Laser cutting and engraving technology has completely transformed Jimagination Creations, a woodworking company founded by James Powell, from a small scale hobby business to a sustainable company.
Jimagination's core products include coasters, bookmarks, keyrings and A5 book covers which are sold in craft markets and galleries. Jim's main method of production prior to laser cutting and engraving was hand tools alongside machinery such as band saws and thicknessers. It was on a tour of New Zealand that he first discovered the benefits of laser technology.
Jim said: " During my tour I visited a lot of galleries and gift shops and was taken with the amount of laser cut and engraved products that they offered. I knew that when I got home I had to do more research into the technology, especially what it could do for my company and a year later I had one!"
Jim's first laser machine was a second hand Trotec system which he bought to take his business in new directions. After having his laser for several years, Jim needed a more reliable laser machine and took the step to invest in a brand new Speedy 300 laser engraver.
Jim explains "My business has transformed since adding laser technology to its armoury. Whilst I work from home and still class myself as small scale, my Trotec laser has definitely taken Jimagination from a hobby to a sustainable business with room for expansion."
Wood is a material which is highly suitable for laser cutting and engraving, with many companies using it for a variety of applications. For Jim, his laser allows him to save time and money when producing his detailed creations.
He said: "The laser products that I make are either not possible by hand or would be too time consuming to be economically feasible.
"With the laser I can achieve greater levels of detail in less time than manually engraving. While I can also batch produce my keyrings safe in the knowledge that each one will be of the same high quality."
The processing capabilities of laser technology have allowed Jim to take on more bespoke orders which are not just wooden products. "Bespoke orders for clients is an area which I want to do more work in. Ever since getting my laser I have been taking on more of these orders, which the laser gives me the freedom to do.
"I have occasionally taken orders for other materials, including acrylic and a slate house sign. I like how the laser is versatile enough to process a variety of materials and it allows me to offer clients different options as well."
Despite the initial costs of laser technology, Jim hasn't looked back since starting with his second user system. Since the purchase of his Speedy 300 laser engraving machine, Jim has had his first laser re-furbished and now has two lasers working to produce his products.