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7 Laser Engraving Production Tips

Shop layout

Every once in a while, during low volume times, it’s good to look at your production shop layout. As your business grows or product focus changes, the configuration of your equipment, computers, and inventory may benefit from alterations. Keep a separate room for sandcarving that is well away from your laser and can be closed off. Abrasive and laser don’t pair well.

Long lasering jobs

Long laser jobs that may take 10 minutes to an hour or so provide the opportunity to work on another project while keeping an eye on the laser. Schedule assembly work, project layout, or even perhaps masking sandcarving products while waiting on your laser. This begins with planning your day each morning as best as you can.

Prepare materials ahead of time

You likely have numerous repeat jobs that require cut metal plates, sheet acrylic of specific colors, and sizes and plaques drilled for appliqués. You may have a customer that uses a particular trophy column of the same size that can be pre-cut and ready for assembly. Use slower times or long laser running times to prepare these often-used labor-intensive parts.

Holding devices and jigs

You may have a dozen devices you use for holding products in your laser, yet you will find products that need something else to keep them steady or flat. Try using modeling clay as your new go-to material. You can create a large number of shapes to hold most products. It may take a few minutes to build a unique holder, but you don’t have to spend time searching and trying out different solutions. Clay can be removed easily without leaving behind anything but perhaps a small amount of oil that can easily be rubbed or cleaned off.

Spell check

Double and triple check spelling. Read words and sentences backward. Have a process that includes another person performing a second spell check.

Inventory

Several weeks before the busy season starts, consider both the inventory and supplies you think you will need. Then, order slightly more than that estimate. Not only does this put time on your side, but you take less risk that your supplier will be out of stock in the middle of your busy season.

Expanding your offerings

Plan on adding new products and services at least several months before the start of a busy season. Give yourself time to work out bugs, tweak new settings, and perfect any new processes that are needed.

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Bob Hagel

Bob Hagel and his wife Dana offered a full line of personalized products using laser engraving, sandcarving, and full-color UV direct print on products for nearly 20 years. The pair sold their 17-year-business Eagle’s Mark Awards & Signs in September 2020. Bob remains an expert in the awards, recognition, and signage industries while he enjoys retirement.

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