Engraving multiple parts in just one work process
The advantages of using a jig for laser engraving
What material should I use to create my jig?
As a general rule of thumb, any material that can be laser cut can be used for creating jigs. TroLase is a particularly cost-effective option. It is dimensionally stable, easy to process and available in many forms including TroLase Lights, TroLase Thins and TroLase ADA Signage.
One important item to consider when creating jigs is the thickness of parts which will be engraved. For thin objects such as aluminum tags, use a thin material for the jig, this will make it easier to remove the parts later. For thicker workpieces such as pens, a thicker material can be used to provide additional support for the jig pieces.
How do I create the layout for my jig?
For large order volumes, it would be more economical to produce multiple jigs. Ensure the jig has a solid base, this will allow you to easily and quickly remove and replace the jig and associated items, allowing you to keep up a high level of productivity. You can then begin unloading and reloading a jig whilst the laser is engraving the current jig.
Creating a jig insert for a complicated contour shape?
Idea #1: MeasureIf the outline of your workpiece is a simple, geometric shape, it is a good idea to measure the shape and trace it in your graphics program.
Idea #2: Scan the workpiece and trace itIf your workpiece consists of complex angles and radii, such as a heart shaped pendant for instance, try scanning the workpiece into the computer and then, import the scanned image into your graphics program and trace the contours.
For items too large or bulky to scan, transfer the contours to pen and paper - or try taking a top-down photo of the workpiece.
Once the image is in your graphics program, trace around the workpiece and adjust the scale accordingly to ensure accurate size representation of your workpiece.
Tips for creating your jig layout
Tip:It is very helpful to add an additional cut-out in the shape of a semicircle. This makes it easier to remove the finished engraved parts.
Which lens do I use for creating templates?
In general, we recommend using the smallest possible lens (1.5" or 2") in order to keep the cutting gap as small as possible.
More tips for creating templates:
- If you use multiple templates, engrave the name of the template onto the jig and ensure your files that relate to the jig are also named accordingly. This will make it easier to source the corresponding work files for the jig when you need to use it.
- Mark the corner of the unit in the zero point on the template so that you can quickly and easily insert it.
- For smaller jigs, it may be a good idea to store or file the jig in a folder. Thus, your templates are kept safe and are quickly at hand.
- When you send your future engraving jobs to the laser, always send the entire graphic including the outer contour of the template. Before engraving your workpieces, set the colour "red" to "positioning" in the parameters in the material database. This makes it easy for you to check whether the template is properly positioned in the machine.
- In order to quickly and reliably determine the desired position for laser processing read our tips and tricks for positioning aids.