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Laser Engraver VS. Laser Cutter

Nov 11, 19 • Front Page, News, TipsNo Comments

What is the difference between a laser engraver and a laser cutter?

Sometimes people ask us what the difference is between laser engravers and laser cutters. The answer? Not much. Most flatbed CO2 laser machines can engrave and cut (Trotec included) so laser engravers and laser cutters are one and the same. They are just called a “laser cutter” or a “laser engraver” based on what their main use is. Though you can generally accomplish both tasks, some lasers were designed with features geared toward laser cutting (such as a pass-through and larger bed size) or toward laser engraving (such as high-speed processing or smaller bed sizes). 

Below is a detailed explanation of the laser cutting and laser engraving processes.


How does laser engraving work?

During laser engraving, the laser processes a shape, graphic or picture represented by a raster file such as a JPG or PNG. The process involves removing the material in a design in a horizontal motion, point by point, line by line, similar to the way a printer works. This processing method is called grid engraving.  You can engrave surfaces or shapes with many designs including photos, pictures, logos, inlays, fine to thick lettering, and stamps, to name a few.

More about the precise process of raster engraving


How does laser cutting work?

Laser cutting is a “thermal separation” process, which means that the heat from the laser beam cuts through the material (as opposed to removing material like engraving does). During the process, a line-based (or “vector” file) such as an EPS, AI or Cdr file is sent to the laser, and the laser traces the design and cuts the shape with the laser beam. As with engraving, a wide variety of materials can be used.

vector-based laser engraving

The laser cutting process can be used to cut shapes (such as letters, signs and tags) as well as items that have been engraved.

More about the precise process of laser cutting

 

Can Trotec laser machines do both, engraving and cutting?

Yes. Trotec laser machines perform both processes. Our comprehensive product offering includes a wide range of laser machines that can engrave and cut many different materials, including laser machines includes lasers that are geared toward cutting tasks (SP Series), and lasers that are geared toward engraving (Speedy Series). The machines are well equipped with features (e.g. cutting tables, lenses) for the respective tasks.

Primarily for laser cutting

We design and adapt our laser machines to meet the needs of our customers. Since laser cutting tasks often involve large materials, our laser cutting machines were designed with larger bed sizes and pass through options. They can process a wide range of materials including acrylics, wood, MDF, cardboard, and textiles, to name a few. They are also available with higher laser power wattage so thay can cut quickly and precisely with a clean edge. More on laser cutting.

Laser Cutter – SP series

 

For those mainly interested in laser engraving

Our Speedy series laser engravers are a great choice for those mainly interested in laser engraving. They are offered with a number of bed sizes and power options and can laser engrave a wide range of materials including glass, wood, plastic, leather, paper, stone, textiles, and more. Operators who use their lasers mainly for engraving often require smaller work areas and high-speed processing. With processing speeds as fast as 140 in./sec and bed sizes from 24 x 12 in. to 39 x 24 in., Speedy laser machines are a great choice for those primarily interested in laser engraving.

Laser Engraver – Speedy series

 

FIND MORE FAQs HERE

From your Service and Support Team at Engraver’s Network

Nov 11, 19 • Front Page, News, TipsNo Comments

From your Service and Support Team at Engraver’s Network
 
As we expand and improve the resources we offer our customers, we would like to assure you that we are still fully equipped and ready to provide ongoing service and support for Universal Laser Systems and Vision Engraving and Routing Systems. You will get the same exceptional service – including access to replacement parts, and technical support from the team you know and trust. 
 
We look forward to growing our business relationship into 2020 and beyond.
 
Sincerely,
 
Robert and Susan Hensley

 

 

Trotec Laser, Inc. Acquires Engravers Network

Nov 5, 19 • Front Page, News, TipsNo Comments

Trotec Laser, Inc. Acquires Engravers Network
Laser Manufacturer Purchases Major Distributor of Laser Systems

Plymouth, Mich., Oct. 16, 2019 – Trotec Laser, Inc. announced today that the company has acquired the assets of major laser distributor Engravers Network. Effective immediately, the acquisition gives the laser manufacturer opportunities to extend its market reach and broaden the services and support for new and existing customers.

Trotec is a leading international provider of advanced, high-speed laser equipment for cutting, engraving and industrial marking. Established in the United States in 2002, the company

has grown to almost twenty times its original size during the past decade. Trotec offers a complete range of support—including industry-leading laser systems, an extensive line of laser and engraving materials, and expert support and resources. Businesses who use a Trotec have access to many resources that help them grow business, including an extensive library of online tutorials, guides and application files, expert technical and applications support, and educational workshops held at regional service and support centers located throughout the country.

Located in Arlington, Texas, Engravers Network is a major distributor of lasers and mechanical marking and engraving systems, and also provides accessories and supplies, training, technical support, and used laser and engraving equipment. Since the business was started in 1985, Engravers Network has demonstrated an unwavering focus and ongoing commitment to customer relationships by offering a broad range of solutions and support.

“We are thrilled about this partnership and the benefits it will provide to customers,” says Warren Knipple, President at Trotec Laser, Inc. “Engravers Network brings valuable experience and knowledge to the table that will broaden our resources so we can provide our customers with the highest quality products, and the best technical, operational, and applications support.”

Knipple says that Engravers Network and Trotec are a great match because the two companies share a common vision and approach: To help customers succeed and grow by offering a complete range of products, services and support. 

“Our mission at Trotec has always been to help our customers become more profitable,” Knipple explains. “Our approach includes offering a full spectrum of products, services and support to the laser user community. In the same manner, Engravers Network has spent more than three decades using this approach to build and support its community of laser users.”

Trotec plans to maintain the laser distributor’s physical locations in Arlington and Houston, Texas, where members of the Engravers Network staff, will continue to support existing and new customers.

“Joining forces with Trotec allows us to add new capabilities and resources that will enhance the service and support we provide to our customers,” says Robert Hensley, president and founder of Engravers Network. “We are looking forward to seeing how this will help grow businesses and create opportunities for our customers.”

About Trotec:
Trotec Laser is a leading international provider of advanced, high-speed laser equipment for cutting, engraving and industrial marking. With the broadest product line on the market, Trotec systems are used to cut, engrave or mark a wide range of materials including wood, paper, metal, acrylic, leather, stone, plastics, and more. The company’s extensive line of quality laser systems, coupled with its unmatched service and support offerings, have made Trotec one of the industry’s leading resources for computer controlled engraving equipment and marking systems. Trotec highly values innovation and R&D; in fact, over a decade ago Trotec developed the world’s first laser system that combines CO2 and fiber laser technology in one machine. All major equipment components and products are manufactured in the U.S. and Austria. Trotec machines are currently used in more than 90 countries around the globe. With 500 employees working in 17 international sales branches, Trotec offers customers an international service and sales network. Trotec’s U.S. presence is headquartered in Plymouth, Mich., with additional service and support centers in Anaheim and the San Francisco Bay area, Calif., Arlington, Texas, Atlanta, Ga, Hillsborough, N.J., Raleigh, N.C., Dade City, Fla., Phoenix, Ariz., and the Seattle area. For more information, please visit www.troteclaser.com.

Contact for further information:
Trish Steding
Tel.: 866-226-8505
Email: sales@troteclaser.com

Vision 10 Tool Paths Grouped With Objects

Sep 9, 19 • Front Page, News, TipsNo Comments

In the Vision 10, tool paths are grouped with the objects they are put on which is not always desired.  To change this setting and have the tool paths separate, go to the top ribbon in the vision software, left click on Options, hover cursor over Vision Setup, left click on System Preferences.

Once inside System Preferences, left click on Tool Path Preferences at the top, uncheck Group tool paths with originals, and left click on Apply at the bottom.

By setting up the software this way, you can move the tool path, node edit tool path (which have to do to apply bridges), etc.

— Vision Engraving & Routing Systems, August 2019

Laser Marking with Trays

Jul 2, 18 • Front Page, News, TipsNo Comments

 

 

 

 

How to use trays or templates to minimize handling requirements

Want to mark several parts in one operation to save time? Trays are very useful tools for that purpose. Depending on the batch size and required marking time, you can also use larger laser workstations. This allows you to mark more components in one operation and maximize output. Thus time-consuming handling through loading and removal is reduced. Here is a time comparison when using a SpeedMarker 700 and SpeedMarker 1300.


40% more productivity by using a SpeedMarker 1300 and large trays

Comparison: Laser marking a metal bracket with SpeedMarker 700 and SpeedMarker 1300

In our example, we engrave this metal bracket with a SpeedMarker 700 and a tray for 3 pieces. In comparison to that, we engrave 24 pieces in a SpeedMarker 1300 with a tray with the same laser parameters. Projected to 240 pieces, this results in a productivity increase of 16 minutes or 40%.

Time calculation SpeedMarker 700
Piece/workpiece carrier 3
Laser time/piece 5.25 seconds
Opening and closing time 4 seconds
Traverse axes 0 seconds
Loading and unloading/workpiece carrier 10 seconds
Time/workpiece carrier 29.75 seconds
Repetitions 80
Time/240 pieces 39 mins 40 seconds
Time calculation SpeedMarker 1300
Piece/workpiece carrier 24
Laser time/piece 5.25 seconds
Opening and closing time 4 seconds
Traverse axes 2 seconds
Loading and unloading/workpiece carrier 10 seconds
Time/workpiece carrier 142 seconds
Repetitions 10
Time/240 pieces 23 mins 40 seconds

Conclusion: By reducing time-consuming handling, you can increase productivity by 40%

The laser time, the opening and closing of the door in automatic mode and the loading and unloading of the workpiece carrier take the same amount of time with both laser machines. With the SpeedMarker 1300, the axes move to take advantage of the entire working space. This takes a total of 2 seconds per workpiece carrier. The deciding factor is the necessary repetitions. While the loading and unloading as well as the opening and closing of the door only takes place 10x with the SpeedMarker 1300, this process repeats a total of 80x on the SpeedMarker 700. Thus time-consuming handling can be significantly reduced by using a larger workstation with large trays.

 

Tip: Creating templates

Learn how to easily make the right template for your workpieces with a Speedy laser engraver.

Creating templates

BOFA International named BDO Mid-Market Company of the Year

Mar 6, 18 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

BOFA International named BDO Mid-Market Company of the Year.

We are delighted to announce that we have been named BDO Central South Mid-Market Company of the Year 2017.

The BDO event, hosted by BBC South Today’s Laura Trant, was attended by over 150 business leaders and stakeholders last night in Southampton. We were shortlisted alongside another two companies, Natures Way and Sydenhams, for meeting key criteria including strong sustained performances and our approach to new markets.

Over the last 12 months, BDO has identified the top performing mid-sized businesses in the areas of international activity and profit growth and BOFA was shortlisted from a list of over 40 companies.

Malcolm Thixton, lead partner at BDO Southampton, comments:
“BOFA performed exceptionally well against our key criteria of leadership and vision, driving innovation and approach to new markets, all leading to sustained growth with great prospects for the future. They have a very clear three year plan that has been written following sound collaboration and research and that includes investment in new technologies and a real focus on retaining and rewarding their people.”

After what has been a fantastic year for us here at BOFA, we are honored to be recognized as being one of the regions’ best performers in the key areas of international activity and profit growth. We are sure that 2018 will be just as successful, and we are looking forward to seeing what the future brings.

-BDO, United Kingdom

BoFa

 

 

Vision Software Tips

Jan 29, 18 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

Vision: How to Back Up & Restore Jobs

As simple as it may seem backing up your jobs is one of the most important steps in the designing process. Whether you are creating a simple template or a complex job with multiple steps, having to recreate your work because of a failure to backup is often times very frustrating and ultimately costs time and money.

Key times to back files up are:

  • After designing any template that is meant to be reused in the future.
  • After doing major node editing work.
  • Anytime your work is not complete but you need to take a break or step away from your computer for a long period of time.

To back up your file click the file tab at the top of the Vision software screen and click “Save As”

pic1

Enter the file name and click “Save”. Tip – Enter the date and any other pertinent information like customer name or quote number so you can use your computer’s search feature to help find it in the future.

pic2

To back up your file click the file tab at the top of the Vision software screen and click “Open”.

pic3

Select the file you want to open and click “Open”.

pic2

-Vision Engraving & Routing Systems

Vision: Make Path and Break Path Functions

Jan 8, 18 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

Vision Tips: Make Path and Break Path Functions

When importing an image, sometimes you may need to edit the image or apply different tool paths.  However, if the image or object is not grouped, then the only way to get it into pieces is to Break Path which breaks it all down.  From there, you can edit, delete, etc., and when finished you can Make Path to make it into 1 piece again.

After bringing this border in from clipart, I then Break Path to edit it.

From here, I delete some of the inner rectangles, then Make path to make it back into 1 piece.  It is not enough to just group it if you want to do a fill between the rectangles, that’s another reason to use Make Path.

— Vision Engraving and Routing Systems, December 2017

Vision: 10 Benefits of Rotary Engravers

Dec 11, 17 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

Vision: 10 Benefits of Rotary Engravers

  1. Rotary engraving is environmentally friendly, creating no fumes or residues other than chips, which are removed by a simple vacuum. Laser systems burn material and require extraction systems within your facility. When burning any type of plastic, lacquered or painted products, a charcoal and particulates filter should be used to collect hazardous fumes and dust.
  2. Rotary engravers allow for the use of different sized cutting tools. This allows you to engrave in fine detail with a small cutter, and engrave large areas quickly with a larger tool.
  3. Allow for beveled-edge cutouts.
  4. Rotary Engravers allow you to engrave onto PVC, which is toxic when lasered.
  5. Our Vision Rotary Engravers will drill holes and automatically insert braille beads to easily create ADA compliant signs.
  6. With a rotary engraver you are able to engrave on uneven or warped surfaces with a nosecone to create uniform engraving over your entire item.
  7. Rotary engravers give you the ability to mark metals, including stainless steel, without the extra time and expense of applying a chemical coating.
  8. Rotary engraving plastic materials can cost 20-50% less per sheet than laser materials (based on current engraving plastic catalog prices).
  9. Rotary engravers are typically less expensive to purchase and maintain than a laser engraver. No specialized cleaning, critical alignment, or periodic recharging is required.
  10. Rotary machines form facets when engraving, creating depth and richness in the look of the finished product.

-Vision Engraving & Routing Systems 

Laser Cut Thanksgiving Turkey Napkin Rings

Dec 4, 17 • Front Page, TipsNo Comments

Thanksgiving Turkey Napkin Rings

This tutorial demonstrates how to cut and engrave on wood veneer: Trolase thins 0.5mm and Trolase 3.2mm thick.  Engraving materials available at Trotec. Browse our product range at www.trotec-materials.com

Preparation

Required Material:

  • Wood veneer
  • TroLase Thins with double-sided adhesive tape
  • TroLase – thickness: 3.2mm
  • Find all materials

Machine used:

  • Speedy 400 120 watt
  • 2″ lens
  • Vacuum table with honeycomb cutting tabletop or acrylic cutting grid

For this application sample you can use any laser machine from the Speedy laser enagraver series.

Tip:

If you are cutting only, we suggest leaving the clear film over the laminate material.


Step by Step

Step 1: Import design file into Software

Create a design of your own, or use the template provided. Send it to the laser with the recommended laser parameters given. Parameters can vary depending on the machine used, available laser power, as well as material thickness.

Print settings:

Process Resolution Cut line
Standard 500 dpi none
Halftone Others
color enhanced geometries, inner geometries first
 

Step 2: Cutting and engraving on Wood veneer and TroLase

Place the wood veneer onto the lasers honeycomb cutting table, and cover the additional work area to produce a stronger vacuum. Remember that the parameters can differ, so adjust accordingly.

LASER PARAMETERS:

Laser process Color Process Power (%) Speed (%)
Engraving Wood veneer Black Engraving 80 100
Cutting Wood veneer Red Cutting 90 1.3
TroLase 3.2 mm Red Cutting 85 1.2
Cutting TroLase Thins 0.5 mm Red Cutting 100 1.5
Engraving TroLase Thins 0.5 mm Black Engraving 40 25
ppi/Hz Passes Air Assist Z-Offset Advanced
500 1 off None
1000 1 on None
1000 1 on -2 mm None
1000 1 on None
500 1 off None
 

Step 3: Assembling Napkin Ring

Remove the adhesive film off the back of the TroLase Thins and fasten to the wood veneer. Next, arrange the colored laminate pieces into the wood veneer cutouts, and your turkey rings are complete.