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Jeff Body
02-22-2017, 11:04 PM
This was my 1st time playing with engraving plastics. It's Gemini Duets Laser XT. After many tries, I figured out how to get a good engraving. But I'm running into a few problems and I'm hoping I could get some help.
1st problem
When I go to cut the plate out the edges discolor just alittle bit. How do I prevent this? It's something I notice but the customer might not.
I've tried with lots of air assist and with only alittle bit. I've tried fast/high power as while as slow/low power. All of these seems to produce the same effect.

2nd problem
My customer wants it in a hunter green and white with an adhesive backing. The picture shows Duet L-111-106 and I can't seem to find any sheets with adhesive backing from JDS. Is this something I have to put on or does anyone know of a similar product that already has adhesive backing?

Thanks for any help!
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Glen Monaghan
02-22-2017, 11:48 PM
I don't cut all the way through, only vector with enough power/speed to score the plastic enough that it snaps cleanly at the score lines. After scoring, I remove the protective plastic film (careful not to move the sheet, which I usually tape to the bed for that reason) from the scored area(s), and then raster engrave front to back to help avoid contaminating the engraved areas with residue from the ongoing engraving (particularly a concern with darker caps and lighter cores, such as red or blue on white). I apply double sided tape after the fact, usually just a strip or two (depends on the width of your tape and size of your plates) and don't try to cover the entire back of the plate because the tape's adhesive is very aggressive.

Mike Null
02-23-2017, 7:53 AM
You can specify adhesive backing when you order your material.

For the normal residue around the cut edge I use denatured alcohol.

John Lifer
02-23-2017, 9:12 AM
I see a bit of lightening on the dark lettering of the end letter, white redepositing on the layer. Ive not done much, but i think i might try Glen's vector cut first and then raster. I don't tape my heavier sheets down so I remove film first. Dnatured alcohol removes most but not always all.

Mike Null
02-23-2017, 10:45 AM
Glen and I are about 180 degrees apart in our methods. I always remove the protective covering first. I always raster first. If you cut first you can have the plate move--not always but it can happen. I order with a full adhesive covering and cut through that at the same time as I cut through the laminate.

Jeff Body
02-23-2017, 2:36 PM
Thanks everyone. I tried simple green but I'll give it another shoot with DA and see how it goes.

Now I called JDS and the nice customer service lady wouldn't exactly compare Duets evergreen color to hunter green. And she didn't have any suggestions that would help.
Does anyone know a product line that will have a darker green with white engraved lettering?

Jacob Meged
02-23-2017, 3:10 PM
I find that I get better results with Raster engraving and then doing a double vector for cutting.

I use the following settings: Raster: 75% Power, 90% Speed, 500 PPI. Vector: 35% Power, 4% Speed, 500PPI.

If you are looking for a dark green you can try the Rowmark UltraGrave line, I've had good luck with engraving it and there is a darker green available. http://www.ultra-grave.com JDS no longer carries Rowmark, you can try either Marco Awards or Johnson Plastics.

Kristian Matz
02-23-2017, 3:12 PM
Jeff, I have the Duets sample book here. L-108-11 seems to be pretty close to hunter green

Kev Williams
02-23-2017, 6:56 PM
for adhesive backing I apply tape. Only time I get material pre-taped is for some of the car parts I make that that need smaller than 1/8" wide runs taped (think a square hole real close to the edge).

Only sure fire way I've found to not burn or discolor edges is to transfer tape the surface after engraving and then laser the score/cut lines--
Just like my BIL did with this pile of tags earlier today--
354710

-the cut is always completely smooth and burn free. Mismatching doesn't happen if you're careful, you just need to choose which way to park your material in the machine, and be sure to repeat it after you bring it back with tape on it.

Getting the tape off? This customer LIKES the tape because the tags get manhandled in transit, and before and during placement--the tape keeps them pristine until ready to go. If you don't want the tape, just get a dish pan the pieces will fit in, add some reasonably hot water and a fairly strong dose of dish soap, throw 'em in and in a few minutes nearly all of the tape will be floating in the water.
:)

Mike Chance in Iowa
02-23-2017, 8:28 PM
You're in luck. My new order of Duets Evergreen/White arrived yesterday. They are very similar in color to Rowmark Lasermax, but when you place them side-by-side, there is an obvious difference. Depending upon which angle you look at it and how the light is, the Rowmark seems a bit darker green in color while my iphone picks up the Duets as the darker color.

Here's a photo of the two colors and a Rowmark Textures Jungle Green.

I associate Hunter Green with various sports cars I have owned in the past that had deep green shades. This evergreen does have a faint tint of blue in it, but your customer might be okay with it.

354711

Glen Monaghan
02-24-2017, 12:04 AM
Glen and I are about 180 degrees apart in our methods. I always remove the protective covering first. I always raster first. If you cut first you can have the plate move--not always but it can happen. I order with a full adhesive covering and cut through that at the same time as I cut through the laminate.
I started out that way as well, Mike, and also cut all the way through to fully release each part. However, the cutting creates the most and stickiest residue that's hardest to clean up, so I switched to only cutting partially through and snapping parts loose after done engraving. With some color combinations and finishes, this still creates more residue than I wanted to deal with, so I tried vectoring first with covering still on, removing the covering from the raster areas, rastering, and then snapping parts loose. That worked quite well except that a couple of times I had the sheet shift while removing the covering, so then I started taping a couple of edges down before vectoring, and that stopped the plate from moving. Parts can't shift between vectoring and rastering because I don't vector all the way through.

Doug Fisher
02-24-2017, 12:26 AM
Glen, just to fully understand, you now tape the whole sheet down to the table, vector cut, remove the covering while the sheet is still taped to the table, raster, then remove the whole sheet in order to snap the pieces apart?

Jeff Body
02-24-2017, 12:41 AM
Thank you everyone for the Help.
I think I'm going to try the evergreen from JDS.
It should be a good match for there logo.
Thank you Mike for the awesome photo comparing the 2.

The only other thing I'm having trouble with is what to charge.
These are going to be 1.5" x 3" tags. The cost of the material it next to nothing and laser time is pretty fast.
Would $4 each be a good price. Like I said, this is my first request for something like this.
Cost of material and labor is cheap but I feel like the value of these would be alot more then I'm thinking.

Does $4 sound right with a min order of 20?

Mike Null
02-24-2017, 9:32 AM
The problem with vectoring partially is that breaking them off doesn't give a smooth edge. I do a lot of control panel labels which require beveled edges. Cutting through the material allows me to make a smooth bevel on all sides. Most of what I do is taped by hand but if the customer specifies full adhesive it is always done prior to engraving and cutting.

I use IPI plastic from Johnson and don't consider sticky edges to be a serious problem. I use DNA for most clean up.

Glen Monaghan
02-25-2017, 11:35 PM
I tape the whole sheet down on two sides to secure it from moving when peeling the cover bits later, vector cut (only part way through so the tags remain firmly in place but will easily snap free later), then peel the covering only from the tags (leaving the rest of the sheet covered), raster, lift the tape and remove the whole sheet, flex and snap out the tags/pieces.

Glen Monaghan
02-25-2017, 11:44 PM
I'm guessing you aren't vectoring deep enough. The vaporized part of the edge will be smooth and the only "rough" part is the part you snap, but that's thin enough to break pretty clean. I've tried hitting the edges with a couple of swipes with 220 grit sandpaper, but the snapped edges are pretty clean anyway and my customers don't seem to notice or care about the difference between fully cut and partially cut-then snapped. I do bevel some plates/tags using a beveler machine and the snapped edges don't cause any problems with creating a smooth bevel.

Jacob Pruitt
03-02-2017, 7:06 PM
After years of doing it the other way, I leave the mask on or put one on if it doesn't have one, vector cut it, peel the mask off then raster. Usually, I just score the plastic using vector more, but there are instances like today where the design is too intricate to snap and need to cut all the way through. That's where the masking really helps. I had success with an epilog helix 50watt at speed 15 power 60 frequency 1000 at 3 passes. Doing multiple passes is easy, just change the copy count before you hit OK to print. The laser will automatically go over it however many times you set the copies at