I'm about to pull the trigger

funeeman

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and buy this baby.

http://www.vy-tek.com/machines/CO2 XY Engraving and Cutting/lstar.html

I'm excited as shit about the possibilities of it. My only concern is that to really, really, really maximise the potential of it for my business one has to be someone what proficient in photo shop/graphic design. And I'm not. I have a staff person who's probably 70% but thinks she's 110% which some times pisses me off because she won't make the effort to learn how to do things correctly in Adobe rather than her self taught way.

Its a big chunk of change if I get pissed and decide to give up on it. . but I really think I'll be down with it once its here and set up.
 

Unhappy Camper

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I'll make an order once you get up an operational.

Something with the forum logo .. in granite or marble would be nice, perhaps in a 3' x 9' rectangular configuration.

That thing up to the task?
 

funeeman

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I'll make an order once you get up an operational.

Something with the forum logo .. in granite or marble would be nice, perhaps in a 3' x 9' rectangular configuration.

That thing up to the task?
That's exactly what its for. I'm guessing delivery will be in July. They could get it here the first of June but I'll need to remodel the shop some to house it and we're hella busy until June 1 here with Memorial Day deliveries.

What are you going to do with a 3 foot by 9 foot chuck of granite?
 

Toao

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Something with the forum logo .. in granite or marble would be nice, perhaps in a 3' x 9' rectangular configuration.

after he's done with the grave ledger, maybe he can make you a nice matching headstone?

Seriously, that's a nice machine, can you do it on a lease?
 

funeeman

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Yeah. . a person could if they want. I just wrapped it up into this years operating loan under misc. equipment for the shop. Me being me I went with the one made in the US, cost us more but I like how solid the damn thing is built and the training that comes with it. If a person just wanted to get into something smaller for say like an award shop they could do it with a much lesser machine from a different manufacture. My concern was the other brand while it comes with a higher wattage laser the test results shows the actual output being less and the life of the laser was less because they were using different tubing that had the average life of it shortened by 3-5 years. Brand X did have a few good things such as a rotary type holder to engrave on say wine bottles if you wanted but they were really trying to sell on the basis you could do trinkets with the damn thing.

I'm sorry. . but I'm doing monuments, war memorial walls, bricks, granite tile insets into other things so I'm less concerned with key chains or glass bulb awards. We sometimes do glass and mirrors if someone needs something. Now I can do the glass work and mirror work on this machine. I can also cut small vinyl letters for our sign shop if needed and can etch on metal, into wood, plastic etc if I need. Again. . .I'm not counting on that kind of work but I can.

We do 2-3 veterans projects a year. Many are community fundraiser. With the small towns If they provide the bricks I'll do the sand blasting for around $15 bucks each. That doesn't even really cover out of pocket costs for me but it does get something toward the rubber stencil, sandblast abrasive and the hourly wage of the workers. Then the local VA's sell them for anywhere from $50 to $100 per brick and then give out scholarships, build memorials etc for their local guys and help out the local chapters. With the laser I won't have the cost of the stencil or abrasive so that will be around $7 and they can make a bit more on them. I think I can even pick up an epoxy type brick for them for not much more into that cost and still be under the $15. When we do large walls we basically cost out the granite and labor and ad on $500 which usually goes back in the form of some type of donation back to the local VA office since we know they always forget the cost of the dedication ceremonies. Last year we helped build the new VA cemetery in Alliance Nebraska. We provided all the granite posts to mark the sections. It would have been nice to use the laser to engrave those and keep costs down for them. That job however was a Gov't contract so we naturally took our profit.
 

funeeman

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At least it looks like it holds it's value.
The real value becomes your art library. I probably have over 1,500 unique components and 500 full drawn scenes that once I work over into the laser are worth more than what it its. Right now I pay my artist around $60,000 in commissions a year. He's going to be just as busy and I'm also not going to have to pay him to etch the same scene 12 times in a year. Plus if something happens to him I'll already have all of that artwork so I've got the next 15 -20 years covered in the business which is long enough for me to retire.
 

funeeman

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I'm headed to Boston right after the week of July 4th to train on this damn thing and then it will ship to me. I hope to have it fully in place and assembled by the first part of August.

Gary. . .shoot me some good logos and I'll test run a few of them through after set up and send you the tiles.
 

Unhappy Camper

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I'm headed to Boston right after the week of July 4th to train on this damn thing and then it will ship to me. I hope to have it fully in place and assembled by the first part of August.

Gary. . .shoot me some good logos and I'll test run a few of them through after set up and send you the tiles.
I'll see what I have that may be compatible.
 

Gravy

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Do you think something like that be would be suitable for engraving (shallow) or cutting (all the way through) logos into aluminium (roughly 3mm-5mm thickness)?
 

funeeman

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Definitely can do the etching. I could probably do the cutting as well but I'd need to purchase additional software to cut all the way through. Apparently its similar to a negative process etching vs cutting. I'm sure if person wanted to reverse engineer and alphabet you could do it without the software but by the time you would make the lettering and get the kerning corrected you'd be better off to spend the 2g's and get the downloads. At this time with my business I just need to etch granite, glass, wood,plastics leather, metal etc and I don't need the cutting feature. If its something that is in demand I will bite the bullet. I also have a friend with a plasma cutter so if really do need to cut through it I can have him do it.
 

Unhappy Camper

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So I've been thinking about this a bit and I'd be interested in spending a couple hundred $$ on a small monument type thingy, say less than 24" on a side. ( I guess that is a bit bigger than 'small' ? )

What type of image is possible, I mean how intricate? I was thinking this:


 

funeeman

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That's actually very easy to do. Are you thinking you want it to be on a thin stock like tile or counter top . . . or do you want it more substantial?


Currently I have an artist on staff that draws our art work and then replicates by hand. The nice thing with the laser is you basically treat it like graphic design work for say magazine layout. You have to be a bit careful on the contrast since its black and white vs color but for the most part you can do anything you'd see in print.

Here is a friend's shop and what they are doing. It will take a bit for us to get up to that exact level since they've been doing it for a while but I would imagine with in a year I could do anything they could as equally as well. It take a bit to understand your laser's power and the layering for multiple levels but once that's down you can do what ever.

http://www.imageinstone.com/
 

Unhappy Camper

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That's actually very easy to do. Are you thinking you want it to be on a thin stock like tile or counter top . . . or do you want it more substantial?
I'm thinking maybe an item that can be hung on a wall, so nothing beyond the weight tolerances of a couple 2x4 studs.


Currently I have an artist on staff that draws our art work and then replicates by hand. The nice thing with the laser is you basically treat it like graphic design work for say magazine layout. You have to be a bit careful on the contrast since its black and white vs color but for the most part you can do anything you'd see in print.
I see. Here's a tech question; As a young lad in my early teens I had a job mowing the grass in cemeteries. I've seen stone work from a few hundreds ago still readable and vibrant. Obviously this was all hammer and tool work, deeply cut into marble and such.

The etching process seems to be surface applied with some sort of chemical coating? I dunno. Anyway ... what is the projected longevity for grave markings that are left in the outdoors? As a lay person and one not privy to the inner workings of stone etching I would imagine the weathering process is more rapid than deep hammer work?
 

funeeman

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The jury is still out a bit but a lot of it depends on location of the grave (environmental settings like acid rain, minerals in water, sun exposure, etc). I have hand etchings that are 30 years old that look like the day they went out. As long as the surface of the stone stays the same that etching will always be there. Usually we put a coat of "high light" which is a varnish or similar to printers ink on the surface to protect it and make it stand out more. This would be like putting the black paint in the lettering to make it stand out more even though as it fads or comes out its still readable. I guess like wax on a car. That will fade over 30-50 years (and can be reapplied like paint) but the etching will still stay there. A laser etching isn't as deep into the stone, but you're actually burning it and altering it the chemical make up so it should be as effective as a hand diamond etch.

The biggest thing in if something does well or not over time is the type of material used and the way it is actually designed. I have places I would only recommend deep sandblast carvings with panels (squared lightened boxes around lettering that is the result of removing the polished area) because of water problems in the cemetery. But I have hundreds of other places etchings or designs with direct lettering into the polish do great. I'm confident the work I put out (minus any paint used to darken lettering) will still be reliable several hundreds of years from now. But we try to think of that and educate our customers of that when they purchase from us. Sometimes that keeps our designs more traditional and "old style" but we're trying to consider how it will look and if it will be readable 75 years from now.

Obviously if something is indoors and not exposed to the elements and actually the ultraviolet light it will hold up better than things outdoors.

There is a company testing a product right now for the industry. I don't know what the cost will be but its a liquid coating you'll put on the surface of the stone and it should prevent any fading of paint or build up of environment deposits on the stone for at least 200 years. It basically is putting a glass like coat around the granite that is as hard as the granite. I'll want to test it for several years before I ever take a chance and use it though.
 

KommieKat

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Seeing what they can do with that machine on tombstones is both neat and creepy at the same time.

Very nice replicated work and I'm assuming anything can be copied.

But seeing how someone looked before they passed on kind of gives a whole new feel to it when visiting a cemetery.