As a bit of an accounting exercise, we totaled up the money we’d been spending to outsource laser-cut materials (LCD chassis windows, plus small acrylic chassis sets for quick-turn work mostly) as well as chassis labeling and printing. Though our outside vendors did great work, it was common for our three hour job to sit in their queue for 2-3 weeks before it was completed.
Not terribly efficient.
So in Mid-January, we purchased an 80-watt laser cutter with a 400 x 600 mm working space and an adjustable z-axis which travels up to 250 mm. It’s been a wonderful addition to the shop. It’s been used so far to mark a production run of DecaBox chassis pieces:
… with lovely results. We also marked and branded a batch of complicated chassis sets which we OEM for another customer.
Last week, we were asked to ship a very quick-turn LED driver system, complete with protective chassis. In the space of three hours, we hopped from napkin sketch to CAD drawing to paper printout to laser-cut cardboard mockup (several iterations) to final chassis cutting. The flexibility and precision of the process is very rewarding. Many many revisions can be completed in-house, in less time than it would take to visit a cross-town vendor.
A good friend who works as a lighting designer most nights – but who also plays in a band – received a copy of the group’s logo etched in 1/2″ water clear acrylic. A black background and edge lighting make a beautiful result.
The money we would have spent to outsource this work, just over the past two weeks, totals about 10% of the machine’s cost. That’s not such a bad return.
We look forward to helping our customers with high-quality, well-designed and quick-turnaround designs this year.