Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Join Trotec at the NBM Philadelphia Show!

Join Trotec Laser at the NBM Show in Philadelphia, PA. The NBM Show is the only event that offers you 3 Dimensions of Opportunity by combining visual communications, apparel decorating, and the awards and engraving markets.

The NBM Philadelphia Show will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center September 4-6, 2014.

Visit us in booth #401

Trotec Laser will be in booth #401.  Stop by to get a personal demonstration and samples from our laser cutting and engraving machines.

Trotec will be showcasing the Speedy 400 featuring the i-Cut® finishing package! We will also be showing the Speedy 300 flexx, plus others.

See the NBM Show page for more information and to register. Registration is free for this event until Sept 3, 2014. 

Training in the Classroom 

On Thursday, June 12 at 11 A.M. Trotec is presenting a free in-depth class at The NBM Show Indianapolis entitled "Lasers: Learn, Leverage, Lead - Plus Deep Dive with Acrylic Cutting".
Learn tips and tricks to get the most out of your laser, including a deeper understanding of the fundamentals that will help make your profits soar.

The last half hour will be dedicated to acrylic cutting applications on your laser

Great Deals at the Show  

Stop by booth #401 to take advantage of amazing show specials... Discounts so good that they're only available at the show!
In addition to great discounts, don't forget to mention this post to take advantage of our exclusive show deals!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Introducing the Reimagined SP500

Large Format CO2 Laser System for High-Efficiency Cutting & Engraving

Based on customer feedback, Trotec's R&D department has developed numerous improvements t the Speedy 500.

Trotec is proud to present the new and improved SP500, the most advanced, productive, and user-friendly laser cutter on the market.

Trotec's SP500 is the ultimate laser cutting and engraving system for the production of large unit volume and large surface area materials.

Multi-functional Table Concept Design

49" x 28" work area

Sufficient space for all common sand standard material sizes used in the plastics, textile, wood, paper, printing, and electronics industries.

Quick and easy table change for operators

5 table options: standard, engraving, cutting, honeycomb, & vacuum

Pass-through function available - enables processing of work pieces larger than the work area.

Learn More about the SP500

Discover all the possibilities of the SP500 and other large format laser cutting and laser engraving systems... We'll help you find the perfect solution to help your business grow.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Construct A Truck USA Debuts at Detroit Maker Faire

Jim Bustamante, founder of Construct A Truck USA and Trotec laser user, debuted his Construct A Truck USA Mobile Assembly Line trailer at the Detroit Maker Faire, July 26-27 in Dearborn, MI.  

The workshop was cleverly designed in a modified Air Stream trailer which was retro-fitted with shelving and a truck assembly line, allowing for the ideal working area for children (and children at heart) to assemble laser cut automobiles at parties and festivals.

Maker Faire Preparations 
"We had about 100 trucks ready to be assembled in our trailer for the Maker Faire," said Jim. "Our Trotec laser was instrumental in making sure that we were prepared. We were running it over 10 hours a day, 6 days a week the month before the show."  Jim knew that the kid-friendly audience of makers at the maker Faire was the perfect place to introduce his concept.  Not only did he use the laser to create the parts of the trucks, but he also created various fixtures and fittings for his trailer on it as well.

TechShop Beginnings 
Jim came up with his idea for this after creating truck wine bottle holders at the local TechShop.  "It was a big hit with the kids. All the adults thought it was really cute, but the kids couldn't stop playing with it. So I threw the bottle away and started making more trucks."  After assessing his production needs, he knew that he would need a laser in his shop full time.  "I chose Trotec because of the industrial grade quality of the machine and the CeramiCore laser source."  Congratulations Jim and crew on a successful grand opening!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Simplified Seal Process in JobControl X

Every seal press consists of two die plates - the positive (female) and the negative (male).
For the positive die plate (displayed as black text/graphics on a white background in the graphics program) the black elements are engraved into the Delrin material.

For the negative die plate on the other hand (displayed as white text/graphics on a black background in the graphics program) the entire black surface is ablated by the laser. 

Consequently, the created text or graphic appears raised on the die plate. The two die plates need to fit perfectly in  each other to achieve perfect relief print quality. That's why the text/graphic elements must be produced slightly enlarged on the positive (female) plate. There is no need to adapt the size of the female plate manually. JobControl X (from version 10.3 on-wards) automatically creates the positive (female) and the negative (male) die plate with only one click by choosing the process type "Seal" in the Trotec print driver.

Creating the Graphics 
In this example, the graphics are created in CorelDRAW. However, any other graphics program, such as Adobe Illustrator, Freehand, etc., may also be used. Please note that you don't have to draw the outer cutting line and the positioning nose (triangle recess), JobControl X will do this for you, allowing you to focus on the elements inside the cutting line - your layout. JobControl X also automatically enlarges the elements according to the selected paper thickness for the positive (female) die plate. In the JobControl X software, we provide predefined seal templates according to current seal sizes available on the market.

Send Graphics to the Trotec Laser Machine 
  • Send your graphic design to the laser by using the Trotec print driver.
  • Choose the size of your Seal
  • Choose your material; make sure to activate engraving and cutting process
  • Select the process mode "Seal" and choose the correct paper quality
  • Start the laser engraving machine by clicking on the button JC

Produce Your Die Plates with the Trotec Laser Machine 
  • Your seal job now appears in your job queue; double click to position the job on the plate at 0/0.
  • Job preview is available of the negative (male) and positive (female) die plate, notice that JobControl automatically created the positive plate, the cut line, and the positioning nose.
  • Now connect to your laser machine and start the laser process.

Machining and Assembly
After the laser processing, you just need to clean the die plates, pate them into the seal press and then you can already emboss the paper.

Simply wash the finished Delrin die plates with water and a little soap or dish liquid and wipe off any still adhering dust with a brush (clean using compressed air if necessary).

The die plates can be quickly pasted into the seal press using the supplied doubled-sided adhesive circles. The recessed die plate is pasted onto the top and the die plate with the raised text is pasted onto the bottom (at the holes punched into the seal press itself).

  • First fix the thicker of the two supplied double-sided adhesive circles onto the back of the recessed die plate (female) → then paste this die plate, with the "nose" pointing to the front, on-to the top part of the seal press
  • Now paste the thinner adhesive circle onto the back of the die plate with the raised text (male) → pull off the carrier material on the back → now fix the die plate with the raised text into the recess of the already installed die plate, so that the two die plates snap together
  • Tip:  the two noses on the die plates should be perfectly aligned on top of each other → now press down on the seal press, whereby the second plate is fixed into the press → you can now place a piece of paper into the fully assembled seal press → press down → result: relief embossed paper

Friday, July 25, 2014

Laser Cutting Acrylic for a Flame Polished Edge

Laser cutting acrylic can be very profitable, and also very difficult, especially if you are after the “flame polished edge”. 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 system itself.

Here are some tips for getting the best possible flame polished edge when cutting acrylic:

Velocity of motion system during cutting. Sometimes it is better to slow the laser down AND lower the power to not overpower the material. The less vibration the motion system makes the better the cut.

The performance of motion system in the change of direction. This would include the lasers ability interpret curves, as well as how smoothly the laser’s motion system can change direction. A very “clunky” motion system will show up as waviness in the acrylic in and around changes of direction.

How the laser’s printer driver sends a curve to the laser. If it sends the curve as a jumble of nodes, this will also translate to the edge quality and look like a “coin edge”. Reducing the nodes in the original file or using the Enhanced Geometries settings will help smooth out the curves.

The type of acrylic will also 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. Cast acrylic will cut just as good as extruded, but will require more intense power settings than extruded.

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.

Focal lens choice also will play a role in the edge quality. Ideally a 2.5” lens will work with thicknesses up to 3/8-1/2”. Anything thicker may require a 4”, 5”, or maybe even a 7” lens. This is where laser power will come into play. When the focal distance increases, the amount of energy of the laser will seem to decrease. Not having enough power will mean slowing the laser down significantly to cut through the material. There is a point where cutting slower will not work because it will increase the chance of flare-ups that can occur when cutting acrylic too slow. Acrylic is flammable and the only cure for this is more laser power. Then the acrylic can be cut at optimal and production friendly speeds and still get the nice polished edge. Achieving a high quality edge with multiple passes is very difficult.

Focal point will have an effect on the angle of the cutting edge. The thicker the material the more “into the material” the focal point should be. For acrylic over 1/4" thick, you should focus in 1/3 of the total distance ( ½” acrylic would need to be focused in approximately 3/16”.) This will keep the edge as straight as possible. The longer the focal point of the lens, the straighter the edge will be.

Air assist optimizes acrylic cutting.  It does not take much air pressure, 5 PSI or more PSI if your nose cone is high above the acrylics surface. Too much air will force the molten acrylic to dry too quickly and give you a bubbly and cloudy edge. The air helps push the acrylic off-gas down into the cut so that the fume extraction/dust collection system can then pull the debris out of the laser system.

The Fume Extraction/Dust Collection’s ability to remove the off-gas will help keep the hot gases from staining the areas around the edges. The more the CFM the better. This also reduces the chance of a flare up, since it is pulling the acrylic off-gas out of the laser faster.

By Chris Cudmore, Regional Sales Manager, Trotec Laser, Inc