Thursday, December 25, 2014

'Tis The Season of Giving

Here at Trotec we believe in giving back to the community is a great way to kick off the holiday season.

Every year we pick a charity that we believe makes a big difference within our community. This year we choose Caps 'N Coats Kids Holiday Program and The Ascend Foundation. Two amazing charities dedicated to helping better the lives of area families and youth.

Caps N Coats is a charity established through the Capuchin Soup Kitchen which provides winter apparel for children ages 11 and under. What's so wonderful about this program is that it not only gives coats to children, but also provides families the opportunity to share a meal by offering holiday themed food baskets. 
Earlier in December Trotec employees headed out to the stores to purchase boys and girls coats in a variety of sizes. In addition to the generous donations from our employees, Trotec matched every coat purchased! Once all the coats were collected a group of employees headed down to help distribute the coats. Each child aided by a volunteer picked out their new coat, hat, mittens, and scarves. It was truly a rewarding experience to help this very deserving families head home in their new warm winter coats.

Trotec also donated time and money to The Ascend Foundation, who encourages youth leadership within the community through education, arts, and community services initiatives. The Ascend Foundation has spent many years establishing itself within the community. Its efforts have not gone unnoticed with 
its number of youth outreach movements continually supported by the public. To help the foundation continue to break barriers in the community and better the lives of our youth Trotec made a financial contribution to the organization and employees donated time during a holiday meal dirve.

To join Trotec in supporting these amazing charities please visit their websites.

CAPS, Coats N' Kids Holiday Program

The Clarence E Phillips Ascend Foundation

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Laser Cutting Acrylic: Flame Polished Edges 2

Laser cutting acrylic is an art and a science. There are many factors that will play a role in your ability to get the best possible edge; both in the material as well as the laser cutting machine itself. For example, the brand of acrylic and the type of acrylic can greatly impact the job. Other factors include laser power, frequency, speed as well as the laser table setup, focus, gas, exhaust, and material preparation.

Motion System

It's important to factor in the power and velocity of motion system during cutting. Sometimes it is better to slow the laser down AND lower the power in order to lessen the vibration of the motion system.

The lasers ability interpret curves and how smooth the laser’s motion system can change directions is critical. A very “clunky” motion system will produce waviness in the acrylic. Trotec's Speedy series uses brush-less servo motors for smooth motion across the work piece.

Printer Driver

Keep in mind how the laser’s printer driver sends a curve to the laser. If the curve are a jumble of nodes, the edge quality will resemble a coins edge. By reducing the nodes in the original file and using Enhanced Geometries in JobControl you're curves will be smooth.

More to Come

​Stay tuned for more tips on getting flame polished edges when laser cutting acrylic.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Trotec Laser Purchase Qualifies for a Section 179 Tax Deduction

The Small Business Jobs & Credit Act is extended for 2014!

The Federal Government has once again extended the ‘Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010’ which means it is not too late to take advantage of Section 179 Deductions!


What is the Section 179 Deduction? 

Essentially, Section 179 of the IRS tax code allows businesses to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment purchased or financed during the 2012 tax year from their gross income.

Why does Section 179 exist? 

To help motivate the American economy, the US Government developed incentives to encourage businesses to invest in themselves.  Section 179 allows businesses to write off the full purchase price of qualifying equipment all at once, as opposed to a little at a time through depreciation.

What does this mean for you?

​All businesses that purchase and put into use less than $200,000 in business equipment during tax year 2014 are subject to qualify for the Section 179 Deduction.

Therefore, if you invest in a Trotec Laser system, you may be able to deduct the full purchase price from your taxable income.

2014 Deduction Limit = $500,000
Retroactive to January 1, 2014 and Expires December 31, 2014
This is good on new and used equipment, as well as off-the-shelf software.

2014 Limit on equipment purchases = $200,000
This is the maximum amount that can be spent on equipment before the Section 179 Deduction available to your company begins to be reduced.

Consult an Expert!

The above is a high level overview of the 2014 Section 179 Deduction.

To discover how this applies to you and company Trotec highly recommends that you consult the IRS or your Tax Advisor for full program details, qualifications, and limitations that may apply before investing in and depending on this deduction.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Laser Kiss Cut Sticker Labels

Laser kiss cutting allows you to cut the top layer of a material without cutting through an attached material like an adhesive backing, like stickers for example. By using a laser, operators can engrave, kiss cut, perforate, and cut through all in one easy process. Making laser's a flexible, cost saving, and time effective solution.

​Follow some basic recommendations to receive the best result:

Table: Use a vacuum table and acrylic cutting table. All parts not covered by the sheets should be covered with paper and/or tape for best results.

Focus: First switch on the vacuum and focus afterwards.

Engraving Direction: Engrave from bottom to top. This ensures that the core will not be colored by the removed layer above.

The Right Material - Flexible & Resistant

LaserLIGHTS by Rowmark is a durable 2-ply acrylic foil with an adhesive backing that perfectly suits this kiss cut application. The very thin top layer allows fast and precise engraving. The self-adhesive foil bonds very well to metals, plastics, rubbers, woods & foams, which makes it the perfect material for many applications.

LaserLIGHTS has excellent exterior properties and is resistant to water, solvents, abrasion, and extreme temperatures. Typical applications include nameplates, labeling of awards and trophies, warning signs, promotional labeling, electronics, appliances, recreational vehicles, computers and packaging.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Laser Cutting Acrylic: Flame Polished Edges

Flame Polished Edges

Laser cutting acrylic is an art and a science. There are many factors that will play a role in your ability to get the best possible edge; both in the material as well as the laser cutting machine itself. For example, the brand of acrylic and the type of acrylic can great impact the job. Other factors of variance include laser parameters: power, frequency, and speed; and laser process setup: table setup, focus, gas, exhaust, and material preparation. 

It's true that laser cutting acrylic can be very profitable, but it is also quite difficult, especially if you are after the “flame polished edge”. In this series of articles are several best practices and tips-of-trade for processing acrylic on laser cutting machines, starting with choosing the correct type of acrylic. 

Choosing Your Acrylic

First, let's discuss brand and type of acrylic. The type of acrylic can actually affect the edge quality. Extruded cuts better than cast; however, it will not frost when engraved and can leave a burr on the edge of the piece. So it's important to know the goals and priorities of the project and customer. Cast acrylic will cut just as good as extruded, but will require more intense power settings than extruded.

Types of Acrylic Masking

The masking of the acrylic also makes a difference in edge quality. In the U.S., cast is almost always going to be paper mask. Extruded can be found as both paper and film mask. The film mask is much easier to cut, and it doesn’t require the top mask to be removed like cast. If the paper mask is not removed off the top, it is very difficult to get a smooth edge. The paper mask that is left on the top side is also very prone to flaming, which will ruin the piece if the burning is bad enough.

More to Come

Ensuring that you have chosen the correct type of acrylic is step one in getting perfect results when laser cutting for flame polished edges. Stay tuned for more tips on getting flame polished edges when laser cutting acrylic.