Stone Engraving: CNC PRO Way

People often ask us, “Can RedArt Technologies CNC PRO engrave on stone?” Our answer is HECK YEAH! Our founder has been engraving on rocks for a few years and fine tuning the process. One of our favorite stories right now is our latest CNC PRO owners Jenny and Scott Sanford of Sanford & Sons Lawn Care and Landscaping.

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Jenny and Scott have a solid business as landscapers as well as part of a franchise that makes custom boulders. They have had good success with their business and love making boulders. Jenny was looking for something that would improve their process because she came across some challenges with some of the larger projects they started to get. Many of the engravings they do are a manual process using stamps or hand carving work.

 “We spent HOURS trying to get each individual letter/number lined up.”

Challenge

Some of the challenges they were coming up with were lining up the letters and shaping images while wanting to deliver top quality work within a deadline. Jenny and Scott pride themselves with top quality work and only want the best for their clients. That is when they started to investigate other possibilities for delivering designs on rocks. Working with textures and uneven surfaces provides challenges.

When I came upon the CNC PRO website my first thought was this is too good to be true.”

After spending a few hours watching the videos and talking it over with others, Jenny decided to take a chance with the CNC PRO. Working with Henry Ashworth, founder of RedArt Technologies, she took the next step and purchased the CNC PRO. She watched the tutorial videos as well as called Henry when she had a question about the uneven surface she needed to work with.

He told me how to set up the “floating Z”.  It has changed our lives.”

Engraving Video

Results

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Their first project with the CNC PRO turned out to be an amazing success. The job the CNC PRO did was better than what they were doing by hand as well as faster. The processes of adding the images and fonts in the software was easy. Once the CNC PRO started engraving they were able to ensure all letters were clean and deep. Not only did the machine work better than what she was doing by hand, she also noticed she was able to multitask while the CNC PRO was working.

 “The CNC PRO was doing the engraving which allowed me to work on invoices and other business administrative need which saved me time.”

Since owning the CNC PRO, they can bid more jobs faster. They can add more graphics and show a growing portfolio landing them more business contracts, making more money in the end.

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Floating Z

The CNC PRO steps it up with the ability to do both horizontal and vertical surfaces. The success of that comes from the innovative thinking that is the floating Z. The Z-Axis is normally a fixed piece. The CNC PRO has a floating head design can be unlocked allowing it to adjust to the engraving surface. Part of the training RedArt Technologies offer includes how to make the necessary adjustments to utilize this feature.

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Other Projects

Here are some other projects done on stone with the CNC PRO.

Be sure to call if you have any questions: 1-855-926-2776

Behind the Video

I thought it would be interesting to talk about one of the most popular videos from RedArt Technologies. It is the one most seen on Facebook and generates the most interest and questions.

Idea: Engrave on Epoxy

The idea for the project started when Henry was doing a job. He had extra epoxy left over and thought of a plan to show the CNC PRO working on epoxy. He knew this was important as other machines could get clogged up by the epoxy. He thought to pour the epoxy on a 12 x 12 ft pad. Now that he had a canvas to work with, the next step was the design.

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Working the Design

Designing this logo is was super simple. Henry went on a search via the internet to find an image in a Jpeg file and found the skull design he liked. At the same time Henry also worked on his logo design. His idea was influenced by research he did on an ancient practice of Visual Arts, hence where RedArt comes from. He then uploaded it to his computer and created an all over redesign with the RedArt Technologies logo and imported it into Vcarve Pro. One of the reasons he liked Vcarve was it provides over 3,000 different fonts to choose from. From that he was able to customize the design what he wanted and place it exactly where he wanted it.

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Design to Engraving

Once the design is complete, it’s time to change into vectors that can be programmed into the CNC PRO. What is vector in relation to engraving? Vector engraving is a method of marking or scoring a material surface. It is best when you use black and white images or simple line art. What we are doing with the software is transforming the image to something the program can use to make the engraving. This process is what RedArt Technologies trains on when you purchase the CNC PRO. From Vcarve the program moves into Mach3 for the actual milling process.

 

 

Scale any Size

RedArt Technologies has developed a proprietary system that allows the CNC PRO to move around and connect with precision and control. With the patented design of the frame creating a floating Z, scaling jobs to the needs of the client is possible. In this video you can see Henry moving the machine to markers as programmed by the CNC PRO. There are grid marks and additional tips Henry shares in his training. He has some great techniques that allows test run (ghost passing) and how to zero out before making an engraving pass. Many CNC PRO users also share their process so there is a lot of help for anyone to hone their own method.

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Final Touches

Once the engraving was completed, Henry mixed up some black epoxy and filled in what was engraved out (outlines). This epoxy on epoxy effect was polished smooth creating a stunning affect.

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The project took a total of 8 hours to complete. If you are wondering what this pays out, one can get $12,500.00 on this size with the epoxy and finishing including sealing. This makes it easy to see how big the return on your investment can be on a day’s work.

 

 

Extra on the Bits:

RedArt Technologies searched a long time to find the bits we use. You may use whichever bits you might like however we do recommend the ones we used in this video. We have had others send bits to try that were diamond coated which do not last long. When you buy the CNC Pro you will get 10 diamond impregnated concrete bits. You can get anywhere between 15 to 50 hours out of these bits.  We sell these $20 each when you need more. That is a great value.

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Business in a Box

The CNC PRO likes to think of itself as a business in a box. Part due to the fact the whole set up from computer to parts fits safely in a military grade box. This way the CNC PRO can be transported from job site to job site safely and effectively.

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The business part is also the training and support you get from RedArt Technologies. This part is what we want to focus on for our blog post.

Lately people having been asking if we are offering a franchise. The answer is no. That got us to look into franchise a little more and look deeper if we should consider it or not.

Spoiler Alert: No we don’t want to franchise

Okay, so what is a franchise?

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According to the International Franchise Association, one of the oldest franchising organizations:

“Franchising is simply a method for expanding a business and distributing goods and services through a licensing relationship.  In franchising, franchisors (a person or company that grants the license to a third party for the conducting of a business under their marks) not only specify the products and services that will be offered by the franchisees (a person or company who is granted the license to do business under the trademark and trade name by the franchisor), but also provide them with an operating system, brand and support”.

Credit: A brief separate glossary of franchising terms is available on IFA’s website at http://www.franchise.org/what-are-common-franchise-terms

So, what does all that mean? Well the person purchasing into the franchise gets branding and support but at the same time they are pretty much under contract so there are some rules they will need to follow.

  • You are associated with the franchiser’s trademark
  • You pay an initial and/or continuing fee for the right to start and remain in the business
  • They control or provides assistance to you

When talking to potential customers of the CNC PRO, some of them have expressed their experience with franchises. We have heard stories of large investments, on going fees and not having the control to name their own company. Not everything was bad as they got training, and some start up help, but still there were hoops to jump through as well as a limited territory controlling some of their growth.

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Not all franchise opportunities are the same. Some are amazing. It’s just not something we are interested in doing.

So what is the CNC PRO doing?

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We are not just selling a machine; we offer a full package that includes training, 24/7 support and some light marketing help. Kind of like what franchise offers but with no on-going fees, low overhead and, more importantly, no contracts controlling your business.

Here is an overview of what you get:

  • CNC Pro Engraving Machine in a military grade travel case.
  • Laptop with pre-loaded software
  • 10 diamond impregnated bits
  • One day Training, Remote or in person at our location (we will come to you at an additional charge).
  • 24/7 Support and Service and access to engineers
  • Data package with some Marketing Supports
  • 1-year warranty on all components

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One of the biggest values is we are a community that help each other. We share as much as we can to help people achieve goals quickly.

Many people that have investing in us will testify to the training and support our founder Henry Ashworth gives. He does this as he sincerely wants people to develop skills as they follow their passion.

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RedArt Team (Eugene Oregon Team)

Featuring Recent Projects: Summer 2018

Thought it would be interesting if we featured some random projects with the CNC PRO this summer. We want to show case some other uses of the machine that is helping its owners expand the possibilities. We are learning everyday just how much the CNC PRO can do with a quick change in bits and adjustments in the passes. Hope you enjoy.

 

Engraving on Marble

John Corallo, new owner in the NYC area. He tested his first piece of 12×12 piece of marble.

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TIP: please use water when working with marble to ensure clean cuts.

 

Engraving a Cooler

Michael Wanco of Bolder Engraving

Tip: Key to these is slow and steady. Even a brand-new cooler is not perfectly level. Put a straight edge on it to find your high and low spots. Run 0.01” depth. Adjust by 0.005” to get what you need. Coolers are no thicker than 3/16

 

Engraving Granite

Henry Ashworth, founder of RedArt Technologies

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Granite 1/8 deep 6 passes using a concrete bit RedArt Technologies provides

 

Engraving Sidewalks

Ralph Hansel, Trainer for RedArt Technologies 

Poetry engraving on the sidewalks at Michigan State University. Head of the science department was so impressed they ordered more work.

 

Creating Custom Corn Hole Boards

Jeremy and Morgana Dundon of Dundon Creative.

This was the Dundons first attempt and they learned a lot from the process. Great thing is many people love the “Fall Out” theme and has been asking for other video game inspired Corn Hole boards. They had a great time using them on their camping trip. Looks like they are going to be very busy.

 

There are more full projects that we will be blogging about in the weeks to come. Just thought it would be fun to share a couple that shows the range of the CNC PRO. We learn everyday more things to share with our community. LEARN TEACH LEARN is a great thing we do here. It’s great knowing the founder, Henry Ashworth, is always available to answer questions from bidding a job to fixing areas you might need help with. Looking forward to sharing the bigger projects soon.

Dealing with Dust

The CNC PRO is designed to be on site and work in places like a construction environment. There are many elements that can cause issues; we have found that our biggest problem is concrete dust. It is super fine and can get into some of the working components of the CNC PRO. If dust is not properly maintained it will cause improper wear.

There are two main components that are affected by fine dust, the Router and Pillow Blocks.

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Consider this, by the nature of the router it sucks air from the bottom where the bit is cutting and is funneled. The air being funneled is meant to cool it down. Unfortunately, the dust being sucked in will prematurely wear out the bearing on the shaft of the router.

Tip: We recommend keeping an extra router or two with the machine. This way if any issues arise from the current router, you can quickly change it out in 60 sec.

 

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What are the pillow blocks? They are the blocks that allow the machine to be put together and taken apart while staying square with precision. These blocks have many small steel balls in them (helps them move) and we and found that concrete dust will get inside these blocks and bind up, so they have improper wear.

Tip:  It is imperative that we clean these blocks every 10 hours and keep them clean and lubricated.

 

Here are two solutions to help combat dust: Dry lube and vacuum plates.

 

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Dry Lube is imperative to helping combat the problems of fine dust.  You need to use the Dry Lube over using regular WD-40. Here’s why; the dry lube doesn’t attract the dust and regular WD-40 will attract the dust.

Tip: We recommend that you disassemble the CNC PRO to properly clean and lube all the parts.

 

Vacuum Plate

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Vacuum plate is something we advise you to use. There are many different types of vacuum plates (ask RedArt Technologies for the one we have). The vacuum plate will help keep the fine dust and particulate matter from getting on the components of the CNC PRO.  They can be easily attached.

Tip: It is a good practice to vacuum your work space as you engrave to help control the debris in the area. A clean work space is safer for you and the CNC PRO.

We at RedArt Technologies want to provide education, training as well as helpful advise that makes all our users feel supported. If you have additional questions about dust or other job site concerns with the CNC PRO, let us know.

 

RedArt Team Member : Adam the Web Guy

Earlier this year we needed to revamp the RedArt Technologies website. Knowing that investing in the right person with strong skills who enjoys doing websites was important. Finding someone that loved the CNC PRO was huge. We are lucky to have met Adam Burner.

Adam currently works for a security software company as well as being a website designer. He has many clients from running sports companies, private organizations as well as tech companies However, there was a time Adam once laid floor tile. Even though he loves tech, there is still a very hands on drive Adam has which drew him to the CNC PRO last fall. As fate will have it, Adam is now the website design/manager for the RedArt Technology website AND a proud owner of the CNC PRO.

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Best part is, Adam is a natural and he picked up engraving extremely quickly. Adam has not only learned the software (no surprise there) but also listening to the CNC PRO as it is engraving to hear for adjustments he might make during an engraving session. He found with some designs, when the larger areas need to be engraved out to speed up the machine to improve the look of the bigger spaces. This works as it helps soften the engraving tracks.

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Adam is enjoying engraving on concrete and wood. Lately he is enjoying making signs for around the home as well as personalized gifts. Working in the Tech industry, he has a knack for swag people would want in terms of computer gaming and movies. He says he learned a few ‘hacks” that has made his engraving better. One of which was to use a sander after you engrave to ensure the surface is smooth and clean. He likes to do paint in some of the things he engraves to add color.

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Tip: When working with wood, you can save money going to a paint department and look for steeply discounted paint samples returned. The store wants to unload them super cheap.

RedArt Technologies is super proud of Adam. It shows that everyone from founder to web guy that we are very invested into the CNC PRO. This machine gets a lot of interest because it deserves it. It is easy to get started and the passion Henry (founder) has is contagious to us all.

 

After all… how could you not love our founder?

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Trade or Home Shows for the WIN!

We are super proud of the recent success CNC PRO owners Josh and Samantha Dressler (of ETCH AZ) had at a recent Home show and it inspired us to talk about how to grow your business with a Home/Trade show. We have had a few CNC PRO owners see their business take off after investing in a show. Let us share some tips to help as we have done home shows and trade shows alike.

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Josh and Samantha Dressler from ETCH at a Home Show July 2018
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Henry Ashworth founder of RedArt Technologies at WOC

PLANNER GUIDE

Many shows offer a planning guide, many times called a prospectus. It is a good idea to check it out as it will have times for set up, security, and general audience information. There are also offers in it for advertising opportunities like signs and promotional stand outs. Depending on budget it might be worth it. We have found that paying for some promotional upgrades, like event website stand outs, can help the audience find you better. There are sometimes live events you can help sponsor that will drive traffic to your booth. Either way it is a good thing to read and study to help you succeed at their show.

Tip from Josh: Location is key “the booth location was key as we wanted a main aisle and corner booth. Luckily, we got both and were placed next to a very popular nursery booth, so we got great traffic all weekend”.

Tip from RedArt Technologies: “Pay the extra for your logo to stand out on the floor directory. Some shows will have over 100 vendors. If you’re just a name, people can overlook you. If your logo is on the directory, you can get noticed better”.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

What kind of people should be at the show? Are you attracting homeowners or professional firms? Knowing who is the primary traffic that will be at the show helps you prepare to market to them. If it is an area crazy for a sports team, then have their logos in your booth. Are you targeting architects? Then have some blue prints around showing how you can spec a job. Are you targeting home owners? Then have family friendly looking displays. Knowing your audience makes sure you are not wasting your time at the event.

Tip from RedArt Technologies: “Knowing your audience helps you target them. We have been to both home shows and big events like World of Concrete. We can say our approach for both shows is different and helps us decide how we are going to present and set a budget for the best ROI (return on investment)”.

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BOOTH DESIGN

You want to grab people’s attention, so they want to investigate you. You can get advice from design experts as they will give you tips on colors or how to make your booth interesting with special design, or just ask someone you know that has done a few shows. RedArt Technologies community is always willing to help each other with ideas. You don’t want to look like a student set up but a polished professional business. You also want to have some marketing materials included with relation to booth design.

Tip from Josh: “We had business cards, postcards and “info sheets” with pictures, plus have a brochure with pics of the different things the machine can do”.

Tip from RedArt Technologies: “Get people in and walk around. Make it interactive as we like to run the machine and trigger their vision”.

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Booth by Bolder Engraving that yielded them great sucess

PROMOTE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

A lot of people are on social media watching for events and wanting to connect with companies. Never underestimate the power of pre-show promoting to get your audience to want to look for you before the gates even open. We at RedArt make sure to use our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram accounts to announce where we are going to be and encourage people to stop by. While at the event we will do LIVE broadcasts and record conversations we might use after the event.

Tip from RedArt Technologies: “Social Media is our bread and butter of marketing. Get a following and let them know where you will be. Make it easy and make it fun”.

Tip from Josh: “We aggressively promoted the “mobile” aspect of the machine. Telling them we could engrave on existing surfaces like concrete etc. business logos, etc. Most of the people that understood it went crazy and their heads immediately started thinking. That was my main goal for this show, to get them thinking and create a buzz about the capabilities of the machine”.

STAND OUT (goodies to gimmicks)

People love swag. You will have people that will stop by your booth looking for swag so don’t let them down. At the same time, be smart about what you have to offer. It’s good to have some cheaper items like pens or branded candy. Then also reserve some bigger swag to offer to some potential customers to remember you by. You could even have an object that you might want to auction off to get people really interested in your company as everyone likes the idea of winning something. Think about your audience and what kind of swag you could offer that helps you stand out and they will remember you.

Tip from RedArt Technologies: “Have some pricy swag to the side for the right targets. We found out the hard way that some swag can cost more and clients know when they are treated special. Pens are fun but custom coins and electronics can make an impression that leads to a sale for the right target”.

Tip from Josh: “We had a “show special” of a 32″x24″ flagstone address marker for $150 (which normally goes for $250-$350). We sold a ton of those which even at that price we still made money and created a buzz. We are still getting calls over a week later”.

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The Give Away ETCH did at their Home Show
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Running the CNC PRO during WOC helped bring people into the booth

HAVE SAMPLES OF WORK

It is not always enough to just talk about what you do, you have to show them. Have some pieces of work that can wow the crowd. This is where knowing your audience is helpful as you can have examples that get someone to want to buy. With engraving you can have samples of different surfaces like concrete pavers, metal or plastics to show your range. You would want to select designs like sports teams or pop culture pieces (music, movies, cultural connection) that would spark interest and ideas. We like having the CNC PRO in our booth and demonstrate how it works. Of course there are restrictions to noise at some shows, but we can still put our machine in a mode that has it move with minimum noise.

Tip from RedArt Technologies: “Sample as much as you can. Concrete, metal, wood and more. When customers see and touch the possibilities you expand what is possible in their minds”.

Tip from Josh: “Having plenty of samples helped us get a few good leads on long term monthly revenue type work and if those come to fruition it could be worth at minimum $100k/year in easy revenue and a couple large concrete engraving jobs per year”.

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Samples from Ralph Hansel

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HAVE A WELL STAFFED BOOTH

Try not to do a show alone. Have a few people with you that believe in your company and understand what you are about. Engraving is an interesting trade. The CNC PRO is very different, and people really seem to respond to the idea of portable engraving services. USE IT. Be sure to have a staff that is prepped with conversation initiators and engagement techniques that will get potential customers to ask questions and grow interest. The best recommendation is to have your staff stand up, walk around and not have their cell phones out. Instead maybe have a couple tablets in hand with some pictures and a program to take notes. Also, if possible, have some shirts with your logo made up for everyone to wear so you look like a polished team. A little investment in branding can go a long way.

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Ralph Hansel, Henry Ashworth and Morgana Dundon from WOC 2018

Success is a big victory we want all CNC PRO owners to experience. We are happy to share more tips to help make trade shows a win as it is a great way to expand this market. We have a couple of other CNC PRO owners that have had great success like Bolder Engraving and ETCH. We have other up-coming owners getting ready to have their first show soon.

Plus… Have some fun and attend any after parties you can as you are also there to network.

If you need engraving work in AZ please check out the FaceBook page for ETCH: https://www.facebook.com/ETCHAZ/

If you need work in SC check out Bolder Engraving: https://www.bolderengraving.com/

For other states contact us at RedArt Technologies: https://redarttechnologies.com/