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JOIN US THIS WEEK! We are heading to the NBM Show!

Mar 7, 16 • Front Page, NewsNo Comments

JOIN US THIS WEEK! We are heading to the NBM Show!

Expand Your Multi-Market Opportunities.  Join Us in Arlington, Texas for The NBM Show on March 10 – 12, 2016 at the Arlington Convention Center. 

THE NBM SHOW is the only event that offers you multiple dimensions of opportunity to improve your business by combining the very latest equipment, supplies and services in the sign making, digital printing, apparel, apparel decorating, embroidery, screenprinting, sublimation, awards, engraving and custom gift market. You’ll have endless possibilities to learn, experience, network and expand your business!  PLUS FREE TRAINING!!!!

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Your FREE* Event Registration includes:

  • Entrance to the exhibit hall all three days
  • Unlimited Training by Exhibitors in the classroom and in the exhibit hall
  • Access to the Professional Training & Achievement Program
  • Admission to the After Hours networking event on Friday evening
  • Chances to win $500 in Buyer Bucks each day!

*Registration is free when you register in advance of the show. O-nsite and online registration submitted after March 9, 2016 will be charged $25 per Event Registration.

 

 

 

INDUSTRY EVENT ALERT!

Feb 29, 16 • Front Page, NewsNo Comments

INDUSTRY EVENT ALERT!

SPECIAL OFFER!! Schedule a demonstration with us during the show and get a $25 Poker Chip!

Register for a demonstration during the show! 

Universal Laser Systems: Booth #1326

Vision: Booth #1722

Direct Color Systems: Booth #2100

Join us in Las Vegas for the International Awards & Personalization Expo on March 2-4, 2016 at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.

Why Attend?

  • Network with an exclusive community of suppliers, distributors, and peers.
  • Discover innovative solutions to your most pressing business challenges.
  • Expand your training base and knowledge levels.

Experience it all at the Awards and Personalization Association’s expos—designed to help you activate ideas and connections to enhance your business. Don’t miss the opportunity to spend dedicated time expanding your knowledge foundation. Our events offer hands-on training, essential insights into processes and products, and unparalleled opportunities to interact with peers and colleagues.

EDUCATION Sessions at the 2016 International Awards & Personalization Expo

With sessions focused on technical issues including CorelDRAW, sublimation, engraving, sandcarving, and UV printing and current business topics such as e-marketing, sales, and business operations our program will deliver you the information you need to succeed.  We have the best of the awards and personalization industry in one location to cover multiple categories of business-building instruction and hands-on sessions. The Education Expo sessions provide information specific to products supplied and used in our industry; these company-sponsored sessions provide you needed information to save time on products you are using in your business.

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Click here for the International Awards & Personalization Expo Schedule! 

ARA Sponsors

Register to Attend

Registration includes:

  • an extraordinary international trade show with access to key suppliers and distributors
  • all educational sessions unless otherwise noted
  • refreshment breaks.

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Upcoming Industry Event ALERT!

Feb 22, 16 • Front Page, NewsNo Comments

Upcoming Industry Event ALERT!

Expand Your Multi-Market Opportunities.  Join Us in Arlington, Texas for The NBM Show on March 10 – 12, 2016 at the Arlington Convention Center. 

Experience the NBM Show

THE NBM SHOW is the only event that offers you multiple dimensions of opportunity to improve your business by combining the very latest equipment, supplies and services in the sign making, digital printing, apparel, apparel decorating, embroidery, screenprinting, sublimation, awards, engraving and custom gift market. You’ll have endless possibilities to learn, experience, network and expand your business!

NBM Show

FREE Expert Training

THE NBM SHOW offers classes to help you maximize your sales, improve efficiency and create a business that thrives in all economic conditions. The NBM 2016 Training by Exhibitors program consists of Training in the Hall, 30 minute in-booth sessions throughout the exhibit hall, and Training in the Classroom. On Wednesday, an all-day class will be presented by Equipment Zone. Thursday through Saturday, several 90-minute sessions – in a structured classroom setting – will be presented. Pick up new ideas and learn new skills to help you meet today’s needs and prepare for tomorrow’s opportunities!  Click here for the list of training and descriptions.

 

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Who’s Exhibiting

THE NBM SHOW is THE place top industry manufacturers and suppliers showcase their product lines and services. Click here for the most recent Exhibitor List.

featured exhibitors

Register to Attend

Your FREE* Event Registration includes:

  • Entrance to the exhibit hall all three days
  • Unlimited Training by Exhibitors in the classroom and in the exhibit hall
  • Access to the Professional Training & Achievement Program
  • Admission to the After Hours networking event on Friday evening
  • Chances to win $500 in Buyer Bucks each day!

*Registration is free when you register in advance of the show. Onsite and online registration submitted after March 9, 2016 will be charged $25 per Event Registration.

 

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Application of the Week: EXPAND YOUR SIGN-MAKING CAPABILITIES

Feb 15, 16 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

Application of the Week: EXPAND YOUR SIGN-MAKING CAPABILITIES

Vision CNC Routers and Engravers allows your shop to easily make unique, custom-made signage. Create a variety of sign styles, including 3D cutout letters, dimensional signs, and beautiful VISIONCNCROUTERprint-to-cut designs. In addition, Vision makes it easy to create ADA-compliant signs by using the Automatic Raster™ Braille Insertion Tool, which saves time by eliminating work that is normally done by hand.

  • Create ADA-compliant Braille signs, cutouts, dimensional letters, directional signage and much more with just one machine• Cut sign foam, plastics(including acrylicand PVC), metals (including stainless steel and ¼” aluminum), wood, and more• Choose from table sizes ranging from 6” x 8” up to 4’ x 8’

    • Optional Automatic Raster™ Braille Inserter

    • Manufacturing reliable CNC machines in the USA for over 33 years

Wood, Dibond, Carbon Fiber, Acrylic, Print-To-Cut & more.  One machine does it all!

Watch this short Zombie Sign Video on the 2550 CNC Router!

Learn more about the 2550 CNC Router!

 

Featured Machine of the Week: VISION VE810 Engraver

Jan 25, 16 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

VE810

Featured Machine of the Week: VISION VE810 Engraver

Looking for a way to increase productivity and profits?   Congratulations, your search is over.  Vision’s VE810 is the perfect engraver, whether a newbie or seasoned professional.  The VE810 small format engraver offers a 8” x 10” T-slot table, full featured front panel with independent Z-Axis and spindle control, and red laser pointer for easy job set up.  Add in the optional Self-Centering Deep Vise to engrave odd shape items up to 3 ¼” deep.

The VE 810 system offers:

  • Includes aluminum T-slot table with 1″ spindle clearance
  • State-of-the-art electronic control system
  • Full-featured front panel with independent Z-Axis and spindle controls
  • Ethernet connection
  • A limited 1-year warranty


Applications:
 Sign making, Trophy & Plaques, Parts Marking, Badge Engraving,
ADA Braille Signs, Wood Engraving, Plastic Engraving, Metal Engraving, Tag Engraving, Control Panels and more!

Click here for a printable PDF overview sheet

 

VE810 Spec Sheet

Application Tip of the Week: Color Fill Acrylic

Jan 18, 16 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

Application Tip of the Week:  Color Fill Acrylic

“Color can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.” – Oscar WildeColor fill

A dash of color is a great way to increase the beauty and value of many of the products you engrave. Color adds the perfect finishing touch to almost any item and helps distinguish your engraving services from the competition.

Color can be added to engraved items made of wood, glass, Corian®, acrylic, marble and many other materials.

Download the tutorial to learn how to add color to acrylic.

– Courtesy of the Universal Laser Systems Training Staff

Featured Machine of the Week: VISION 1624 Pro Engraver

Dec 21, 15 • Front Page, NewsNo Comments

Featured Machine of the Week: VISION 1624 Pro Engraver1624-engraving-machine-1

Vision’s NEW 1624 CNC router/engraver offers huge capabilities in a small footprint.  If you are looking to produce repeatable, cost-effective work in less time, then the 1624 CNC Engraver is the
perfect fit for you!  This machine features the Vision high speed Series 4 Controller, graphically advanced Vision Pro software, and Red Laser Pointer for easy job setup.  The 1624 Pro Engraver offers a 16” x 24” aluminum T-slot table and is the ideal machine for wood, plastic, and metal engraving.  It works for a wide variety of applications including milling, drilling, contouring, and routing!

The 1624R Applications:

  • ADA-compliant signage
  • Routing out wood signs
  • Cutout letters
  • Control panels, 2 1/2D and 3D signs in sign foam, wood and more!

Download a printable PDF overview sheet here.

Check out the 1624R CNC Router in action:

Corel Draw TIP OF THE WEEK: Trimming Text in CorelDRAW

Dec 14, 15 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

Corel Draw TIP OF THE WEEK: Trimming Text in CorelDRAW

The Trim Command, or “cookie cutter” is one of the most versatile commands in CorelDRAW. In these lessons are examples of the Trim command used on various styles of Text. CorelDRAW can trim text with a single line, or virtually any shape.

Create a string of text, and draw a straight horizontal line through the word using the Freehand Tool.

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With the Pick Tool, select the line. Using the TrimTool (Shaping Docker), trim the lettering.

Note: I used an extra wide line to make it more visible for the lettering. However, the line width does not affect the results. Try this with a line width of .333. The results are the same.

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Select Break Apart from the Arrange menu. Don’t worry about about losing the centers of the letters. We’ll fix that later on. With the Pick Tool Select on the top of the ‘B’. The blue handles I’ve use in the example indicate that it is a separate object. Click on the top and bottom half of the letters and you will see the separate objects.

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Marquee-select all of the bottom half-letters as shown in the example (dotted red line). Choose Combines from the arrange menu. Here are the results after combining the bottom of the letters. I also changed the bottom to blue to better see the results.  Here are the results after marquee-selecting the top halves, combining, and changing the fill color to orange.

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Here are some options you can do. In this example, just move the two objects apart with the arrow keys or the Pick Tool.

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In this example, click twice to get to the rotation handles and center marker.

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Move the center marker to the new position indicated. Then rotate with the upper right cursor.

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Here is the results after the center marker was move to the lower left of, and rotated 10 degrees.

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I duplicated the bottom part, offset it and moved it to the back.

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In this example, I grouped the two parts, and contoured with a .05 offset to the Outside.

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Download the PDF for additional lessons on the Trim Command, or “cookie cutter” command using CorelDRAW.

 

 

Application Tip of the Week: 3D Images in CorelDRAW

Nov 23, 15 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

Application Tip of the Week: 3D Images in CorelDRAW

Introduction

This application tip will explain how to convert basic design shapes and vector logos into 3D images using CorelDRAW for laser engraving. 3D Image Corel Blog

Overview

CorelDRAW versions 12, X3, X4, X5, X6, and X7 will work with the process; however, lasers of varying watts will work though the process will be slow.

More advanced images such as photos and faces, cannot use this method.  Images from high cost advanced 3D scanners, 3D cameras systems or special 3D generation software are necessary for this kind of image.

If highly detailed images are necessary and cannot be generated using this tip sheet, there are companies with the software and hardware to create or convert your image to a 3D ready laser image for a fee.  These companies provide 3D clipart, and can do custom work.  If you are interested in this go to: www.gantryco.com.

Download the tutorial here!

-David Stevens, Senior Global Technology Specialist at Universal Laser Systems

David Stevens holds two Bachelor’s degrees in Graphics Design, and Computers and Electronics, and has worked at Universal Laser Systems (ULS) for the past 13 years.  David puts his experience and knowledge to task as the Sr. Technology Specialist in the Marketing department, and is the primary evangelist for ULS for all public events and tradeshows for the company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!: Tax Benefit for 2015

Nov 16, 15 • Front Page, NewsNo Comments

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!: Tax Benefit for 2015

The year is coming to an end but that doesn’t mean it’s slowing down.  In fact, for many companies this is one of the busiest times of the year.  Production is in full SAVEdemand!   Now is the time to purchase new and/or additional equipment for your business! Not only can it benefit production time but also provides BIG SAVINGS!   The accelerated deprecation deduction allowance permitted under IRS Section 179 is $25,000 for 2015.  This means up to $25,000 in qualifying new and used equipment, as well as off-the-shelf software, may be expensed this year if it is placed into service by the end of the day, December 31, 2015.

Ultimately, Section 179 of the IRS tax code allows businesses to deduct the full purchase pr
ice of the qualifying equipment and/or software purchased or financed during the given tax year.  What does that mean? It means you can deduct the FULL PURCHASE PRICE from your gross income.  For example, when a business buys a certain piece of equipment, it typically gets to write them off a little at a time through depreciation [i.e.$10,000 over a five-year period].  While it’s better than no write-off at all, most business owners would prefer to write off the entire equipment purchase for the year they actually buy it.  The whole reason behind Section 179 is to motivate the American economy, especially small businesses.  For many small businesses, the entire cost [up to $25,000] can be written-off on the 2015 tax return.

Limits of Section 179

Section 179 does come with limits – there are caps to the total amount written off ($25,000 for 2015), and limits to the total amount of the equipment purchased ($200,000 in 2015). The deduction begins to phase out dollar-for-dollar after $200,000 is spent by a given business, so this makes it a true small and medium-sized business deduction.

Who Qualifies for Section 179?Savings

All businesses that purchase, finance, and/or lease less than $200,000 in new or used business equipment during tax year 2015 should qualify for the Section 179 Deduction.

The deduction begins to phase out if more than $200,000 of equipment is purchased – in fact, the deduction decreases on a dollar for dollar scale after that, making Section 179 a deduction specifically for small and medium-sized businesses.

 

Section 179 vs. Bonus Depreciation

Bonus Depreciation is offered some years.  As of now, it is not being offered.

Although it is not available at this time [2015], here are some of the differences.  The most important difference is both new and used equipment qualify for the Section 179 Deduction (as long as the used equipment is “new to you”), while Bonus Depreciation covers new equipment only.  Bonus Depreciation is useful to very large businesses spending more than the Section 179 Spending Cap (currently $200,000) on new capital equipment.  Even businesses with a net loss are qualified to deduct some of the costs.

Section 179 “More Than 50% Business Use” Requirement

The equipment and/or software must be used for businesses purposes more than 50% of the time to qualify.  How do you know if it meets the requirements? Multiply the cost of the equipment and/or software by the percentage of business-use to determine the monetary amount eligible for Section 179.