Sign & Digital Graphics

December '17

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64 • December 2017 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S Laser Engraving Adding textile deco- ration and cutting to your portfolio B Y P A U L A A V E N G L A D Y C H Fabric L aser engravers are used to decorate everything from wine bottles to leather objects, but they also can be used to decorate or cut fabric. Laser engraving on fabric has grown in popularity the past few years as com- panies realize its potential. Now, retailers can sell jeans with intricate cutouts or logos lasered into them. They also can burn logos into fleece outerwear or pro- file-cut intricate two-ply twill appliques for sports uniforms. Lasers can be used on cotton, silk, felt, lace, synthetic and technical tex- tiles, aramid, polyester and fleece. They even can be used to cut especially strong materials, such as Kevlar, according to Josh Stephens, business development manager for Trotec Laser. "The real advantage to using laser with textiles is basically anytime they are cut- ting those fabrics, it will get a sealed edge with the laser because the laser is just heat blasting through the material," he says. Lasers are used for direct engraving or cutting. For direct engraving, the chosen material is placed in the laser and the laser engraves on it. With pro- file cutting, where you are doing sports uniforms or appliques, the laser cuts out a design on material that has heat- activated adhesive on it. To engrave on fabric, the laser can be dialed in for depth to get contrast or a light etch that bleaches the color out of the fabric. "Typically on fabrics I'll usually run 250 dpi or 333 dpi anytime we're engrav- ing and basically dpi for the laser is like Paula Aven Gladych is a freelance writer based in Denver. SPECIALTY IMAGING DIGITAL GRAPHICS Photo courtesy of Epilog Laser Photo courtesy of Epilog Laser Photo courtesy of Trotec Laser

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