TIPS FOR LASER ENGRAVING JEWELRY
Laser engraving a piece of jewelry can go far beyond hallmarking. Jewelry manufacturers and retailers can use laser-engraving technology to personalize a piece or add design details that are impossible or time-consuming to create by hand. Whereas hand engraving pushes metal out of the pattern it traces, a laser pulverizes metal into powder that is pulled away by the machine’s exhaust system and can later be sent for refining.
A laser engraving machine can create virtually any shape, texture, pattern, or text—whatever the designer or the client can imagine. The following are tips and tricks for accurate and effective laser marking and engraving for your jewelry business.
To make an even line of text or a pattern around the outside or inside of a ring, grab a mini-level to guarantee accuracy. “Place the level on top of the scan head housing to make sure it’s level, then the ring will engrave correctly.”
When you are trying to center a ring in preparation for laser engraving, all of the reflection coming off the metal can make this step tricky. To cut the metal’s selectivity, technician suggests placing a non-glossy piece of paper where you will be engraving. “We use a business card for this purpose and it works well every time,”. In addition, reflected light from the laser can damage colored stones, so take care when engraving or marking a finished piece of gem-set jewelry. “For example, if you have a stone-set ring and someone wants to put a date inside the shank near the stone, protect the stone with basic poster putty,” “You can use the putty over and over again.”
Test in brass.
If you’re going to invest in a laser engraving machine, add a bunch of brass blanks to your shopping list. “Sometimes we create different .jpg files and need to test them to make sure we have the correct power and that it will mark deeply enough,”“Instead of practicing on the real thing—especially if it’s a customer’s piece—we test it on the blank to make sure it marks correctly.”
laser-engraving-rings.jpgConsider future sizing.
When laser marking your logo inside of a ring, think ahead so a future sizing won’t destroy it. “When I mark a logo, I make sure it’s in a spot that someone will never have an issue with it down the road.”
Step inside, carefully. When marking the inside of a ring, verify that the laser is focused, and then double check. “If it’s not in focus, it’s not going to mark it correctly,”
“The mark may have a doubling effect or be blurry.”
In addition, check the inside diameter of the ring in two or three spots before laser engraving, as rings are seldom perfectly round. “If it’s a plain band, it’s generally the same all the way around,” “But if it’s a very intricate ring, the diameter may vary. In that case, you should average the measurements and cut all marks at one time. If you try to make one mark, remove the ring, place it back, and then make another mark, they will not line up.”
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