When should a laser operator use borders in a layout?

A few of my clients like to use borders in their designs. Some are for industrial plates, like for branding and serial numbers on machinery. 

Lasered borders work well on sheet acrylic cut with the laser. Plates that are stamp-cut by an industry supplier or are precision-cut also work well. Lasered borders do not work well on any metal or acrylic plates I cut on my cutting shear. 

The problem with cutting metal on a shear that will have lasered borders is that you must take the time to set up a device that makes the cut exactly the same for each plate. Rectangular plates require this precision for both cuts. If you are off by 1/32″ or more, it will show. If you have to add corner holes, it amplifies tiny differences. This setup time adds to your production costs, so if you agree to take jobs including borders on cut plates, consider the setup time in your pricing. Work with your clients to avoid corners and borders on hand-cut plates.

   —Eagle’s Mark

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Julia Schroeder

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