Attention All Signage Businesses
Wood engraving is a timeless craft that has been used to create signage from far back in human history. In recent years, engraving has been enhanced by modern technology with laser engravers being the most efficient and versatile. Whether you have a business of producing wooden signs for clients or you are simply an enthusiast, choosing the right tools is vital to your productivity and quality of work.
Laser engravers can open possibilities without sacrificing your time, creativity, or money. With so many ideas, let's start with engraved wood signs and how they can improve your business.
Being able to streamline the production of your wooden signs is important and using a laser engraver will allow you to do this as well as save you time and money.
You certainly know that time is money for your small business. The hours you take to be creative in your wooden designs shouldn’t be jeopardized by time in production with a Dremel or traditional cutting machine. This is especially true if you are producing a large quantity of the same design.
With laser engravers, you will be able to stay laser-focused on marketing your products, and less time having to produce them. Here are some reasons a laser engraver will save you time:
- Lasers create flame-polished edges, cutting out a lot of need for secondary processing, saving you time after the initial cutting.
- When producing multiple projects with the same design, lasers have the precision to give you the same result every time by keeping the layout in a database. This is great news if you are mass-producing one product because you will not have to reconfigure the engraver each time.
- There is no need to babysit the laser when it is engraving- very little can go wrong! You can use that time for getting other things done.
- You do not have to worry about being familiar with and changing out the different bits that CNC routers use for different sized cuts – just one laser is used.
- Laser engravers work at high speeds – usually up to 400 to 600 millimeters per second – allowing you to have light speed production times.
The amount of money you spend on tools for your craft or business is up to you and doing thorough research before spending your hard-earned money is wise. There are a couple of reasons why people that choose to use a laser cutter know that the only thing it won’t burn is a hole in their pocket:
- There is very little tool wear on the machine, saving you money on replacement parts. In comparison, CNC routers use various drill bits and other parts that often wear down, making your replacement costs much higher.
- There is little breakage of material done by the laser engraver itself, so waste is minimal! Waste can have a huge impact on the bottom line of your small business, and the precision of laser engravers helps to prevent mistakes while cutting.
Creativity is important if you’re in the signage industry, so of course, it’s also important that the tools you use be able to bring the small details of your engraved wood signs to life! There are several reasons why laser engravers are the most versatile tool you could use for your craft:
- A laser can engrave anywhere between 1/16-1/4” into wood panels, (depending on your chosen laser wattage and power settings), allowing a variety of designs without sacrificing the wood’s integrity.
- Do you like the natural look of burnt edges on your signage? These can be incorporated into the wood to add character and darker designs.
- Lasers can engrave artwork with sharper, cleaner edges as opposed to a CNC router that removes material by a spinning cutter head, resulting in frayed wood pieces. This feature is key if you have a set of smaller letters in your designs.
- The detail that lasers can provide is unmatched- making it invaluable to DIY enthusiasts and professionals who need unique results. Be ready to engrave your dream designs into reality!
- You can get creative (and go crazy) with your wooden designs using software such as the Coreldraw Graphics Suite 2020 with its many illustration and editing features.
- Multi-layer images are possible to create various measurements of depth which is a great feature for your larger signs.
CO2 laser engravers are a great option for engraving wood and will greatly benefit your business or craft. Since you might be asking the burning question of how a CO2 laser works, here is a brief explanation: When electricity runs through the gas-filled (CO2-filled) tube that has mirrors on both ends, light is produced. One of the mirrors fully reflects the light, while the other lets a bit of light through which guides the laser beam into the wood. Here are some advantages of the CO2 laser that you may find to be helpful:
- Settings: The effects that a laser has on wood depends on the power and wavelength of the laser itself. The composition of the wood can also have an effect which makes choosing the type of wood you want to use a fun experiment!
- Non-contact: The laser beam does not physically touch the wood in the process of engraving, causing minimal damage and (maybe more importantly) minimal cleanup.
- Safety: Laser engraving does not use a blade, and the beam itself is concealed in a small box, making it very safe to operate. However, safety goggles for extra protection should be a regular habit whenever using engraving equipment.
What If I Already Have a CNC Router?
While they are a bit rough around the edges, there is no question that a CNC router is valuable in the wood cutting and engraving industry, so having one already is a great foundation! Your production of wood signs will only be enhanced by adding a laser engraver - it can take over many of the jobs that the CNC does, getting them done more efficiently. The laser engraver can also be used alongside a CNC to create even more dynamic designs.
Are you considering a laser engraver for your business or craft because of its cutting-edge technology? Depending on how big a scale you are producing wooden signs, you may want a specifically sized engraver.
- For the small businesses and professionals, larger CO2 laser engravers such as the 100W C02 Laser Engraver Cutting Machine from OMTech Laser (shown below) will handle the heavy-duty job of getting a higher quantity of signs completed on time.
- For hobbyists who are not needing to mass produce large amounts of the same design, there are desktop laser engravers that are ideal and more cost-effective, such as this 40W CO2 Laser Engraver Cutting Machine from OMTech Laser, which is beaming with potential!
There’s no question as to whether or not a laser engraver will be beneficial to your new or existing engraved wood sign production, and it will keep you on the cutting edge of engraving technology. A laser engraver will simplify your production process and make your designs exactly how you imagined them. Being proud of your craft is important and having a quality product starts with having quality tools!
About the Author
Faith is a Technical Writer who has experience with writing blogs and website content for various companies. She has also produced software and procedural documentation for companies such as Apple, where she continues to work full time. Researching and learning about different technologies is a hobby outside of her work, and she is often experimenting with her family’s CNC machine. Faith is from Albuquerque, New Mexico but is currently based in Oklahoma City.