Make Halloween Spooktacular; Order By These Deadlines

halloween-deadline

Skulls and spiders and witches, too
Ghosts, goblins and things that go boo
Your favorite time of year is near
Because Halloween is almost here!

 

What’s Halloween without fun costumes and scary decorations? Whether you like black cats, bats, pumpkins or zombies, there’s something ghoulish to add a little fright to this special night.

3D Laser Cut Skulls make festive decorations and are a fun activity for family and friends. Get the how-to instructions at Instructables.

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For more Halloween inspiration, check out these mini laser cut skull and cross bones from Etsy seller TimberGreenWoods, who says the charms are great for beads, crafting, confetti or whatever else your imagination can dream up.

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And these laser cut witches from Etsy seller ecoandfun will have you chanting “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.”

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Don’t forget to check out the Ponoko Showroom for even more ideas.

Want this Halloween to be frightfully special? Then you better get your designs ready to start making! Your spooktacular creations take time to make, so jot down these important dates. If you miss ’em, it will be all trick and no treat!

 

Laser Cutting Order Deadlines

Standard Making & Shipping Speeds: Last Orders by Thursday, October 13, 2016
Upgraded Making & Shipping Speeds: Last Orders by Wednesday, October 26, 2016

 

Metal Machining (PCM) Order Deadline

Standard Making & Shipping Speeds: Last Orders by Friday, September 30, 2016

 

3D Printing Order Deadline

Standard Making & Shipping Speeds: Last Orders by Friday, September 30, 2016

 

What’s the difference between standard and upgraded services for laser cutting? With standard making and shipping speeds, there are no extra fees for production or shipping if you order by the October 13 deadline.

But what if you miss the deadline because your black cat ate your sketches? Not to worry, you can upgrade to faster making speed and expedited shipping so you don’t miss out on the fun. This means you can wait to order…but only if you’re not frightened by a little price increase!

Also, delivery dates are dependent on shipping locations. To make sure your order is in your hot little hands in time for Halloween, check the Estimated Delivery Date provided when placing an order. If it’s after October 28, then adjust the making speed or shipping speed (or both) until your preferred delivery date appears.

Don’t have a horrific Halloween. Start making today. Or else you’ll be haunted until next year!

 

New Material: Brushed Silver On Black Acrylic

Just Released In The NZ Materials Catalog

silver-and-black-acrylic-laser-cut-necklace

Silver and black is classy. Elegant and understated. Nice contrast without being as stark as black and white. And this brushed silver on black acrylic will give the New Zealand market a new alternative to metal at an affordable price.

It’s 1.6mm thick black acrylic with a thin layer of brushed silver on top. Having the second color means the hassle of hand painting to achieve contrast has been eliminated. And since this two-color acrylic engraves nicely to reveal the black underneath, it’s ideal for making jewelry, signage and front panels on electronics.

 

Acrylic – Two Color – Brushed Silver on Black

Learn more about Brushed Silver On Black Acrylic and get a Brushed Silver On Black Acrylic Sample.

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With the addition of this new two-color acrylic, we now have 22 acrylic colors (some with multiple thicknesses) currently available in our NZ catalog. And if you like the concept of dual color combos, you may also want to check out Matte Black On White Acrylic.

 

Are you ready to have some fun with this new material? We are. So let’s get making. Share what you’d like to create with this new material by leaving a comment below!

 

New Materials: 3 Matte Acrylics – Turquoise, Yellow & Pink

Just Released In The USA Materials Catalog

matte-acrylic-collage

From nail polish to furniture (and even some cars!), matte finishes are so on-trend. And now you can incorporate a matte finish in your designs with the introduction of three matte acrylics for the USA market: Turquoise, Yellow and Pink.

What’s super cool about these new acrylics is that they are translucent with a matte finish on both sides. So not only is the finish and texture new but so are the exciting new colors!

With a 3mm thickness, these acrylics are perfect for jewelry, enclosures, signage, business cards, luggage tags, name badges or anything that needs a soft, matte finish color.

 

Acrylic – Turquoise (Matte)

Learn more about Turquoise Matte Acrylic and get a Turquoise Sample.

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Acrylic – Yellow (Matte)

Learn more about Yellow Matte Acrylic and get a Yellow Sample.

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Acrylic – Pink (Matte)

Learn more about Pink Matte Acrylic and get a Pink Sample.

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With the addition of these three new matte finishes, we now have 42 acrylic colors (some with multiple thicknesses) currently available in our USA catalog. While the majority of our acrylic sheets are smooth, we recently introduced a couple that are matte on one side and shiny on the other. But the turquoise, yellow and pink matte acrylics are the first to be matte on BOTH sides.

 

So what do you think? Are you as stoked about these new materials as we are? Let us know what great ideas you have for using these acrylics by leaving a comment below!

 

Material Feature: Laser Cut Cardboard

Five Reasons Why The Cheapest Material Is Often The Best

cardboard-laser-cut-skull

Have you ever stopped to wonder where we would be without cardboard? For designers and makers using the Ponoko Personal Factory, cardboard is a miracle material that is not only one of the most versatile in terms of its physical properties; it is also one of the most cost-effective ways to turn ideas into laser cut reality.

Here are five reasons why we think laser cut cardboard is really, really cool.

1. Material Choice: The Cardboard Range

The versatility of cardboard owes much to its actual construction, and to make the most of these physical properties it helps to choose the right cardboard for the job. The range on offer from Ponoko varies from 6.7mm double-layer corrugated cardboard for serious structural applications through to single layer natural cardboard that is just 0.5mm thick. So whether your project involves stacked layers, slotted construction, curves, bends or folds… chances are there is something in the Ponoko Materials Library that will be just what you are looking for.

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2. Disposable or Distinguished: Cheap Enough For Prototypes, Slick Enough For Art Objects

Laser cut cardboard can be used as a low-cost prototype option before moving to more expensive materials, or as many designers choose to do, the distinctive visual qualities of cardboard can be openly embraced as features of the final product.

cardboard-laser-cut-lady-in-fur

3. Design Flexibility: 2D or 3D

Designing for laser cut cardboard can be as easy as sketching out a shape or pattern to be cut as a simple 2d object. Or if you prefer, complex 3D forms can be created using slotted construction, tabs and folds, and even stacking layers to create the form through progressive topographical variation.

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4. Low Price: Material Cost and Laser Cutting Time

We keep going on about it, and for good reason. Cardboard is cheap, in the best possible way. As a raw material, it has a low cost price thanks to the huge amounts that are used in the packaging industry across the globe. Cardboard is lightweight, which makes it faster and more economical to ship. When it comes to laser cutting, the unique internal structure of corrugated cardboard means it is fast to cut – and that makes cardboard one of the lowest priced of all the materials in terms of laser cutting time.

cardboard-laser-cut-rocket

5. Brownie Points: Recycled and Recyclable

A lot of people feel good when they use cardboard products. Not only is there a high proportion of recycled content in the cardboard itself, there are systems in place in most urban centers for cardboard recycling that make it one of the easiest materials to reuse, once your own needs for the cardboard product have concluded. So whether it’s the warm fuzzy feeling you get personally or if you’re setting an example for others with a bold ‘eco’ statement, cardboard gives your design a certain credibility that is instantly recognised across the globe.

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Cardboard deserves its reputation amongst the most popular materials for laser cutting, being well suited to both laser cutting and laser etching. Thanks to the versatility of cardboard in terms of price, appearance and structural properties, we continue to see designers find new and exciting ways to explore their creativity.

What will you make using cardboard for your next laser cut project? Let us know in the comments below!

Image credits (in order of appearance) 
3D Skull, Cardboard Safari; Cardboard, Ponoko Materials; Lady in Fur laser etched cardboard art; Airplane Costume, Aidan Chopra; Thumbs Up, UMBC Prototyping and Design; Laser Cut Rocket, Ponoko; Laser Cut Bin, Ponoko Line Optimisation Guide.

Capture The Kids’ Market With These Toys For Girls

When Laser Cutting Gets Cute

laser cut 4girls heart shaped box justaddsharks

For a market that is all about playtime, the toy industry is a serious business indeed. In the US, spending on dolls alone tops $2.6 billion each year, and sales are on the increase. Through the Ponoko Personal Factory we’ve got one of the most accessible ways to make unique fashion items and toys at our fingertips, and this means you too can laser cut yourself a slice of the toy industry pie.

In this article we are taking a look at how designers and makers are using laser cutting to tap into the ‘toys for girls’ market. First up is a heart-shaped box from Just Add Sharks (pictured above). Ideal for storing keepsakes and sweet whimsies, it is the feature of an Instructables post that shows how you don’t need a multi-million dollar factory to produce desirable products that are just right for this discerning market segment.

laser cut 4girls isabella woodums

Customization is one of the reasons entrepreneurs and designers turn to laser cutting. As we can see with Isabella’s name plaque by Woodums (above), the laser cut and etched ply brings added depth and vibrance to an already playful font.

laser-cut-4girls-collage1-crown-and-fairy

Knock on Isabella’s door, and chances are high there will be a fantastical land filled with princesses and fairies inside. Etsy seller FoxyFunk knows that every princess needs her crown (above, left). Wearing an actual tiara may not be the fashion-forward statement some young girls are looking to make, but the mirror acrylic crown brooch will sit right with almost any outfit. Fairies are certainly not forgotten and this necklace from CataCakeCreations (above, right) also taps into the huge costume jewellery market.

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Perfect for use as pendants, jewellery or even suspended in a mobile, laser cut silhouettes are a fantastic way to engage with these eager consumers. The Alice in Wonderland themed cutouts from EasyCutPrintPD (above, left) are offered as a digital file that can be incorporated into a broader laser cut design or simply sent straight to Ponoko for production in your favorite material. Other silhouettes and figures can be purchased already cut, as with this set of playful characters from Joann (above, right).

Drawing inspiration from Disney classics introduces familiar characters that can be laser cut in the dazzling array of acrylic material options. The Mermaid Pendant from imyourpresent on Etsy (below, left) uses opaque, mirror, pearl and laser etched acrylic to define the form. The precision of laser cutting means that combining materials can be achieved with very neat results. Add a little surface finishing to the process, and you’ve got a recipe for success as YouMakeMeDesign know. Check out their cute 2D Roly Poly Dolls (below, right).

laser-cut-4girls-collage-figures3

We can’t really talk about toys for girls (and boys too, really) without taking a look at doll houses. A universal favorite, the dolls house captures imaginations and opens the door to immersive worlds of pretend play.  Laser cutting allows for doll houses of every imaginable shape and size; we have collected a few here to show just how diverse they can be.

laser cut 4girls flatpack dollhouse katherinebelsey

Starting elegantly simple, the flat-pack design from Katherine Belsey can very quickly become populated with all you need for a home sweet home. Out of the box (above, left) the house is a classic laser cut raw canvas, and with a little paint and doll house furniture (above, right) it really comes to life.

laser cut 4girls dollhouses karenbensonminiatures

Doll house furniture can also take form through laser cutting. Karen Benson Miniatures (above) have refined this to a fine art, with a range that covers period pieces, modern designs and others that are just plain fun. As with the doll houses themselves, the combination of laser cutting and laser etching will allow for a high level of detail and customization in the form, the surface features and the construction methods used for miniature furniture pieces.

laser cut 4girls dollhouse 3starstudioarts

Parents with an eye for particular design eras will often encourage their kids to follow the same aesthetic sensibility. The retro-modern curves of 3StarStudioArts’ laser cut doll house (above) are continued through to the included furniture, and the whole set becomes a vibrant and stylish pad once bright colors are applied.

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In an excellent example of how laser cutting can accurately replicate almost any design style, the period houses from Laser Dollhouses feature an attention to detail (above) that makes for a serious showpiece. This dedication to architectural authenticity is also a feature of the clear acrylic house from Made By Hidden (below, left) that is not actually a toy, but would certainly be loads of fun to play with. In contrast to the geometric rigidity of architectural miniatures, Cartonus’ Fairy Doll House (below, right) invites imaginative play with its smooth curves and large openings.

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Doll houses are usually set at a scale to allow for other toys to fit inside, which integrates well with existing collections of toys and figures. Through laser cutting, it can also be a lot of fun to go much, much smaller… the colorful buildings from Moe Miniatures (below, left) have a charm all of their own, and whole dioramas can emerge when you include miniature critters like Megan Baehr’s cute little laser cut lion (below, right).

laser-cut-4girls-collage3-miniatures

Make-believe and pretend play is an important part of a child’s daily activities, and whether it’s through miniatures, doll houses or character jewellery; laser cutting gives designers and makers direct access to this lucrative market. By utilising the strengths of laser cutting such as ease of customization, accuracy and diverse material range small companies and independent sellers on Etsy are able to mix it up with the big guys. The added benefits of low cost and rapid design to manufacture process that laser cutting is famous for enables clever makers to move and flow with design trends, further integrating them into the commercial arena.

Are you a toy designer making products for girls? What cool laser cut toy ideas for girls have you seen? Let us know in the comments below!

Ideas for Creative Agencies & Brands – #46

Be There From 9 To 5 With Customized Laser Cut Office Desktop Items

9to5 laser cut perpetual calendar

A personalized workspace makes for happy workers, and laser cutting is a fantastic way to provide clients with customized products that they will want to keep and use as a part of their daily grind. While different working environments have their own specific needs, there are a few products that will be familiar whether your office is at the top of a skyscraper or down in the basement.

Laser Cut Desktop Calendars

Keeping track of dates, schedules and all those important calendar entries is something best left to your digital devices; however the utility of having a physical calendar within eyeshot still runs true no matter how fancy the latest App download promises to be. Laser Cut Desktop Calendars become not only an interesting focal point for the office space, they also provide key information about the past and the future that keeps the productivity flowing.

Pictured above, the elegantly simple perpetual calendar made available on Laser Cut Plans by Renan Rozante lends itself well to custom laser etched details. This design would work just as nicely laser cut from acrylic, with the wide number of options available in the Ponoko Materials Library.

We can see a good use of both acrylic and post-processed laser etched details with the colorful calendar (below, left) from Be That Design. In order to make sure the laser etched text really pops, they filled the etched areas with paint to create a crisp, high-contrast visual. Taking a different approach to numerical display, the wooden flip calendar by Qaaim Goodwin (below, right) is simple but effective with numbers cut from the ply rather than etched on the surface.

lasercut-9to5-calendars1

Silhouettes are a hallmark of laser cut products, and calendars can also make good use of this visually arresting visual technique. A treat for Star Wars fans, PurnaProject’s desktop calendar (below, left) will have workers daydreaming of a galaxy far, far away. Another interesting approach is demonstrated in the Urban Calendars (below, right) from Robert Feyereisen. Referencing iconic 20th Century skyscrapers, an entire year is laser etched onto basswood veneer, with each date in its own little pop-out window.

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Laser Cut Table Clocks

Keeping time is an important part of any work day, and it is handy to have a dedicated clock to let you know at a glance how your day is tracking. Laser cutting has long provided designers and makers with interesting possibilities for custom timepieces, whether through material usage or the addition of laser etched details to enhance the clock mechanism.

Pictured below is a retro-styled desk clock by RolphLaserCreations, that makes neat use of traditional laser cut assembly methods while still holding true to a mid-century design aesthetic. Alongside on the right is a castle-themed desk organiser clock from OlaDiClock that has the same tabbed construction, this time incorporating the material junctions as a graphic feature of the castle design.

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The ubiquitous nature of dials and numbers means that it can be quite refreshing to visualise clocks in a different way from time to time. The Word Clock (below, left) is perhaps one of the most notable examples of this, and the clever concept has undergone a steady refinement by Doug Jackson. Laser cut precision gives the illuminated text a commanding presence on the display, with a refined finish that an engineer would be proud of. Another unconventional clock from All15Designs (below, right) uses laser cut steel to display the numbers along a separate plane to the face of the rotary mechanism in the centre.

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Laser Cut Picture Frames

The smiling faces of families and loved ones adorn many workers’ desks, and it can add a lot of personality to do more with the choice of frame than the standard shiny rectangle. Laser cutting allows designers to explore their playful creativity with the form of the frame, as can be seen with the nostalgic tv frame design (below, left) from Phings and the specially designed Ultrasound Frame (below, right) from Gravi Art.

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Frames aren’t only for pictures; displaying certificates, invitations and awards is also a big part of the office environment. The custom invitations from The Redd Press Shop (below) show how laser etched details are further enhanced by layering materials to add contrast and impact to the laser cut timber and card.

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The workplace is an area where calendars, clocks and framed objects can create interest and personal connections. By designing these products for laser cutting and incorporating laser etched personalization, your brand can become a part of the daily grind in a positive, functional way.

Have you seen other clever laser cut office desktop products? Let us know in the comments below, and for more ideas for Agencies and Brands, see the other posts in the series.

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Successful Seller Spotlight: Laser Cut Baking Products

Etsy Sellers Baking Up A Laser Cut Storm

laser cut baking etsy humbleelephant dino rolller

Food cooked with love has a certain magic to it, and one way that keeps the glow in the heart of the kitchen is when chefs have a collection of baking products they love to use. Laser cutting and laser etching open up an exciting world of customized, personal, fun and quirky kitchen related products. Let’s take a look at a few laser cut baking product highlights from successful Etsy stores.

Pictured above is a dino-themed laser etched rolling pin from Humble Elephant. For those baking cookies with a more sophisticated crowd in mind, there is the ornately decorated rolling pin (below, left), one of many variations on this theme from Algis Crafts. Laser cut stencils are another great way to add personality to baked goods, as we can see with the laser cut acrylic Pan stencil (below, right) from the aptly named Laser Stencils. These can be used to dust icing sugar or cocoa onto cookies, and they also make great additions to the barrista’s kitchen toolkit.

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When baking cupcakes, muffins and sweet doughy treats it can be fun to further accessorise and decorate before serving to your guests. Laser cut text from Just Lovett Design makes the cupcakes even more enticing (below, bottom-left) and another approach to little signs from Marked Moments (below, top-left) uses laser etched wood toppers, which look great as a collection across the table. Try for a hint of romance with the hot pink cupcake toppers by Funky Laser (below, center) or send kids on a prehistoric sugar high with dino doughnut toppers from Creative Muster (below, right).

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Cupcakes patties and wrappers are also well suited to laser cutting… and the best thing is that they can be made from paper or thin card, which means they are super-cheap to produce. Featured below we have a Princess crown from Liv Desi, and an elegant lace wrapper that is quite at home amongst the fine china from Mystique Weddings. A more modern version with a botanical theme comes next from Gift Paper, and a spider’s web wrapper that would be a hit on Halloween is one of many fun ideas from Miniature Sweet.

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One thing all bakers know is that cupcakes don’t come in ones or twos; when you’re baking, you’d better bake by the dozen to make sure no-one misses out. Laser cut acrylic cupcake stands are an effective way to display cakes at events, in stores, at a market stall or even just at home on the kitchen counter.

The versatility that laser cutting provides means you can get quite creative without compromising on structural integrity, as we can see in the examples below. On the left, the multi-level pink acrylic stand from Hot Spot Tooling LTD boasts four levels of display space. Similar in size but this time using clear acrylic, the fully loaded multi-tier stand from North American Shop lets the colors of the cakes do the talking. Forms can also easily be produced from 2D laser cut materials that draw inspiration from traditional furniture, such as the Simply Stunning Event laser cut acrylic cake stand (below, right).

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Cooking utensils, particularly those made from bamboo and engineered ply, are well suited to laser cutting and the addition of laser etched details. This is an opportunity to show a little personality and humor, as we can see with the immortalisation of Mom’s Apple Pie recipe from Marcella’s Engravables and the Breaking Bad themed spatula by Wooden Maden.

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Cooking with tools and utensils that you love is a whole lot more fun, and adding finishing touches with personality and spark will make for an eye-catching spread on the table. Using laser cutting and laser etching, these creative opportunities become within reach for even the smallest of baking ventures. Let us know in the comments below if you have other fun ideas of how to use laser cutting and laser etching for baking products.

 

 

How Motion Synth Became A Laser Cut Success

Motion Synth: A Laser Cut Kickstarter Success Story

AUUG Motion Synth

When the Auug team dreamed up their novel music interface the Motion Synth, they knew that there would be a great response from musicians and enthusiasts alike. Before Motion Synth, there was no integrated system that allowed for electronic musicians to interact with their instrument in a natural, intuitive way.

The innovation that makes all the difference with the Motion Synth is in the way that it combines a cleverly resolved physical interface with the robust and technologically powerful iOS mobile device range. Motion Synth consist of three elements, all working together: the AUUG Grip, the AUUG app and the AUUG cloud.

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The Grip is what we’re focusing on here. Laser cut from aluminium and then CNC cold-formed, it encases an iPhone or iPod touch in a way that leaves the fingers free to interact with physically defined regions on the screen. All this happens without interfering with the intuitive process of actually playing music; no distraction from whether the device is secure, or looking to see where to place the fingers.

You may think this sounds a bit like a 21st Century Theremin, but there is actually a whole lot more to the Motion Synth. A true laser cut success story, the Motion Synth is a showpiece for the integration of digital manufacturing technologies such as laser cutting with high-end electronic devices.

Auug’s Motion Synth is a fantastic example of how laser cutting gives product developers the ability to go from concept to fully functional prototype in a smooth, efficient workflow. Already highly resolved prior to the successful Kickstarter campaign, the commercial product has also received serious attention from investors on Shark Tank Australia. By working with the available technologies and making clever use of their combined strengths, AUUG founder Dr Joshua Young is breaking new ground with the Motion Synth.

We highly recommend checking out the product videos on auug.com to see just how amazing this combination of physical and electronic components can be, and you can also learn more about the product development and public funding process at the Motion Synth Kickstarter campaign.

 

 

Understanding the Difference Between Engraving, Etching and Marking

Laser cutting

Engraving, etching and marking are often used interchangeably when it comes to laser cutting. But did you know there’s actually a difference between these three terms? Don’t worry, if you use one term to refer to another, we won’t take it against you. Not many know the difference. All three refer to permanent marking on a material.

Here’s how to tell which one best describes the right laser cutting technique:

  • Laser Marking – This is done with a low-powered beam by discoloring the material to create a high-contrast without actually disrupting the material’s surface. The marking is done via oxidation under the surface causing it to tun black. It is sometimes called laser coloration or laser dark marking. It is most commonly used on metals but the charring effect can also be done on plastic materials. It is typically used for serial numbers or model codes with great application in the medical or automotive fields. Laser marking can be used on flat, curved or round surfaces.
  • Laser Engraving – This, on the otherhand, cuts a cavity through the material’s surface leaving a cavity that reveals an image or writing at eye level that is noticeable to the touch as well. This is done with high heat laser causing the material surface to vaporize. It is very precise and is often a good option for people who want to personalize or customize something. Engrving depth can vary between 0.02″ in metals to 0.125 in harder materials. You can engrave almost any type of material but are most commonly used for metal, plastics, wood, leather, glass and acrylic.
  • Laser Etching – This is really a subset of engraving, with the main difference being the depth of the cut. This is usually no more than 0.001 inch — which makes it the most viable option for thin materials and small projects such as jewelry.

Those are the basic definitions and differences between the three terms often used for laser cutting. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

 

 

 

 

New Materials: Ultrasuede is here!

One of our most requested materials is now available in the US

Ultrasuede for laser cutting

Invented in Japan in the 1970’s, this popular material is known for having a luxurious feel, being extremely durable and a breeze to clean. The fabric is65% non-woven ultra-microfiber polyester and 35%  non-fibrous polyurethane  binder. It feels like natural suede but is resistant to stains and discoloration. With the woven fabric surface, it resists pilling and fraying. These are perfect for your a wide range of laser cut products — from small device covers to fashion items like shoes or home items such as furniture pieces.

Ultrasuede – Camel

Looking for a nice new material to work with for your accessories? The camel version of ultra suede has a tactile appeal and is a darker neutral color that would go well with any clothing choice, making it the perfect material for your laser-cut accessories.

ultrasuede - camel

   See How Ultrasuede Camel Reacts to Laser Cutting >  

 

Ultrasuede – Coffee Bean

Did you know that this material is also washable and is resistant to shrinking? Sounds like its a great match for fashion items, too. Our ultrasuede is available in this lovely dark coffee bean color.

ultrasuede coffee bean for laser cutting

  See How Ultrasuede Coffee Bean Reacts to Laser Cutting >  

 

Ultrasuede – Executive Gray

This material is a great alternative to leather. It has the look of natural suede but the durability and flexibility of synthetic fabric. If you’re not too fond of the brown version, we have it available in grey. This can look great for your brand items or products that you make for executive giveaways.

executive grey ultrasuede

  See How Ultrasuede Executive Gray Reacts to Laser Cutting >  

 

Are you excited about these materials? Give us a shout in the comment box about what you plan to do with these additions to our material lineup.