Awards & Engraving

August '18

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14 • A&E AUGUST 2018 YOUR LASER AT WORK By Jim Puentes I n my article in the April issue (page 12) about taking work to the next level, I briefly mentioned some of the possibilities with glass ball ornaments. I thought it worthy of a closer look, particularly since the holiday season is approaching. Create Personalized Glass Ball Ornaments Jim Puentes opened COOLaser- Craft in 2008, providing his cli- ents with marking, cutting and fabrication services. Contact Jim at How to… Glass ball ornaments are made of blown glass that has been silvered on the interior and painted on the exterior. (Watch the short video, "How Christmas Ornaments Are Made" from the "How It's Made" pro- gram on the Science Channel.) Engraving with the laser involves vaporizing the exte- rior paint so that the silvering can be seen through the glass. The glass on these orna- ments is usually very thin. Too much power can easily crack the glass or even frost it, making the silvering a bit cloudy looking. Too little power and the paint may not be completely removed. The secret to a good engraving is in fine tuning the power, speed, and resolution settings. CONSIDERATIONS The ornaments are available in a variety of sizes, colors, and finishes. One of the most common sizes is the 2 1/2-inch glass ball (the actual diameter of the brand I use is 2.625 inches). The larger the ornament, the larger the engraving can be. Since the goal is exposing the silvering, choosing colors that contrast with the sil- vering is important. Dark red has proven to be the most popular color with clients, fol- lowed by blue, red, green, and black. There are many other colors available. A matte finish adds to the contrast. A mirrored finish reflects the same as the silvered interior and makes the engraving harder to see. Obtaining quality stock is important. There is quite a bit of variation in the quality of glass, paint, silvering, and shape among manufacturers. It's hard to tell what will work without some test runs. Test stock can be purchased in small quantities at retail outlets. After identifying a suitable manu- With the holiday season fast approaching, adding glass ball ornaments to your laser engraving offerings is sure to bring a profit. ALL IMAGES COURTESY JIM PUENTES

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