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Keith Outten
03-23-2004, 8:34 AM
Those of you who are considering purchasing a laser engraver will no doubt be interested in using black marble. Just to give you another marketing source consider engraving diplomas and other professional certificates. I normally tell perspective clients that they can put their originals away in a safe place, these won't ever fade and the cost is just a few dollars more than a good frame would be for a paper document.

My photographs cannot even come close to showing the beauty of these diplomas or the pristine quality of the engraved text.

Click Here (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/engrave/kograd.jpg) for a larger picture.

Glenn Clabo
03-23-2004, 1:44 PM
Keith,
They look great. I think I may have to send you some work in May.

Aaron Koehl
03-23-2004, 2:54 PM
Worthy of note, this marble is veinless imported Chinese black marble.

The marble slabs come in highly polished 12x12 squares (you can't tell it's shiny from the picture), with chamfered edges, and are 3/8" thick.
Each tile weighs 5 pounds.

They look great on a table-top easel.

Cool stuff!

_Aaron_

Don Henthorn Smithville, TX
03-23-2004, 10:37 PM
Keith, those are fabulous. Makes me wish I were young again so I could get into laser work.

John Miliunas
03-23-2004, 10:49 PM
That is really neat, Keith! Not sure if I'm too old to try my hand at it, but certainly don't have the funds for it! Not sure I could get as nice results anyhow! Thanks for the post. Lookin' good! :cool:

Keith Outten
03-24-2004, 8:36 AM
Don,

You are never to old for engraving work, woodworking is much harder work than learning to engrave.

John,

The price of an engraver is not as big a step as you would think. Like any other tool you buy you just have to consider the purchase price against the return that is possible. In my situation my laser engraver is the most proffitable machine in my shop. It also receives more run time in the evenings while I watch television or review the latest woodworking catalogs :)

In two more months I should have my engraver paid off and it will be alll mine. Of course all the money it makes, after taxes, will be mine as well. Not bad considering it only took a little over two years part-time to pay off the machine.

John Miliunas
03-24-2004, 2:31 PM
John,

The price of an engraver is not as big a step as you would think. Like any other tool you buy you just have to consider the purchase price against the return that is possible. In my situation my laser engraver is the most proffitable machine in my shop. It also receives more run time in the evenings while I watch television or review the latest woodworking catalogs :)

In two more months I should have my engraver paid off and it will be alll mine. Of course all the money it makes, after taxes, will be mine as well. Not bad considering it only took a little over two years part-time to pay off the machine.

I think I understand what you're getting at there, Keith. I can definitely see the potential. OK, now who'll lend me the $$ to get one 'o these beasts?! :D Anyhow, I really enjoy seeing the work you do, which comes off that machine. Really amazes me. :cool:

Robin Liles
03-25-2004, 12:36 AM
Keith,
Two years working part time to pay off the machine? How many hours a week are you using it? What are the monthly payments on a machine? There must be a pretty big demand for work like this. Listening to you it seems like a very good investment.Just curious, do they make a machine portable enough to go to craft shows or is that just a ridiculous idea? I would not mind knowing more about the business end of owning one.

Keith Outten
04-06-2004, 7:20 AM
Robin,

If you finance a laser engraver the monthly payment will be between 200-500 dollars per month depending on which machine you purchase and how much you decide to finance. The new Epilog Mini that Mike Wallis just ordered is about ten grand and is mobile at only 100 pounds. You will have to purchase or build a filter box if you plan to use it inside at a show and of course a small dust collector for an exhaust fan.

The average hourly income for engraving work is 60 dollars. In two years I have done jobs that ranged from 30 to 350 dollars per hour depending on the volume and type of work. Strangely enough for me anyway is that sometimes the easiest work is in the higher hourly rate range.

I am currently only working part-time and some months I don't even use my laser at all. In two years I have learned what not to do which I think is most important lesson to learn :)

These days I prefer to do volume work, over the last two weeks I did about 60 hours of engraving in the evenings and my earnings will make many months of payments so basically you can just look for the large jobs to pay for your machine.

George M. Perzel
07-14-2004, 8:11 AM
Hi Keith;
I saw somewhere that you have a source for black marble- can tell me where you get it? Also, are the edges polished ? Thanks
George M. Perzel

Keith Outten
07-14-2004, 8:45 AM
Hi Keith;
I saw somewhere that you have a source for black marble- can tell me where you get it? Also, are the edges polished ? Thanks
George M. Perzel

George,

The edges aren't polished, these tiles aren't exactly meant for engraving but it is the only source we have found to date for suitable tiles.

The url for Color Stone International is;

http://www.color-stone.com/

Toll Free: 1-888-699-1937 ask for John and tell him that you are a member of the SawMill Creek Laser Woodworkers Forum, he may give you a discount. Ask for black marble with no veining, and let him know you are an engraver.

Shaddy Dedmore
07-16-2004, 3:26 AM
http://www.lasersketch.com/index.htm

I got the sample pack and was pretty happy, nice looking, lasered well, polished sides. I ordered some more, but haven't received it yet.

Worth a look and order the samples...

Keith Outten
07-16-2004, 7:35 AM
Shaddy,

Thanks for the link, I ordered the samples this morninig.

George M. Perzel
07-17-2004, 7:21 AM
Hi Keith;
I've seen pictures of some of your black marble photos and they are much brighter than what I've been able to achieve(better contrast). I have been using Photograv and understand that you seldom use it. What process/technique do you use? What machine settings (speed, power, dpi, etc.) do you use for a photo? Thanks
George

Keith Outten
07-17-2004, 11:44 AM
George,

We rarely use PhotoGrav for black marble, instead we use a photo editor and adjust the picture as necessary before we invert it for engraving. Our engraving settings are usually either 60 speed and 85 power or 27 speed 75 power which is a setting we got from Mike which works well for some projects. For black marble we almost always use 600 DPI.

We do use Photograv for wood, Corian, aluminum and some other types of materials. It depends on the photo as well and what we think is the best combination for the job. I wish I had some concrete rules but as you know most jobs are unique so we kind SWAG-em more often than not :)

I usually have small scraps left over from cutting tiles so we often do a small sample before we commit the final file to the engraver. Aaron is an absolute Master at photo-editing and can take the most difficult job and make it engrave perfectly. Aaron just finished a magazine cover page for me that we engraved for Christopher Newport University, the photo was very dark with very little contrast. The final engraving was absolutely stunning and just blew them away at CNU. Shortly our engraving will be hanging in the corporate lobby of Ferguson Enterprises Home Office in Newport News Virginia as CNU will present the plaque to them as a gift...this job was that good :) :)