View Full Version : New to me at least

Bob Oswin
10-23-2003, 7:24 PM
The article seems to point to a universal laser system for just about everybody.
Is this the beginning of the end like inkjet technology?


Keith Outten
10-24-2003, 5:34 AM

Universal has a nice line of laser engravers. I have been trying to schedule a trip to Fredricksburg Virginia to visit my local dealer and view their line of machines personally. I was able to contact a supervisor in their marketing group and was impressed with what he had to say about their desktop lasers and a new open bed product line coming soon. Universal also has a very nice rotary fixture which uses a different approach than Epilog Laser's machines.

At ten thousand dollars I doubt that we will see one of these machines in every office any time soon and the learning curve is a bit steeper than the manufacturers would lead you to believe. Actually the lasers are simple enough, the real work is learning to use Corel Draw and a host of other software programs that drive the machine. Finally there is plenty to learn when it comes to materials as each type engraves differently.

I still believe that a laser engraver is the ultimate tool for a woodworking shop and like any other tool it takes time to learn to use and make it productive. We engrave a lot of wood in our shop but you can also engrave black marble, aluminum, stainless steel, acrylics, ceramics, leather, paper, mat board, glass, corian, painted brass...

Here is a black marble plaque I engraved this morning. A simple job but consider that I had to cut the marble and then prep the edges. Preparation of materials is why a workshop can serve markets that traditional trophy shops can't touch.

Scott Greaves
10-24-2003, 1:55 PM

That is an exceptionally nice engraving! So, is a Universal laser the best game in town? If I'm going to go down this path, I want to make sure I'm playing with the winning team! In one of my preferred areas of woodturning - penturning - there is so much that can be done with a laser! But for pens the rotary adapter is essential, and if Universal's is a good one, that makes a difference.

So, do you think somebody like me could make enough money from laser engraving in my spare time to pay for one of these machines in a year?


Keith Outten
10-24-2003, 6:34 PM

Universal makes a very nice machine but I haven't seen one personally, that is why I have been trying to clear my schedule and spend a day in Fredricksbug to visit the Universal dealer. Nick posted some pictures in this forum of many of his laser projects and he owns a Universal machine.

The rotary attachments made by Universal and Epilog use different approaches to rotating projects. I believe the Universal works like a lathe, spinning the project between centers. Epilog's rotary attachment spins the project on top of a set of round disks or rotating drums. Each one has their strong points depending on the shape of the project.

Pens are often the easiest projects to engrave. When I just want to engrave a name on a pen I don't use the rotary attachment. I have a plywood jig with a V-cut channel that my pens rest in and I just hit the button, rotating isn't required. If you have a graphic or design to engrave then the rotary attachment is a must for pens.

I have heard that there are people who paid for their engravers in six months. The length of time it takes is relative to how much you already know about computers and graphics softeware as well as your marketing capability. I should stress MARKETING here, without marketing you are doomed from the start. Of course this is true in any business venture, you have to know how to find work that is proffitable.

Scott Greaves
10-24-2003, 11:02 PM
Thanks Keith!

Some of the designs I have seen involve going all the way around the pen barrel. I guess I had better start reading up on this. And maybe start studying my Corel Draw!