Tag Archives: engraving

How Engraving Works

laser engraving machine

Laser Engraving Machine in action

Everybody enjoys engraved products. Most of the printing we see on promotional products is done through laser beams. This is what is commonly referred to as laser engraving. Lasers aren’t applied in the printing industry only. Almost every aspect of our daily lives utilises lasers in one way or another. From the manufacturing sector to the retail and even the medical industries, lasers are all over planet earth.

Generation and Utilisation of Energy

Laser is a short form which stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The laser equipment used in the process is usually hooked to a source of energy such as electricity.

The energy passes through the specific material causing its atoms to undergo rapid movement discharging extra energy. The additional energy released as a result of rapid atom movement is mirrored inside the laser equipment to produce a concentrated beam of light which is usually referred to as a laser beam.

Finally, the energy is converted into heat and used to decorate an item. Essentially, the process involves the careful burning of the surface of the item to produce the desired results. Computers are used to calibrate the temperature of the laser beam ensuring that only the area covered is engraved.

Engraving on Special Materials

Engravers don’t use the same chemical to produce a laser beam. We have CO2 lasers and Nd: YAG lasers. The CO2 engravers are the most common and they contain chambers which are filled with carbon dioxide gas. They utilise minimum energy, and they are suitable for printing materials such as fabric, glass, wood, and lightweight plastics.

On the other hand, the Nd: YAG engravers usually contain solid materials referred to as neodymium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet. These are high-energy engraver machines that are used on heavy materials such as high-grade plastics and metals. However, they are not supposed to be used on PVC or any other types of plastics that contain chlorine since the results can be disastrous.

Sign being engraved

Engraving Stainless Steel

Stainless steel engraving isn’t an easy task. It sends shivers down the spin of many engravers. Currently, few engravers are willing to work with stainless steel regardless of the profits involved.=

Stainless steel is always selected for some applications since it is durable, corrosion-resistant and will not contaminate other materials. It is inactive hence doesn’t react with most chemicals, and above all, it is moisture-resistant.

These are the reasons why stainless steel is heavily used in the food processing industry, and large hospitals where a simple reaction or corrosion can be disastrous. Some of the key areas where stainless steel is applied include control panels, elevator panels, signs, and switch and legend plates. Read on to discover more about stainless steel engraving.

Stainless Steel Engraving Tools

One of the essential tools that you will appreciate when cutting stainless steel is the collet spindle. If you can manage to proceed with the engraving process without it, be sure that you will end up with broken cutters.

The collect spindle with a split allows extra rigidity for deeper cuts and fewer chances of cutter breaking. One thing that you need to avoid is cutting stainless steel with small, lightweight engraving systems.

This is because the forces exerted on the mechanics and motors may be excessive for the design. The choice of your cutting tool will play a major impact in determining the success of your stainless steel engraving process. The collect spindle offers more options as opposed to the traditional single fluted engraving tool.

There are varied opinions about how to select the right cutter materials. While other people prefer carbide, others prefer high-speed steel cutters. Unless you have a cutter grinder readily available for sharpening, you should avoid the high-speed steel cutters.

A carbide is a suitable option since it chips more and you will probably have more characters to work with before the cutter finally needs re-sharpening. You should also avoid small tip sizes since the strength of the device will be heavily compromised.

The Material for Engraving

The engraving process becomes a little bit easier if you choose the material yourself. Even if you aren’t purchasing the material yourself, you can recommend to the customer the best materials. If you are sourcing the stainless from your local supply, be sure to inform the local supplier the application of the stainless steel.

Stainless steel contains a large amount of chromium. This means that it is a high-alloy steel with superior corrosion resistance. The grades of stainless steel are usually designated by a numbering system.

Trafford Park: the birthplace of Traffolyte.

Traffolyte Engraving: The Infographic

A visual look at Traffolyte engraving, in an easier to digest format

On numerous occasions, we have looked at the wonders of Traffolyte engraving. We have looked at it in written form, but previous accounts haven’t been quite as easy to read over a quick coffee. Or on a ten minute train journey.

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Why Go For Bespoke Engraving?

Why you should choose Able Engraving and Design for bespoke projects

Bespoke engraving image by Pressmaster (via Shutterstock).

Everything done your way: we at Able Engraving and Design can turn our hand to bespoke projects with ease. Image by Pressmaster (via Shutterstock).

For over three decades, Able Engraving and Design have offered bespoke engraving services for customers in the South East of England, and further afield. Our company was formed in July 1986 by Mr. A. Douglas. Back then, Wham!’s swansong The Edge of Heaven topped the UK singles chart. This was the year of Diego Maradona’s Hand of God against England, in the World Cup Finals. On the telly, we watched Duty Free, Howard’s Way, and Surprise Surprise!.

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Third Gerald Valck Map Found

One of three engraved maps by Gerald Valck found beneath the chimney of Drumnahoy House

Gerald Valck map from the Boston Public Library collection.

One of three surviving maps by Gerald Valck, from the Boston Public Library collection.

You may remember the final episode of the three-part Only Fools and Horses 1996 Christmas Special entitled Time on our Hands. After several episodes of Del and Rodney saying “this time next year, we’ll be millionaires”, the brothers find they’ve been holding onto a fortune for fifteen years. That of a rare J. Harrison pocket watch. A real life equivalent of this was found early this week: one of three engraved maps by Gerald Valck.

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In Video: Traffolyte Engraving

A selection of Traffolyte engraving clips, detailing the process, and how Traffolyte signs are engraved

120V AC Warning Sign, created with Traffolyte engraving techniques

Just to recap, Traffolyte engraving is so-called after the birthplace of the method: Trafford Park Industrial Estate. The plastic was originally derived from phenolic plastic sheets. There are standard colours with, for example, a Traffolyte sign being made of a top and bottom red layer. Like a liquorice allsort or a strawberry split ice lolly, it has a ‘bit in the middle’. For arguments sake, this may be white. Text is die cut onto the top and bottom layers of the ‘sandwich’.

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Why Traffolyte is Alright

More reasons to use Traffolyte signage

A Traffolyte Valve Disk with valve name

A Traffolyte valve disk with a valve name.

One of the greatest things about Traffolyte is its use in labelling. Lettering is well defined and legible with text on a high contrast background. They are often used on electrical installations as the plastic does not conduct with electricity. This was why Metropolitan Vickers invented it for their Trafford Park works in 1927 (hence the first six letters of ‘Trafford’ forming its name).

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Teeth Brace Engraving

A Putin and Trump Engraving on Your Teeth?

Unusual engraving project fulfilled to commemorate Trump’s and Putin’s telephone conversation after Trump’s inauguration

Teeth Brace Engraving Image by Studio La Magica (via Shutterstock).

Imagine this beautiful smile being besmirched by a portrait of your favourite political figurehead? Image by Studio La Magica (via Shutterstock).

This, without a doubt has got to be the strangest engraving related story we have come across. It is one where engraving’s role in cosmetic dentistry meets a bizarre customer request. A while back in the Daily Express, we learned of a patient who went to a dentist in Sochi, Russia for porcelain crowns and veneers. This is the most run-of-the-mill part of an unusual story.

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Lollipop Lady, Bournemouth

Laser Etching and its Role in Road Safety

How laser etching is being used to create illuminated lollipop signs

Lollipop Lady, Bournemouth (image by Lewis Clarke). Could laser etching lead to illuminated lollipop signs?

On a clear day, a normal lollipop stick would suffice. In dark or dull conditions, the use of laser etching could be good for illuminated lollipop sticks. Image by Lewis Clarke, 2010 (Creative Commons License 2.0 – Attribution-ShareAlike).

The lollipop lady or lollipop man is a stable of British life. They enable children to cross the road safely, to and from school. Over the last forty years, their uniform has changed, which makes them more visible to motorists. Over the same period, the lollipop signs they wield haven’t changed at all. That was till Andrew Turner found a solution to this problem. Laser etching has also made this possible.

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Royal Mint London

A Look at the New Pound Coin

How the intricate engraving of the new pound coin will deter forgers

The last six months have been an interesting one for collectors of banknotes and coinage. In the last two months, we have been getting to grips with the new plastic fivers. Next year will see the arrival of a new, smaller £10 note. About to make its way in March 2017 will be the new pound coin. Since the arrival of the original ones in 1983, they have been the most forged coins in Britain. Telltale signs of which include the weight of the coin, materials, and its text around the sides.

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