davis Multimedia International Inc. All rights reserved. THE ENGRAVERS JOURNAL is published monthly by Davis Multimedia International Inc. (a Michigan corporation), P.O. Box 318, Brighton, MI 48116-0318, (810)229-5725 FAX (810)229-8320. Nothing may be used or stored in any electronic medium or reprinted either in whole or in part without the written consent of the publisher. Letters, photos and manuscripts are welcome, however, no responsibility can be assumed for the return of unsolicited materials, and all rights in letters sent to THE ENGRAVERS JOURNAL will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes and are subject to THE ENGRAVERS JOURNAL’s unrestricted right to edit and to comment editorially. While encouraging the free expression by contributors to this publication, neither Davis Multimedia International Inc. nor its staff necessarily agree with or endorse the statements or opinions made in contributed articles and are not to be held responsible for statements made therein. U.S. Postage paid at Brighton, Michigan and additional mailing offices.

In Canada, Postage paid at Windsor, Ontario under Publications Mail Agreement #0040022310. Canada Post - send address corrections to 401 Lakeside RR #5, Harrow, ON N0R 1G0.

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A WELL-EQUIPPED SHOP By J. Stephen Spence Feel like you're always reaching for a tool you don't have? Read up on everything you need to have a well-equipped shop.

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ADVISORY PHOTO EXPO—PART 2

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INDEX OF ADVERTISERS

Subscription Rates One Year:.........................................................$55.00 One Year: First Class U.S... ............................... 89.00 Two Years:........................................................ 99.00 Three Years:.. ...................................................132.00 One Year: Canada............................................. 69.00 Two Years: Canada..........................................124.00 One Year: International (Air Mail) . ...................125.00 Two Years: International (Air Mail) ...................219.00 Single Copy: U.S................................................. 7.00 Single Copy: International.................................. 10.50

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Funds) Funds) Funds) Funds)

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Subscriptions are not refundable. ISSN 0099-0043



Lithographed in U.S.A.

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Universal Laser's (Scottsdale, AZ) XL-9200 is a laser engraving, cutting and marking machine made to handle a broad range of materials.

our customer needs a half dozen engraved wooden award plaques, and he needs them now. If you had your choice, what equipment would you use to complete the order? Another customer needs several silverplated cigar tubes engraved with names as wedding attendant gifts. Once again, if you could choose any piece of equipment, what would be at the top of your list? Most experienced engravers would probably turn to a CO2 laser for the wood plaques; it’s an easy, fast and nearly foolproof method for this type of work. However, you can bet that most would prefer to use a mechanical rotary engraving machine for the metal cigar tubes; once you have the machine set up, you can quickly diamond engrave these items with stunning results without any intermediate prep work. Both of these situations illustrate just some of the strengths each of these marking methods has to offer, a fact that further proves both of these methods are alive and well in this industry. “Both laser and rotary systems are faster and more productive than ever,” says Jessica Hoffpauir-Freeman, Xenetech Global, Inc., Baton Rouge, LA. “Working in tandem, both laser and rotary engraving can help retailers meet customer needs.”

Although laser engraving systems tend to garner a larger share of attention today, both methods are making strides in terms of new technology and growing trends in the marketplace. Here’s a look at what’s happening in the world of laser and rotary engraving. The Rotary Engraving Marketplace Years ago, rotary engraving machine manufacturers offered a basic line of engraving systems that ranged in price based on table size and a few different features and options. Today, however, there is greater disparity between the systems in terms of applications and productivity. Rotary machines are more specifically designed for certain applications, whether it’s awards, signs, jewelry and gifts or industrial marking, and most manufacturers offer a product line that ranges from small, versatile models to large format engravers/routers. What’s New in Rotary Engraving? One of the biggest caveats to rotary engraving (especially when compared to laser engraving) has been a lack of user-friendliness, something that can be especially intimidating to novice engravers. Coupled with the fact that the demand for rotary engraving capabilities is increasing in certain markets, such as giftware, there has been increased pressure on machine manufacturers to develop better, faster and longer-lasting equipment that’s easier to use. And now we are beginning to see Vision Engraving Systems, the results of those demands. Phoenix, AZ, has For example, once a select option found only developed the MAX on the most advanced systems, automatic surPro Engraver made face-sensing is now a standard feature on many for engraving of flat, machines. With this feature, the engraving cutter deep, round or automatically finds the material surface and the odd-shaped items Z-axis continually adjusts to the material surface in one compact, during engraving to prevent uneven engraving easy-to-use depths. This is an excellent feature for engraving machine. uneven or curved surfaces on a wide range of materials, and it helps prevent a lot of costly mistakes. The ability to define the engraving area of the item being engraved, instead of awkwardly using a ruler or inserting some intuitive guesswork, is another feature we are seeing more of. This is especially useful for items continued on page 8



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with an unusual engraving area, such as an oval shaped area on a compact or bracelet. Many Vision machines have the ability to use a red pointer beam to define the engraving area and this information is automatically entered into the layout software. Xenetech systems have a similar feature that allows you to transfer the size of the plate and offsets of the engraving area from the machine directly to the software. Useful features for specific applications are also becoming more prominent on rotary engraving machines. For example, many of Vision’s machines are now capable of automatically inserting Raster™ Braille to create ADAcompliant signs which, according to the company, significantly reduces the time needed to produce them. In terms of time-saving features, advanced electronics and new software capabilities allow for faster and more accurate engraving, smoother motion controls and time-saving features. Both Xenetech and Vision machines boast engraving speeds of up to 

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10 inches per second and high speed network connection to the computer. Higher RPM spindles are available for deep engraving more efficiently into metals. Software updates have also made job set-up easier than ever before, again taking out some of the “mechanical measuring,” and replacing it with visual autolayout features and wizards. The Limelight for Rotary Engravers With all of the attention being placed on lasers, what direction is rotary engraving taking in the marketplace? What many industry newcomers don’t realize is that there are certain much-in-demand applications where rotary engraving is really the only method that will do the job and do it right. “ADA and architectural signage, diamond drag engraving, burnishing in glass and shiny metals, heavy duty engraving in hard metals, cutting and beveling edges, inlay work and engraving oddly shaped pieces like gift items are applications where rotary engravers excel,” says Xenetech’s HoffpauirFreeman. Rotary engraving machines are capable of engraving a wide range

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of products and materials, including awards, industrial parts, gifts and jewelry, wood, metals, glass, stamps, name badges, pens, ADA-compliant signage, sign foam, notary seals, three-dimensional signage and ad specialties. It’s this flexibility and the unique looks that rotary engraving can provide that keep it a major force in the industry. “The strength of mechanical engravers is versatility. Rotary engraving machines are particularly well-suited for visually appealing applications that require high quality, low cost and speed. These machines can engrave on almost any surface, are adept at repetitive jobs and are only limited by the users’ creativity. Industrial applications like deep metal engraving and engraving that requires a more classic, dimensional appearance, such as faceted diamond engraving or burnishing, are ideal for the rotary machines,” says Joe Marziano, vice president for Vision Engraving Systems. As many retailers have found, the look of rotary engraving is more appealing to many customers, especially on certain materials. “Glass and metal tags and parts look better when

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engraved with a rotating cutter. ADA signage with the Braille application is more easily done with the rotary machine, which utilizes the latest automatic insertion methods. Other applications that work especially well with rotary engravers include 2D reverse acrylic engraving and full 3D engraving into products like wood and sign foam,” says Marziano. The Laser Engraving Marketplace Differentiation is also a trend in the world of laser engraving as nearly all manufacturers are now offering a complete range of systems. This, of course, means you can choose the system, and the price range that best meets your needs. Mira Wu from GCC, headquartered in Taiwan, points out that there is something for everyone in laser engraving. “Smaller-sized laser engraving systems are getting more popular probably due to their lower price tag. On the other hand, the need for higher laser wattage is on the rise as well. Laser engravers have come a long way and there are more and more advanced value-added features being offered,” she says.

What’s New In Laser Engraving? Speed, power, reliability, range of equipment available, better technology, even more competition among manufacturers are all factors that, combined together, make for a better selection of equipment for you. Universal Laser’s Dave White points out that the growth in laser engraving technology has been remarkable in recent years. “Computer-controlled CO2 laser cutting and engraving systems and lasers have matured tremendously over the past two decades. Today’s systems are faster, more powerful and more reliable than older systems. The range of equipment available—from compact, desktop-sized engravers to large-format industrial systems—has increased and graphics software compatibility has improved dramatically. More than a dozen equipment manufacturers now serve the marketplace and the increased competition has driven equipment features up and prices down. CO2 lasers have improved significantly, as have system optics, print drivers, drive motors and motion systems,” he says. Epilog’s James Stanaway agrees

that there is definitely a trend toward getting more “bang for your buck” when purchasing a laser. “We are seeing a move away from optional components on the systems to a more complete, all-in-one system. Rather than adding on lots of additional necessary components, like a vector grid, vacuum table, air assist and auto focus, they are all now included with the system,” he says. Overall better quality is another area where lasers have grown. “The most revolutionary aspect of our equipment today is the combination of speed and engraving quality we can offer in our systems. By combining the highest quality optics available with the latest motion technology, we are achieving higher quality engraving and cutting than ever before,” says Stanaway. One of the newest developments to emerge in the laser engraving marketplace is the fiber laser, a technology that is being embraced by some CO2 laser manufacturers. (Trotec and Epilog both now sell fiber lasers.) Fiber lasers use fiber optics to generate and deliver laser beams instead of the traditional hard optics and beam deliv-

2007 EQUIPMENT ADVISORY THE ENGRAVERS JOURNAL




ery method. These lasers can be aircooled and are touted as being more efficient than CO2 lasers (25% vs. 10%) and have the potential to provide increased power at lower operating costs. Like Nd:YAG lasers, a fiber laser can also be used to engrave bare metal without preprocessing. Although they have some advantages, fiber lasers are not positioned as a replacement for CO2 lasers. “Fiber lasers are good for marking metals and plastics, but cannot engrave the many organic materials that CO2 lasers easily process,” explains ULS’s White. “In the next 3-5 years fiber lasers may begin to displace Nd:YAG lasers in some applications, but CO2 lasers should remain a viable technology for cutting, marking and engraving well into the future due to the technology’s competitive cost, high performance, excellent reliability and good beam property,” he adds. There are numerous other examples of new and improved technology in the laser engraving marketplace. Universal, for instance, offers a patented “materials-based print driver” that automatically calculates power, speed and material settings for a wide range of materials; Trotec has introduced the SP500, which has a very large work area of 50" x 28"; and Xenetech has recently introduced the ability to preview the job at the machine on a menu-driven touch screen. The Limelight for Laser Engravers As more powerful CO2 lasers come to market, new applications are being discovered every day and those discoveries are fueling a growing marketplace. “In addition to cutting and engraving wood and wood products such as MDF, laser systems can process an amazing variety of substrates such as solid surface material (Corian, Fountainhead, etc.), melamine, granite, marble, tile, metals, acrylic, plastic, leather and many others. Many exciting new laserable materials are also being brought to market that will open up new applications,” White says. As the number of possible materials continues to grow, so do the applications. Demands from the industrial sector are increasing as are specialty markets, such as the one rising from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Unique Identification Program (UID). The DoD instituted the 10

mandatory UID to identify property, equipment, materials and supplies and the program is now in effect. “CO2 laser marking technology is ideal for permanently marking parts, tools and equipment with UID 2D Data Matrix codes that meet all Department of Defense UID requirements,” says White. Laser engraving’s versatile reputation is allowing this marking method to continue to expand in just about every area imaginable. “Computercontrolled CO2 laser systems enable anyone to turn their computerized designs into beautifully finished pieces quickly and easily. A laser can make detailed cuts in any shape imaginable that would be impossible to replicate with conventional tools such as a scroll saw or router,” says White. In addition, CO2 laser marking is a non-contact process that eliminates the stress points and deformation produced by most other marking methods, making it ideally suited for metals that are subject to hot, wet, abrasive or corrosive environments. “Lasers can permanently mark a wide variety of coated, painted and bare metals and will endure for the lifetime of the chosen material,” says White. Epilog’s James Stanaway agrees that versatility is a key benefit of expanding your business with a CO2 laser. “The list of engravable materials is seemingly never ending. In addition to the standard materials like wood, acrylic, glass and coated metals, we hear daily from customers who have developed new and unique uses for their laser. Whether it involves engraving on a colorful agate stone, inlaying Corian in wood or cutting matte board for art projects, the ability to work with so many different materials allows our customers to come up with new and interesting applications daily,” he says. Should I Buy a Rotary Engraving Machine? Of course, the type of equipment you buy is directly related to the type of work you do. Keep in mind that rotary engravers work with many different types of materials and are suitable for many applications. They are also very cost-efficient, inexpensive to maintain and easy to use. In many cases, they engrave jobs faster than lasers, depending on the material to be engraved. There are very few applica-

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tions and materials that can’t be engraved with a rotary machine. Should I Buy a Laser Engraving Machine? On the other hand, a computercontrolled laser system is one of the most flexible tools available, allowing you to cut, mark and engrave a wide variety of materials quickly and easily. A laser system can also save time, increase profit potential and help expand a business by allowing you to adapt quickly to changing market trends and customer needs. Should I Buy Both? One of the biggest challenges that retailers face is taking advantage of the many new technologies that are available. Retailers are under a lot of pressure because there are a lot of new and emerging technologies in both laser and rotary engraving. The type of equipment you choose really depends on the type of work you are doing. Some shops are better suited for rotary engravers, some for lasers and many for both. Each method offers its own particular advantages and disadvantages. “There are characteristic differences between laser and rotary engravers and they can achieve different results on different types of jobs and materials,” says GCC’s Wu. “ So it’s better to have both types of systems and use the right tool for the right job,” she says. In the end, of course, only you can determine whether a laser, a rotary engraving machine or both are suitable for your business. Both marking methods are experiencing technological and marketplace growth, in some cases in different directions and in others, in the same direction. As Epilog’s Stanaway puts it, “It sounds simple, but R&I professionals who want to grow need to figure out what products their customers need and then provide those products. This can be difficult because the customer often doesn’t know what they want or need and they look to the retailer to guide them. This happens in all industries, and it’s mostly just being aware of what the ‘buzz’ is in the industry and figuring out how to bring that buzz to the customer in your own unique way.” So what’s it going to be, a laser a rotary engraver or both?


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Keeping up with the latest and greatest technology in today’s R & I Industry is a challenge, especially with the many new products that are available today—new engraving machines, new lasers, new accessories, etc. In an effort to make keeping up to date easier for you, we’ve compiled an assortment of the newest, most innovative equipment available in the industry. Take a look at this before you hit the show circuit so you are sure not to miss anything that just might be a vital and valuable addition to your business. And don’t forget to fill out the Ad Express card in this issue for even more information from suppliers.

Laser & Rotary

ENGRAVING

THE EPILOG MINI 18 LASER SYSTEM The Epilog Mini 18 (Golden, CO) is a small format, high quality CO2 laser system designed as an introductory engraving and cutting system for small businesses. It allows businesses to break into engraving with a relatively small investment. The Mini provides highly detailed engraving. Built to fit almost any work space, the Epilog Mini 18 features an 18" x 12" (457 x 305 mm) engraving area and comes in 25, 35 and 40 watts. The system includes a vector grid, vacuum table, red dot pointer, air assist assembly and auto focus, so there aren’t a lot of add-ons to drive up the cost. EPILOG LASER CORPORATION 303-277-1188 www.epiloglaser.com CIRCLE 321 ON AD EXPRESS

GRAVOTECH M40 DEEP VISE MACHINE The new GravoTech M40DV rotary engraver from Gravograph-New Hermes (Duluth, GA) is a natural evolution to the most versatile machine around. This machine was designed for engraving a wide array of items, including flat, cylindrical and glass. The Gravotech M40 features an 8" x 12" engraving area and a deep vise configuration for holding objects measuring 7.9" (X-axis) by 4.5" (Z-clearance). Add in the new volume attachment and this machine will win awards for you and your customers. GRAVOGRAPH-NEW HERMES 800-843-7637 www.gravograph.com/usa CIRCLE 120 ON AD EXPRESS

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Laser & Rotary

ENGRAVING

LASERPRO GAIA LASER SYSTEM The LaserPro Gaia laser system from GCC (Walnut, CA) provides accurate cutting performance and superior engraving capability. Features include up to 200 watt power options, a 51" x 36" working area, adjustable acceleration, AC servo motor technology and AeroFLOW ventilation. The Gaia laser system can cut 1" thick acrylic with a clear edge and users can cut and engrave at the same time thanks to LaserPro’s accumulated technology. The Gaia system won the 2006 Symbol of Excellence award in Taiwan. GCC AMERICA 909-718-0248 www.laserproi.com CIRCLE 345 ON AD EXPRESS

VERSALASER CO2 LASER CUTTING, ENGRAVING & MARKING SYSTEM The ULS (Scottsdale, AZ) VersaLaser is a compact, easy-to-use and affordable computer-controlled CO2 laser cutting, etching and marking system. VersaLaser features a unique materials-based print driver that takes the guesswork out of complex power and speed setting. The VersaLaser is as easy to use as a desktop printer and is compatible with Windows® XP and most popular graphic software programs and is available with 16" x 12" or 24" x 12" engraving areas and with five laser power options. UNIVERSAL LASER SYSTEMS 800-859-7033 www.ulsinc.com CIRCLE 161 ON AD EXPRESS

XENETECH VIPER GE COMPUTERIZED ENGRAVING MACHINE

The Viper GE from Xenetech (Baton Rouge, LA) was designed for rotary engraving items of various shapes and sizes. The system includes an automatic surface sensing feature that allows for flat and curved surface engraving on many different materials. The Viper GE system includes a 12" x 12" flat engraving table with a 26 degree tilt capability and an 8" x 8" self-centering vise for engraving tall, odd-shaped items, a quick change 12" diameter cylindrical attachment with 35 degree tilt capability, a ring engraving attachment for rings sized from 2" to 16" and a recirculating lubrication system for glass and industrial applications. XENETECH GLOBAL 225-752-0225 www.xenetech.com CIRCLE 346 ON AD EXPRESS

ACCUMARK GANTRY Laser Magic Inc., (Hudson, WI) offers large dimension laser marking through a custom gantry housing its Nd:YAG laser. Used for large, precision jobs, the “Accumark Gantry” allows the laser to engrave an area 60 inches by 48 inches. Parts remain stable while the laser moves fully in either direction. Laser Magic in Hudson, WI, is an award-winning job shop offering laser engraving/marking, pad and screen printing solutions for the incentives/promotions industry. Laser Magic’s sister company, Accumark, is an ISO-certified company offering industrial laser marking. LASER MAGIC INC. OR ACCUMARK 800-398-9663 www.lasermagicinc.com www.accumark.com CIRCLE 413 ON AD EXPRESS

RASTER PEN BRAILLE INSERTER FOR VISION ROUTERS/ENGRAVERS Vision Engraving Systems (Phoenix, AZ) now offers an attachment compatible with the Raster Pen Braille insertion device as an option for their line of rotary engraving and routing systems. The Raster Method of Braille and Raster Pen are licensed, patented products owned by Accent Signage Systems, Inc., Minneapolis, MN. Vision-Pro software includes Braille fonts and is fully compatible with the Raster Method. Vision machinery allows precise placement of the Rasters, which are essential for shops producing ADA-compliant signage. VISION ENGRAVING SYSTEMS 888-637-1737 www.visionengravers.com CIRCLE 102 ON AD EXPRESS 2007 EQUIPMENT ADVISORY THE ENGRAVERS JOURNAL

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ENGRAVING

ROLAND EGX PRO ENGRAVING MACHINES EGX Pro computerized rotary engraving machines from Roland (Lake Forest, CA) have the power, size and speed professional engravers need. In addition to personalizing awards, corporate crests and promotional items, these bench top devices turn out quality indoor and ADA signage. Your signs will have an upscale look while meeting all ADA regulations. ROLAND ASD 888-273-8895 www.rolandasd.com CIRCLE 126 ON AD EXPRESS

XENETECH XLT-2436 LASER ENGRAVER XLT-2436 laser engraving machine from Xenetech (Baton Rouge, LA) has the ability to reach engraving speeds of 150 inches per second. This system contains a top-mounted touch-screen keypad, allowing users unprecedented control of the system and the job, including job settings, job preview, pan and zoom, onthe-fly power and speed adjusting, system feature controls, job queue from the host computer’s hard drive, real-time job timer, direct import of files and auto focus to any location on the table or object. XENETECH GLOBAL 225-752-0225 www.xenetech.com CIRCLE 278 ON AD EXPRESS

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LASERPRO INTRODUCES THE POWERFUL SPIRIT GX The all new LaserPro Spirit GX from GCC (Walnut, CA) is the flagship model of the Spirit product line and has the largest working area at 38" x 24" in its class. The motion system is anchored by a servo motor and linear rail which allow the Spirit GX to be crowned with the highest SIPH (square inch per hour) throughput performance among the Spirit models. The Spirit GX features unique front and rear pass-through doors with selectable wattages from 30 to 100 watts. GCC AMERICA 909-718-0248 www.laserproi.com CIRCLE 471 ON AD EXPRESS

VISION MAX PRO OFFERS ENGRAVING VERSATILITY Vision Engraving Systems (Phoenix, AZ) has developed the MAX Pro Engraver, a versatile rotary machine designed for engraving flat, deep, round or odd-shaped items. The system contains Vision’s automatic surface-sensing feature that allows engraving on flat and curved surfaces on a wide range of materials. MAX Pro’s Auto Laser Layout feature can be used to automatically measure the engraving area and transmit that information directly to the software. Each MAX Pro system includes the new Vision Series 3 high speed electronics in addition to the popular Vision-Pro software package. VISION ENGRAVING SYSTEMS 888-637-1737 www.visionengravers.com CIRCLE 72 ON AD EXPRESS

AFFORDABLE QUALITY LASER SYSTEMS Laser engraving systems from Laser Photonics (Lake Mary, FL) are ideal for a wide variety of cutting and engraving needs. These systems combine an inexpensive price tag with the performance of heavy-duty industrial equipment for light manufacturing. Laser Photonics lasers can cut and engrave on wood, leather, plastic, steel, rubber stamps and much more. Create your custom machine with the company’s Fiber Laser systems with power up to 5000 watts. LASER PHOTONICS 407-829-2613 www.laserphotonics.com CIRCLE 230 ON AD EXPRESS

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Laser & Rotary

ENGRAVING ALL NEW EPILOG FIBERMARK LASER

Epilog Laser Corporation (Golden, CO) has introduced the all new Epilog FiberMark, an economical and versatile metal marking system that is ideal for a wide variety of industrial marking applications due to the combination of fiber laser technology and flying optics beam delivery. The state-of-the-art flying optic design allows for high speed parts marking with an oversized work area of 24" x 12" and will accommodate large pieces or common label sheet stock. Parts indexing is simple based on the X/Y positioning and consistent spot size and power density is achieved over the entire work area. EPILOG LASER CORPORATION 303-277-1188 www.epiloglaser.com CIRCLE 88 ON AD EXPRESS

55 WATT TABLETOP LASER IS ON ITS WAY Expanding on its successful Gravograph 30 watt LS100 tabletop laser, Gravograph-New Hermes, (Duluth, GA) announces that a new 55 watt version is in the final stages of production. All of the features found on the LS100 have been included, such as a 12" x 18" engraving area, variable focal length adjustment, and simple and ergonomic front loading that allows complete access to the engraving area. The system also features standard variable air assist and a red laser pointer all within a 30" x 17" footprint. GRAVOGRAPH-NEW HERMES 800-843-7637 www.gravograph.com/usa CIRCLE 115 ON AD EXPRESS

FINEMARKER HYBRID CO2 & YAG LASER Trotec’s FineMarker Hybrid (Ypsilanti, MI) combines a diode pumped Nd:YAG (YVO42) laser with a CO2 laser with a high speed flying-optic X-Y motion system. The result is a machine capable of engraving, cutting and marking on a wider range of materials than either technology separately. The system thus offers all the advantages of a high precision CO2 laser and the unique cutting characteristics of a YAG laser, in particular the ability to directly mark and engrave metals such as stainless steel. The Hybrid uses the same platform (chassis, electronics and motion system) as the Speedy CO2 series and is the first laser system to combine both technologies on one platform. TROTEC LASER, INC. 866-226-8505 www.troteclaser.com CIRCLE 104 ON AD EXPRESS

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EQUIPMENT & Accessories

Tropar Mfg. Co., (Florham Park, NJ) announces its 2007 Master Catalog. The 104-page Catalog encompasses the entire Airflyte® line of plaques, clocks, acrylic awards, pens, letter openers, engravable gifts and trophies. New for 2007 are cherry finish frames and plaques in a variety of new configurations featuring two new laser engravable brass plates. Also being introduced are a line of Smoke Gray mirror plaques in with laser engravable plates and a black mirror glass certificate plaque. The Clock line has expanded with seven new table top models. The Acrylic line offers four new and impressive series of acrylic awards. One of the new acrylic series incorporates a blue mirror upright and base with a clear acrylic front, all new acrylics are gift boxed for a perfect presentation. The Master Catalog is available in non-imprinted form, allowing retailers/distributors to imprint their own address and phone numbers using a label or stamp on the cover. The entire Master Catalog can be viewed at www.airflyte.com. For more information or to request a catalog, contact Tropar’s customer service department at 973-822-2400 or by e-mail at: njoffice@airflyte.com. TROPAR MFG. CO. 973-822-2400 www.airflyte.com CIRCLE 14 ON AD EXPRESS

EPSON SUBLIMATION PRINTERS Johnson Plastics, (Minneapolis, MN) now offers three Epson printers: the C88, R1800 and 4800, which are ideal for sublimation. Each Epson printer delivers outstanding performance with amazing quality and durability. Choose the affordable C88 printer for sharp, clear photos up to 81/2" x 14"; or the Epson R1800 or 4800 using the new 8-color ink technology. Sublimation inks are also available for all three of these printers. JOHNSON PLASTICS 800.869.7800 www.johnsonplastics.com CIRCLE 341 ON AD EXPRESS

2001EVO 12” BENCH SHEAR Accu Cutter, (Carlisle, PA) introduces a lighter, more compact and durable 12" Bench Shear. Unlike similar shears on the market, Accu Cutter’s shear has all steel wear parts plus oil impregnated bronze bushings to extend the life of the shear. A machined solid steel ruler has been added along with a blade stabilizer bar to improve the shear’s ability to shave or trim harder materials. A redesigned and improved drop-off gauge and a new red handle completes the redesign. ACCU CUTTER 800-345-0062 www.accucutter.com CIRCLE 483 ON AD EXPRESS 16

TROPAR ANNOUNCES 2007 MASTER CATALOG

MASTERETCH ETCHING MACHINES The Masteretch (Corby Northants, England) range of chemical etching machines can etch a wide variety of metals, including stainless steel, copper, brass, aluminum, steel and bronze. Sign makers and engravers use the machines to produce nameplates, plaques, awards and signs as well as a wide range of industrial products. The company manufactures machines from table top-size up to wide format high volume units. Installation and onsite training is included with every machine and a full range of ancillary equipment is available. MASTERETCH SERVICES +44 (0) 1536 266 288 www.masteretch.com CIRCLE 419 ON AD EXPRESS

POWER NAME BADGE The attractive design and high surface quality makes the power name badge from Eckart (Ansbach, Germany) highly prestigious. The integrated fastener and slightly rounded edges make this badge blend harmoniously with clothing while still remaining a dynamic eye-catcher. Since the nameplate is only attached along the sides, the badge makes an “open” impression along the top and bottom. The name cards are simply clipped into the holder. ECKART GMBH +1149-981/487550 www.eckart-grav.de CIRCLE 292 ON AD EXPRESS

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EQUIPMENT & Accessories

Metalphoto® PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGING EQUIPMENT Horizons Inc., (Cleveland, OH) manufacturer of Metalphoto® photosensitive aluminum, offers easy to use equipment to produce your own photographically imaged aluminum plates. Metalphoto® provides unmatched black and silver clarity along with extreme outdoor and indoor durability. Metalphoto® is the best choice for all memorials, patent and life achievement awards, especially if outdoor durability or UV resistance is a concern. With Metalphoto® you are only 30 minutes away from having awards that will last a lifetime. HORIZONS INCORPORATED 800-482-7758 www.Metalphoto.com CIRCLE 149 ON AD EXPRESS

MARCO 2007 CATALOGS Marco Awards Group, (South Windsor, CT) releases new 2007 catalogs. This year we are proud to present the 30 YEAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE 1997-2007. The 320-page Big Book is packed with over 450 new products. Marco offers a complete line of rotary or laser engravable products including figures, medals, marble, columns, plaques, giftware, hardware and so much more! Providing fast service now from 24 locations. MARCO AWARDS GROUP 800-229-6592 www.discount-trophy.com CIRCLE 286 ON AD EXPRESS

MODEL VA 10 CIRCULAR SAFETY SAW The B.F. Plastics (North Lawrence, OH) VA 10 safety saw offers precision cutting of sheet material, including plastic, wood, non-ferrous metal, rubber, cardboard, phenolic and more. The VA 10 incorporates the highest standards of safety, precision and quality of workmanship. The powerful, high speed, 350 watt motor, coupled with a long-wearing carbide-tooth blade, handles the tough jobs for a smooth cut in a wide range of materials. It makes it easy to cut very thin strips or large plates with great accuracy. B.F. PLASTICS, INC. 800-866-7121 www.bfplasticsinc.com CIRCLE 208 ON AD EXPRESS

WHOLESALE ADA SIGNAGE Why struggle to make your own ADA-compliant signage when you can call upon the experts: Bell Company of Trussville, AL. Bell Company knows the regulations and can produce all kinds of architectural and designer signs in metal and plastic, for indoor and outdoor use. Our ADA signs feature custom designs including special shapes, subsurface graphics, PMS color matching and ADA-compliant raised letters and Braille. Let us work with you and your customer on your next architectural sign order. BELL COMPANY, INC. 205-655-2135 www.bellcoinc.com CIRCLE 414 ON AD EXPRESS

KNIGHT’S DIGTAL AUTO-RELEASE UPGRADE The new Auto-Release upgrade from Geo Knight Co. (Brockton, MA) makes any DK20 16" x 20" or DK16 14" x 16" clamshell press an “Auto-Release” machine, which opens up automatically at the end of the timed press cycle. This feature utilizes an electro-magnetic device that assists the operator in closing the press and then opens the press when finished timing. The DK20 and DK16 use self-lifting gas-shock springs, providing smooth and safe opening motion control. For only $295, the Auto-Release upgrade installs in minutes and requires no special wiring or air compressor! GEO KNIGHT & CO. (800)525-6766 www.heatpress.com CIRCLE 24 ON AD EXPRESS

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Adjunct

EQUIPMENT & Accessories

JP 500 SUBLIMATION MUG PRESS The JP 500 Mug Press from Johnson Plastics (Minneapolis, MN) cuts costs and produces consistent quality sublimated mugs. The JP 500 can sublimation print all types of artwork designs including beautiful, full color photographs and company logos on most 11, 15, 18 and 22 oz. mugs and steins. The unit has an easy pressure adjustment for achieving uniform pressure while printing various size mugs. Other features include digital electronic controls and an automatic digital timer. JOHNSON PLASTICS 800.869.7800 www.johnsonplastics.com CIRCLE 140 ON AD EXPRESS

IMPROVED DIAMOND DISC GRINDER Glastar, (Chatsworth, CA) a leading manufacturer and distributor in the art glass industry, announces the newly improved B12 Diamond Disc Grinder. This machine now comes with an easy-to-use Guide Pin. Just drill a 3/16" hole in the center of your pads, insert the dowel pin into the hole in the center of the magnetic hub and guide the disc over the pin. Remove the pin and presto, a perfectly centered disc every time with no hassle! GLASTAR 800-423-5635 www.glastar.com CIRCLE 309 ON AD EXPRESS

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ULS QUICK CHANGE CARTRIDGES Universal Laser Systems, Inc. (Scottsdale, AZ) is a leading manufacturer of CO2 lasers. Universal holds numerous patents for innovative CO2 laser design, including patented Quick Change Laser Cartridges that allow users to rapidly reconfigure their ULS laser system(s) to different power levels to accommodate specific applications. Universal’s lasers are tuned for cutting and engraving operations, optimized for ULS laser systems and feature the lowest recharge cost in the industry. ULS lasers are available from 10-400 watts. UNIVERSAL LASER SYSTEMS 800-859-7033 www.ulsinc.com CIRCLE 137 ON AD EXPRESS

RAYZIST SANDCARVING SYSTEM The 2034 Automatic Recycling Sandcarving System from Rayzist (Vista, CA) has a totally self-contained space-saving design that will enable you to recycle abrasive in 90 seconds. The attached 50 lb., 45 degree pot bottom allows for unrestricted abrasive flow for approximately 45 minutes of blast time. The 2034 features a powerful built-in high efficiency dust collector motor designed for years of trouble-free operation. The new mechanical “shaker” and exclusive dust collection removal feature completely eliminates exposure to airborne dust during maintenance and dust removal. This unit also features the brightest lit workspace on the market with dual recessed halogen lamps. RAYZIST PHOTOMASK, INC. 800-729-9478 www.rayzist.com CIRCLE 36 ON AD EXPRESS

SOLID CARBIDE ROTARY CUTTERS FROM 2L INC. 2L Inc., (Hudson, MA) offers a large selection of in-stock solid carbide rotary cutters ready to ship the same day. The company’s General Purpose Cutter will engrave a wide range of materials, including steel, stainless steel, aluminum and more. The Softer Material Cutter can be used to engrave gummier materials, such as plastic, brass, aluminum and copper. Cutters are available in diameters of 1/8”, 11/64”, 3/16” and 1/4” and in lengths of 2”, 4.5” and 6.5”. 2L INC. 978-567-8867 www.2linc.com CIRCLE 99 ON AD EXPRESS

2007 EQUIPMENT ADVISORY


Adjunct

EQUIPMENT & Accessories MUG PRO PLUS DIGITAL HEAT PRESS Mug Pro Plus from Nova Chrome (Pleasant Hill, CA) is a digital heat press sublimation system for mugs. The Mug Pro features top-to-bottom printing capabilities, an accurate digital electronic controller to insure consistent heat and time, an auto-start timer and heavy-duty construction. The Mug Pro Plus prints on sublimatable mugs and steins from 11 oz. to the 22 oz. NOVA CHROME 800-788-6682 www.novachromeusa.com CIRCLE 228 ON AD EXPRESS

JACKSON MARKING STAMP-MAKING EQUIPMENT Make preinked stamps, self-inking stamps, traditional handle stamps, daters, numbering stamps, laser engraved stamps and more with equipment and supplies from Jackson Marking Products (Mt. Vernon, IL). A minimal investment in equipment and a small space in your shop are all that are required. Provide while-you-wait service using the Brother Stampcreator PRO system or offer high quality self-inking and handle stamps with the Polymer Plus Stamp System. Contact Jackson Marking Products for all of your stamp-making materials. JACKSON MARKING PRODUCTS 800-782-6722 www.rubber-stamp.com CIRCLE 82 ON AD EXPRESS

We hope you’ve enjoyed your sneak peek at the exciting equipment EJ has assembled from your favorite R & I suppliers. Now it’s time to hit show floor running with your “MUST SEE” list! Or if you’re not attending this year, you can still share in the excitement. It’s easy to receive literature from these suppliers. Simply fill out the Ad Express Card in this issue and have the literature mailed directly to you. Happy shopping!

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“Sticky Mats” like Rowmark's (Findlay, OH) Fat-Mat, holds materials for fast and effective engraving and lasering.

Almost weekly, I am asked questions by EJ readers about what they need to get started in business. The other popular question I am often asked is what readers should buy to expand their businesses or to fulfill some particular need in their company. The answers to questions like these are not as easy as they once were. We have become a very diverse industry, divided into profit centers that often include rotary engraving, laser engraving, trophies, plaques, signs, nameplates, badges, sublimation, etching, screen printing, sandblasting, and rubber stamps, to mention only a few. Each profit center demands different tools and equipment. Of course the first concern is often the “centerpiece” equipment such as a laser or rotary engraving machine. But each of these usually must be backed up by a variety of support equipment that ranges in importance from absolutely essential to very helpful to anyone seriously in pursuit of the many markets covered by our industry. For example, it’s nearly impossible to sell trophies and plaques, badges, signs or nameplates without having the capability of cutting and/or beveling the plates we need. This is true even if most of your plates come pre-cut and all you need is the capability of fabricating plates for occasional use or to replace spoiled plates. The following list is not in any particular order. Part of the problem here is that if you start thinking about what your next purchase of “adjunct” equipment will be, your first choice might be someone else’s third choice or fifth choice or vice versa. The priority really depends on what you do and how much of it you do and where your business is headed. Anyhow, here is a list of some of the equipment that’s available and that many readers have chosen to add to their businesses. 20

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Geo Knight's (Brockton, MA) DK20S 16" x 20" Digital Swinger is an example of an industrial heat press used for sublimation.

Sandcarving machines like Rayzist’s (Vista, CA) Sandcarving System Model 2034 are useful in many engraving shops.

Owning a metal shear like Accu Cutter's (Carlisle, PA) Guillotine Shear Model 4001 is a virtual necessity for any work involving metal trophy or engraving plates.

2007 EQUIPMENT ADVISORY


Chip Collection System: ($500$1,000) There are several variations of vacuum type chip collection systems on the market for use with rotary engravers but they all do the same task—they remove the tiny plastic and metal chips generated when you rotary engrave. This protects the surface of the material from scratches and keeps the work area clean. Plastic chips are also a nuisance because they tend to adhere to the plate due to static electricity. I’d regard a chip collection system as a must for anyone who rotary engraves plastic. These are available from most companies that sell rotary engravers and also from a few independent suppliers. “Sticky Mat:” ($15-$50) This is a very special material that is pliable, dimensionally accurate (thickness) and coated on both sides with a unique coating which is slightly tacky so it adheres to the engraving table and/or to items being engraved. It’s sort of like holding items down to your engraving table using double-faced adhesive tape except that the mat’s specially formulated adhesive coating allows an adhered part to be held down tightly enough to be engraved but it also allows it to be easily removed. Best of all, unlike double-faced tape, the adhesive coating on the mat can be “rejuvenated” to like-new condition by a simple cleaning under running water, allowing one piece of mat to last indefinitely. Sticky mats can be used for rotary or laser engraving and are sold under the names Fat-Mat (available from Rowmark distributors) or Multi-Mat (available from Eckart Engraving Materials and their distributors). Metal Shear: ($300-$2,000) For most shops doing any type of work involving metal trophy or engraving plates, a shear is a virtual necessity. If you have a shear you can create replacement plates in minutes for pennies by buying sheets of trophy or engravers brass or aluminum and cutting plates to size as you need them. Shears come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and no self-respecting shop would go without one. The light duty shears are designed for cutting typical engraving and trophy aluminum and brass up to about

/ " thickness and light steel up to .020". Most of these are benchtop models which can make a cut up to 12" wide. For the high production shop, you might want to look at an industrial-type shear, which is often available as a foot-operated or pneumatic floor model with 36" cutting blades. These are a lot more expensive than a light duty shear but they can be worth it, allowing you to cut brass up to 1/16" thick and to achieve both higher production rates and better accuracy in the cut. The light duty shears are widely available from engraving machine and/or material distributors, and from specialty suppliers (see EJ’s R&I Directory for a list of suppliers at www. engraversjournal.com). Industrialgrade shears are available from machine and tool dealers and a few industry-based suppliers. Plastic Shear: ($300-$2,000) Just about every advantage just mentioned about owning a metal cutting shear can be repeated verbatim about a plastic cutting shear. “What’s the difference between shearing metal and shearing plastic?” many newbies ask. If you look in supplier catalogs, the two shears look identical. The difference is in the blades. Cutting plastic with a shear requires special blades that are far different from metal cutting blades. You can cut plastic with a metal cutting blade but you will probably get an unacceptably rough cut, whereas a plastic cutting shear will give you a nice smooth edge. You should never try cutting metal on a shear equipped with plastic cutting blades as that can ruin the blades in an instant. As with metal shears, plastic shears are typically available in light duty, inexpensive 12" models and larger, heavy-duty floor models. Most shops go with a light duty 12" shear and get by. Since engraving plastic is made in a 24" x 48" size, these shops usually ask their supplier to cut it down to a workable size (12" x 24") and most suppliers will furnish cut down sheets at no extra charge. Keep in mind though that shears have their limitations. They are great for cutting 1/16" flexible engraving stock, but they can’t cut thick plastics (1/4") or rigid materials such as acrylic or phenolic. If you want to cut all 1 32

types and thicknesses of plastic, you should consider a saw. Circular Safety Saw: ($2,000$3,600) A circular “safety” saw is a small benchtop saw that’s intended to cut engraving plastic and acrylic. It uses a miniature circular saw which slides over a cutting bed with a total cutting capacity of about 24". These saws utilize a carbide tooth circular blade that will cut most types of plastic (including phenolic and acrylic) as well as aluminum and FRP (fiberglass reinforced plastic). However the unique feature of a safety saw is its design, which makes it almost impossible for an operator to be injured while using it. You can buy a table saw at Sears for a lot less money and use it to cut all kinds of plastic, but a table saw is VERY DANGEROUS, very noisy and very dirty to operate, not to mention taking up a lot of space. That is what I like about a safety saw— it’s compact, lightweight, clean, and safe! An adjustable stop guide is included to help insure straight cuts and a vacuum hookup is included to help deal with the plastic chips created by the cutting process. Most saws will cut up to 1/4" thick material. These saws are much safer than attempting to cut this material on a conventional table saw since the blade is completely enclosed and designed to prevent chatter (material chipping) during the cut. Corner Rounders, Notchers & Punches: (prices vary) These are used for rounding the corners of a piece of plastic or metal (usually up to 1/16"), notching out a corner to add a decorative touch or punching holes for screws, nails, etc. There are several models on the market capable of doing this. Most have interchangeable dies that determine the shape or type of cut to be made. One machine called the 3-in-1 does not use a die as such but allows a variety of different combinations of a notched or rounded corner either with or without screw holes. The 3-in-1 sells for about $300. The cost of other corner punches runs between $75-$215 for the base machine and about $95 each for the dies. Hand Punch: One task that is common in an engraving shop is to punch

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ADVISORY PhotoPartExpo 2

See page 25 for photo captions. Photos 1-22 on pages 8-9. 24

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25 26 27 29 30 31 32

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or drill through two sheets of metal at the same time. This can be done with a traditional hand punch like those available from Harbor Freight (www. harborfreight.com) and other mail order tool companies. Beveler: ($500-$1300) A material beveler is what you need to do edge finishing on plastic and metal plates. Edge finishes include (usually) a chamfer, sometimes a bevel or a “border cut.” Some units even contain a corner-rounding accessory. Typically these units have a motor and a rotating carbide cutter which bevels the edge as you move the plate past the spinning cutter. Strip Heater For Plastic: ($219$449 Accu Cutter) Strip heaters/ benders are intended for the bending of flexible engraving plastic. These can also be used on acrylic and many other plastics. They are intended for making tent signs, self-standing plastic signs and fold-over/slip-on badges. The idea is that you heat the plastic along a narrow line and then, once it has softened, you bend it along the line and hold it in the bent position until it cools and re-solidifies. Strip heaters come in two configurations. One is an inexpensive roll of flexible electrical “heat tape” which heats up when you plug it into an outlet. The other is a fully self contained “machine” which has a long, rigid heating element, and may have a gauge for positioning the plastic for proper heat positioning. The inexpensive heat tapes are OK for the home craftsman, but I prefer the professional strip heaters for engraving use, since we engravers are likely to be doing quantity orders where accuracy and repeatability are important. Sandblasting (Sandcarving) Photo Stencil Unit: The most common method for making a single-use sandblasting stencil in today’s market requires a UV exposure unit and special film that will end up being the stencil. The exposure units can run as little as $150 for a desktop unit for the occasional user to $2,000 or more for a professional unit. The pro-

cess requires the user to design the job with computer graphics software, then print it on translucent vellum paper. This can be done using either a laser or inkjet printer. The vellum is then placed over the stencil material and exposed to UV light. The black ink on the vellum blocks out the UV light resulting in an exposed stencil. After a brief wash-out the stencil is ready to go. The stencil material comes in several thicknesses to accommodate high detail work or heavy, deep blasting such as that typically done on leaded crystal. Note that if you’re getting into sandcarving and you already have a laser engraver, you can use your laser to create stencils, using a special laserable film made for that purpose. Companies such as Rayzist sell complete stencil making systems. Sandblasting Machines: Blasting cabinets can range from a few hundred dollars for a tabletop model to a couple of thousand for a professional model. There are two basic types of blasting units, a gravity fed version and one with a “pressure pot.” The pressure pot version is more consistent and considered superior but both will get the job done. A desktop blasting cabinet can cost as little as $300. A self-standing, professional pot system starts around $1,700. Air Compressor: ($200-$1,000) Air compressors can have myriad

uses in a well-equipped engraving shop, from operating the spindle on some engraving systems to powering the “air assist” on your laser to sandblasting glassware. A fairly large compressor is required to provide the compressed air needed for a high air-volume application such as sandblasting, and the amount of air needed will determine the investment needed. The occasional user can get by with a $300 compressor with a five-gallon reserve tank from Sears or Home Depot. A heavy user will want to do more research and invest in a $1,000 unit with a larger reserve tank. Compressors are usually available locally from hardware stores, home centers and other retailers. Direct Print System: ($10,000$15,000) In the January 2007 issue of EJ, I wrote the feature article, which offered an evaluation of the entirely new process referred to as “direct print.” This awesome new technology utilizes inkjet printers to directly print full color high resolution images in up to 6 ink colors on a variety of substrates. This is not sublimation— you’re printing directly onto a plaque plate or a T-shirt, a golf ball or what have you. The image goes directly from your computer to the final printed image. Since I covered this in detail in the January ’07 issue, I won’t continue it here. It is clear that this emerging technology is in its infancy and it’s certainly one to watch closely!

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Rubber Stamps Rubber stamps can be made in two basic ways: With a laser engraver or with a stand-alone machine. Stamps With A Laser Engraver: Most CO2 lasers come with software capable of making rubber stamps. The laser method involves lasering away the rubber so as to create a rubber stamp die with raised, reverse-reading letters. This means the only things needed are the rubber stamp material (sold in 8" x 10" sheets for about $10 each) and the stamp mounts. Mounts can be traditional knob stamps, selfinkers or pre-inked stamp mounts. A stamp supply company such as Trodat or Jackson Marking that caters to stamp makers can provide all the materials you need. Stand-Alone Stamp Making System: There are several different types of stand-alone systems. The most advanced are units utilizing flash technology, which create a die from a special, light sensitive material that is “flashed” with a split second burst of UV light. Just put a positive image made with your computer and basic printer and a stamp blank into the exposure unit and press a button. Attach the exposed rubber pad to a stamp mount and add a couple drops of ink and you have a finished stamp. Exposure units start at about $1,000 and finished stamps cost about $3.00 each to make. For a stand-alone system, consider those by Jackson Marking. One of the neatest units on the market, at least for the low volume stamp maker, is a product called the Brother Stampcreator Pro. This compact unit sits on a desktop and is fully self contained. You create the stamp die layout on your computer press the button and in five minutes or less, you have a completed pre-inked die ready for mounting and delivery to the customer. Sublimation Since you already have a computer and graphics software, all you need for doing sublimation is a printer, ink and a heat press. It is an inexpensive personalization profit center to get into and can bring huge returns—if you do your homework before you buy. Sublimation Printer: Sublimation demands a dedicated printer. There are three basic forms of sublimation

currently being used in our industry: single-color laser, full-color laser and inkjet. In my opinion, laser sublimation has very specific applications such as printing on gold or silver metal. Inkjet sublimation is by far the most popular and most versatile and the one I generally recommend. Current printers I recommend for inkjet sublimation include the Epson C88 ($79), the Epson 1280 ($400), the Epson R1800 ($500) and the Epson 4000 or 4800 ($1,800). Of course, these prices don’t include ink and ink is expensive. There are two brands on the market: SubliJet and ArTainium (both from Sawgrass). Both inks are good and prices vary according to the printer and brand. Heat Press: The basic heat press used for sublimation is the flat press. There are several brands and many sizes and styles. The most common styles are the swing-a-way and the clamshell. Swing-a-way presses are recommended but they are more expensive and very heavy. A good swing-a-way press will start about $1,200 but it will allow the user to make almost anything on the market except cups. Clamshell presses are commonly used for marking only thin items such as fabric, thin metal plates and FR Plastic items. Heat presses are available from a variety of sublimation and material supply distributors. Cup Heat Presses: A press for sublimating cups and steins is made to hold under pressure and heat mugs and cups. These specialized presses start at about $800 and can print one cup at a time. The process takes 3.5 to 5.5 minutes each. Like fladbed presses these are available from a variety of sublimation and material supply distributors. Digital Badge Printers There are a couple of systems designed specifically to print name badges, luggage tags and other small plates in full-color. These are especially nice for companies that do a lot of badges for hospitals, schools and government agencies. The beauty of these badges is that they can include full-color photographs, logos, bar codes and even a magnetic stripe on the back to contain data much like a credit card. The materials used by these systems are typically referred

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2007 EQUIPMENT ADVISORY

to as print receptive and include plastic and metal. Because these are actually a form of sublimation, the print goes on a white or light colored material such as gold, silver or beige. Full color backgrounds are actually printed onto a white badge. Some materials printed with these machines can also be engraved at a later date thus allowing color logos on name badges where the name is rotary engraved as needed. Hot Stamping Machine: ($1,295$4,800 Jackson Marking) Hot stamping is still used widely in the personalization industry, especially in the ad specialty market, for putting logos on engraved badges to mark everything from key fobs to pens. This equipment results in a heated metal die that presses against a specially made foil that looks and feels much like aluminum foil. The foil transfers a colored pigment to the product being marked. Hot stamping is best suited to medium and large quantity runs involving repetitive marking of items containing the same text or logo. Each color requires a separate die, foil and press impression. Hot stamping machines are available as small, manually-operated machines with an imprint size of just a few square inches and a manual, pulldown handle or as larger machines which will print an area of 8" x 10" or larger and which are air or hydraulically operated. The small manual machines are available from a few industry-based suppliers, while the industrial models are generally available direct from the manufacturers. The List Goes On… The problem I had here was not in a shortage of equipment to write about, rather it was the difficult choice about what to include here vs. what to leave out due to limitations of space. My original draft of this article included a number of very useful items including a power miter saw for cutting trophy columns, sports ball printing machines, button badge presses, pad printers, screen printers and some useful hand tools. Today’s well-equipped shop can have all of these things and more. This 2007 Equipment Advisory contains a sampling of what is available. You’ll find more equipment and suppliers in EJ’s 2007 R & I Directory too.


ADVISORY Photo Expo Captions Photos on pages 8-9 & 21.

1. Laser engraved “Elegance” awards from Acrylic Idea Factory. 2. Intricate designs can be easily created in wood with your laser. Photo courtesy of Epilog. 3. Acrylic awards are easy to laser engrave and assemble. Photo from LaserBits, Inc. 4. The etched and frosted technique was used on these lasered badges from Identification Plates. 5. Rotary engraved acrylic desktop award, Photo courtesy of PDU. 6. LaserFrost from Identification Plates, is a laserable metal with a frosted background providing an etched look. 7. This crystal award from SCT Crystal can be beautifully laser engraved or sandblasted. 8. AlumaJet® from Horizons Inc. can be printed in full color using an inkjet printer. 9. Pewter plate laser engraved with a CO2 laser and CerMark solution. Photo courtesy of LaserBits. 10. The completed “Buried Alive” sign was laser engraved and fashioned in plastic by Rowmark. 11. These architectural signs are laser engraved using IPI’s Laserables plastics line. 12. The New Hermes Vanguard Orbiter being used to rotary (diamond) engrave a solid brass bell. 13. This award from Pella used a four stage acid etching technique and Metalphoto®. 14. Simple elegance is what a laser delivers with this Tropar plaque.

15. Acrylic gears laser cut with the ULS25E laser engraver from Universal Laser Systems. 16. LAMA (Laserable Anodized Mirrored Aluminum) from Johnson Plastics is available in four colors. 17. Crystal stemware rotary engraved using the Stylus Cylindrical rotary engraver from Vision Engraving Systems. 18. Multigraph from Rowmark can be rotary and laser engraved. 19. Laser engraved Gravoply® Ultra from Gravograph. 20. Rowmark’s LaserLIGHTS were used to personalize the medal insert. Photo courtesy of Mike Clarke. 21. Rotary diamond engraved pewter locket, courtesy of John E. Lepper, Inc. 22. The “Raster Method” from Accent Signage allows users to create ADA-compliant braille signage using a rotary engraver. 23. Colorful plaques, nameplates and badges can be created from SuperMetals from Johnson Plastics. 24. Laser engravable acrylic awards are available in many shapes and sizes from Huang Acrylic. 25. An Epilog laser was used to create this moose, including cutting and surface engraving. 26. A 3D laser engraved image created with a GCC engraving machine. 27. These rotary engravable medals from Plastic-Plus Awards are popular in schools. 28. Leather shoe accents created by Gravograph-New Hermes, using one of their laser engraving machines.

29. Laser engravable stars are a favorite of many award manufacturers like JDS Industries. 30. Craft foam sheets are a versatile material that can be laser cut and formed into unique items like this frame from Epilog. 31. Laser engraving was used on the Heavy Metal line of materials from Innovative Plastics, Inc. 32. The rosewood stained piano finish plaque from Tropar has a gold florentine border and marble-like center. 33. This wood plaque was created using an Epilog CO2 laser engraving system. 34. Machining aluminum block using the rotary CAT3D-M3 CNC System from Datron Dynamics. 35. Diamond engraved items from Gravograph-New Hermes, Inc. 36. AlumaMark® from Horizons Corp. allows any laser engraver to create high resolution graphics, including text, barcodes and 2D Data Matrix such as on these UID nameplates. 37. Lasered acrylic award from Tropar’s Flame series. 38. Rotary engraving was used for both, hole cutting and graphics on these control panels from Royal Oak Nameplate Co. and Legends for Industry. 39. Granites Deluxe, a granite-look plastic from Rowmark can be rotary or laser engraved. Photo from Johnson Plastics. 40. The walnut plaque from Tropar comes with a solid brass engraving plate which can be either laser or rotary engraved.

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INDEX OF ADVERTISERS AD EXPRESS #

Beginning in the upper left and following clockwise, ending in the middle: XLT-2436 from Xenetech Global (Baton Rouge, LA), 55 watt LS100 table top laser from Gravograph-New Hermes (Duluth, GA), Fibermark from Epilog Laser Corp. (Golden, CO), MAX Pro Engraving from Vision Engraving Systems (Phoenix, AZ), LaserPro Spirit GX from GCC Amercia (Walnut, CA), 2001EVO 12" Bench Shear from Accu Cutter (Carlile, PA), FineMarker Hybrid from Trotec Laser, Inc. (Ypsilanti, MI), VersaLaser from Universal Laser Systems (Scottsdale, AZ), JP 500 Mug Press from Johnson Plastics (Minneapolis, MN).

Bell Company, Inc. ................................................................................p.19

68

Epilog Laser . ............................................................................................p.3

55

Geo Knight & Co., Inc. ...........................................................................p.15

485

Gravograph-New Hermes ..............................................Inside Back Cover

74

Jackson Marking Products Co., Inc. ....................................................p.19

69

Johnson Plastics . ......................................................... Inside Front Cover

91

LASERPRO (GCC) ..................................................................................p.11

473

Tour de Cure . .........................................................................................p.23

N/A

Trotec ......................................................................................... Back Cover

2

Universal Laser Systems, Inc. ................................................................p.5

181

Vision Engraving Systems ......................................................................p.7

73

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS J. Stephen Spence J. Stephen Spence is president and founder of Recognition Concepts in Huntington, WV. He has been in the R & I industry for over 15 years. Steve is a recognition authority and a certified recognition specialist, as well as a well known lecturer and author of a number of books about engraving and sublimation. His areas of expertise include sublimation, laser and rotary engraving and sales and marketing. Steve is also a recognized authority on Data Matrix and the government’s UID Program. Steve can be reached at sspence@engravers journal.com.

Jackie Zack Jackie Zack began her career in the industry with The Engravers Journal in 1985. She has authored hundreds of articles for EJ and has covered almost every related industry topic. Her dedication to the industry really shines in her one-of-a-kind Rotary and Laser Buyer’s Guides. Jackie can be reached by E-mail at jzack@ engraversjournal.com.

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Engravers Journal 2007 Equipment Advisory  

Engravers Journal 2007 Equipment Advisory

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