View Full Version : How about some cost cutting tips in these hard times

Rodne Gold
02-08-2009, 2:10 AM
Due to being a long way from major US , euro and Chinese suppliers as well as having unfavourable exchange rates ..over the years we have developed some of our own local products and ways to save costs...Now with times beibng tough as they are..lets come up with a thread that accentuates DIY or at least shows us ways to cut costs..
Lets not get into a cheapest supplier type thing tho.
Here is a start
1) Make your own engraving laminates
We used to use a lot of rowmark and other capped laminates , but are finding making our own is so much cheaper -- we use both ABS and thin coloured acrylic as the substrate and either flood coat or spray on automotive type ducos. Both seem more durable and as easy to engrave as commercial lams , and in fact some of the surfaces are actually far better weatherable and chemical resistant.

2) Instead of making jigs to hold items out of perspex or whatever , we scan the item and just print the scan on paper. We just place the paper in the laser and place to object on it and use "engrave from centre" feature of our laser to run the engraving. Saves time in terms of tracing the scan and laser time in terms of cutting a jig.

3) Gilders pastes work far better and are far cheaper than using rub n buff for any colour or metalic flling , often works better than paints and doesnt contain any solvents that can affect pex

4) Laser alignment can shave up to 25% off cutting and engraving times , well worth the effort of learning how to do it yourself.

5) Often lasering multiple items on a 1 off basis is a lot quicker than making up matrix type jigs , is also a lot safer if anything goes wrong

6) Paper based vinyl sign application tape is one of the cheapest and most effective masking materials

7) formicas are dirt cheap , come in a zillion colours and finishes , are durable and paint fillable and easily cuttable , use them to clad cheap substrates for that high end look for next to no money.

8) Sign vinyl applied to the rear of clear perspex is a quicker and cheaper way of "reverse" spraying or painting , also comes in a zillion colours , you can use the cheapest for this application.

9) Buy cheap marble bases from trophy supply companies as the base for your own cut perspex awards .. gives the illusion of "worth" .

10) the best and cheapest "pin" type badge fitting is the one where its all moulded in one and doesnt have a safety clip , buy the one with adhesive backing.. thos fancy ones with hinges and safety clips always give hassles , this is the one to buy
not his one

11) Those of you that do doming , the 2 part small cartridge guns have excessive cost per item that make it real expensive.
Any epoxy place will have a 2 part water clear urethane or epoxy and using paper cups and lollipop sticks , you can iox and apply at like 1/30th of the price. Do it in a dry moisture free place.

12) You can buy polyester based inkjet self adhesive vinyl and print it on the cheapest deskjet printer , load it into the laser and use the laser to die cut it .. a great market for small runs of shaped stickers , can be used on awards etc. Also can be domed. Polyester is laser friendly.

13) PETG cuts well on a laser , can be bent manually without white stress marks , can be used to make all sorts of things or stands , it even withstands mulitple bends along a score line , so can be used for lif flaps or anything that is going to be opened and closed

14) Be creative when it comes to awards , you can make your own far cheaper than buying the commercially available stuff , apart from that , you stand apart from the crowd.

15) I can't think of any more off the top of my head - i'm sure others will contribute.

Roy Nicholson
02-08-2009, 6:03 AM

Thanks for your tips.

I haven't any to add

but I'll definitely be keeping an eyen on this thread.


Roy N.

Mike Null
02-08-2009, 6:05 AM
Great tips Rodney.


Dave Johnson29
02-08-2009, 10:07 AM
Now with times being tough as they are..lets come up with a thread that accentuates DIY or at least shows us ways to cut costs.

Great idea for a thread Rodne and some great tips there.

Prepare aluminum by soaking it in a 5-10% solution of Caustic Soda (Plumbers Lye) and water for about 5-10 minutes. Always add the Lye to the water, not the other way round as the water droplets can instantly turn to steam and splatter.

Wear safety face mask, rubber gloves etc. Don't ask!! :eek: :)

To do both sides, hang the parts in the solution using stainless wire.

It etches the surface nice and evenly and leaves a clean white matte surface. Spray with rattle-can paint then laser. Looks as good or better than anodizing.

George Brown
02-09-2009, 10:01 AM
Thanks Dave and Rodne, great tips!!


Joe Pelonio
02-09-2009, 11:27 AM
I have lately been shopping around for the best prices on vinyl which I used to always get from the same source, and even with shipping can save. I use a lot of masking tape, mostly for vinyl application, and find that I can get that for more than 50% less on E-Bay. Same with Olfa knife blades. Delvie's Plastic sometimes has engraving material and acrylic on E-Bay at lower than regular prices.

Look for substrates and other materials and supplies at local freight salvage dealers, I saved 60% on some dibond sheets that way.

When a supplier announces a price increase, stock up on your most-used items before the deadline.

Doug Griffith
02-09-2009, 12:10 PM
Thanks guys. Good tips.

Maximizing material usage is another way to cut costs.

One thing I do if time allows is add a few extra cut lines to non-square shapes (shown in red). This way the scrap is consistent in size with square edges that I can align into an array for other jobs. It also makes storing them more efficient.

To keep the edge of the part from being affected by the additional cuts, I keep them about .010 away.


Albert Nix
02-09-2009, 12:35 PM
Thanks for the tips I will try to contribute if I can think of any thing new. I use a lot of masking tape also but 3-m has a green tape the auto panit suppliers use that I like . It cost more but when I am appling vinyl it goes a long way because you can use the same piece over and over whithout losing hardly any holding power. Even a little water does not have a lot of effect on it. Rodney who sells the polyester based inkjet self adhesive vinyl and how pricey is it. Sounds like a good idea.

Rodne Gold
02-09-2009, 2:09 PM

John W. Love
02-09-2009, 3:42 PM
Great tips Rodne, I too will be keeping an eye on this thread and contribute when I can.