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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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)”.
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”.
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”.
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”.
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.
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.
Henry Ashworth hanging out with Johnny Angel of Rocky Mountain Hard Rock Flooring
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/
Lately we have been asked “how do you get the jobs?” or for help in general about winning bids. We started thinking this would be a good topic for a blog post so here it is. We want to share some experiences we have had this year. In this market we have architects and building firms needing to include engraving as part of their design and services. Detail by detail we helped CNC PRO owners meet these needs.
Our clients are looking for precision and maintenance free results. The CNC PRO is being specified on the blueprints and plans for jobs worldwide. More and more, this will be the way things are going to be done. Projects start with an estimate and effective processes must be put in place to ensure that design and assumptions used to calculate work to be done are fair and the rate is quoted. Be sure to nail the proposal requirements.
The CNC PRO is good with showing those specific requirements that have helped a few owners win big bids. Many of our owners have won bids because they are able to meet the details needed.
Create a Sample (POC)
Having a sample is a type of proof of concept that helps you win. You can even show the client how you can modify cutting angles and depth to ensure their vision of the design is executed. This way you can communicate with the client visually how you can complete the project which creates a WOW effect. When we bring an example of the project with something like a backer board to the table, they are impressed because they can touch and feel the project. This can help set you apart from the other bids.
Submit the Bid
You need to bid smart and within the due date expected. Make sure you understand budget and timeline expectations as well as building in some contingency pieces in case of delay or problems with availability of materials and space. Not all jobs are created equal and knowing how to bid smart by finding projects that are a good fit both professionally and financially is key to ultimate success.
We have spent a lot of time and money on developing a simple bid spread sheet for our client to use so they are up and running from day one.
We have clients that want to do prospecting before they get their machine. For 10% down we give you all the info and data you need to start on the right foot. It is in our best interest that you understand the opportunity that is in front of you.
This is the best time to start because we are at the bottom of the curve and market is just starting to take off. We are excited for future and what is to come.
I thought it would be fun to talk about a wood engraving project that yielded success. It was the first big project for CNC PRO founder Henry Ashworth. The Hogel Zoo is located in Utah at the mouth of Emigration Canyon. Opened in 1931, it has 42 acres of tree-lined pathways where visitors can view over 800 animals. It offers education, conservation and events.
Like many Zoos, the Hogel Zoo relies a lot on its donors. Some of these donations are come in a form of a beneficiary on person’s retirement plan, life insurance, from an estate or even donated time. These activities help fund the education programs and maintain the animal’s habitats and food.
Henry learned that the donor program needed to have 6000 names engraved in 380 wood planks. He had a great time working on this project. He received a list of names he programmed into VcarvePro as well as other specs about the amount of surface he had from board to board.
There was an additional challenge of uneven ground. Henry was able to bring the CNC PRO on level to the bridge and adjust the machine accordingly to accomplish the job. It would be fair to say other CNC machines may not be able to engrave and keep their depth correct because of the unevenness of the planks. The CNC PRO has a floating Z axis to make the required adjustments. Henry used a 1/8 end mill wood bit for the engraving.
Everything was going well as people watched his progress. Then someone let Henry know an additional detail about the names he was engraving. They were not just donors but also people that have passed away. He was in fact working on a memorial project. He got to hear incredible stories about some of the people who graciously donated to the Zoo. Attending the opening was a very emotional experience.
“It was a beautiful experience to be able to do and be a part of. I love my job when I can be a part of somebody’s Memorial and help honor loved ones” Henry Ashworth
The owners of a furniture store, Mountain Timber Furniture, had an issue that needed to be resolved. They had taken over a space that had a previous company logo in it. The logo was 6×6 foot in size in concrete. They started researching how to replace the logo without disrupting business and at a reasonable cost.
Henry was happy to take on the challenge. He listened to the needs of the store owner and explained the options he could do. One of those options was to grind out the old logo and then inlay their logo (which included a metal in lay) into concrete. He also made sure that he could perform the replacement in a day without them needing to remove the furniture from the store. That gave the owner goosebumps because metal was a part of the logo and how fast and easy Henry could do the job.
The first thing Henry did was create contained work space by building a canopy around the work area. This way he was able to contain the dust he expected to create. He also taped off the area to shape the new size of the design. Then with a 6-inch grinder (with vacuum attachment) he was able to grind the floor down to remove the existing faded logo. This was the longest part of the project.
Old logo to remove
Containment of area
After that he programmed the logo in the CNC PRO. He engraved the logo into concrete first to create placement for the metal inlay. Then Henry cut out the metal for the inlay. Finally Henry took the metal piece and used clear epoxy to secure it to the concrete to make it a virtual maintenance-free logo with a spectacular appearance.
Not one piece of furniture had to be removed and clean up was easy. Henry was able to give his customer what they wanted while keeping their show room clean. They were able to show off their new logo the very next day. The CNC PRO option was an easier option and cost the furniture company half of what it might have cost to replace the concrete. Henry did the job for $1,800 for only a few hours of work. A great win for both companies.
Slight clean up. Notice how close furniture is to the site and no dust on it.
Something to note, if you invest with a CNC PRO, please know we are available to help you troubleshoot challenges. We believe in top training and support with every machine, so everyone can succeed.
It is always great watching a company grow. It is even better when you get to be a part of their grand opening celebration to an expanded space. Congratulations to Select Surface Solutions for their growing success.
We want to welcome them as the newest members of the RedArt Technologies family as the premier South East Distributor of the CNC PRO.
Let’s talk about this great grand opening we got to experience. First, I want to mention the history of the Select Surface Solutions company. Located in Orlando Florida, they are a talented group of people that love what they do. They offer concrete supplies for restoring, resurfacing and sealing concrete driveways, sidewalks, foundations, walls, and commercial floors. Check out their website for more: Select Surface Solutions
The opportunity to show what the CNC PRO can do live is always great. To discover new limits is even better. Once at the show, Henry (owner of RedArt Technologies) found out what Christi (owner of Select Surface Solutions) needed a project done; Engraving the company logo out of acrylic. What was challenging was to make this a success he needed to create a mold.
Henry used a 1/8 tin acrylic bit and cut out the Select Surface Solutions logo. It was cut out of 1/4 blue acrylic and then he cut a 3-foot diameter clear acrylic border.
Then Henry was able to take that mold and he also made a concrete sign. The team has plenty of experience with using molds for concrete. One thing that was discovered was how easy it was to use the CNC PRO to cut out molds to the exact specifications needed, which is not easy to do. They used a release agent along the shape, poured the concrete and waited for it to cure. Within 24 hours that sign was ready and is now hanging out in front of the building.
making the mold
The open house celebration was a big success. Henry was able to demonstrate the CNC PRO on multiple surfaces in multiple applications. In addition, he got to see some training in decorative concrete and meet some other distributors in decorative concrete products.
Select Surface Solutions is the first official distributor of the CNC PRO. They will be servicing the lower south east area from Georgia to Louisiana. We look forward to watching this company grow.
If you are in Orlando Florida, you should stop in and say hi.
Some of our best responses are when we show metal engraving. Since people seem to really respond to it, we thought it would be a good blog post. We have had a lot of fun exploring with the different bits designed to work with metal. One project that has yielded attention is the one that Henry (CEO/founder of CNC PRO) did that was the RedArt R with wing logo.
So, let give you some tips:
Choose what kind of metal you want to carve. There is a difference between metals as some are softer than others. The CNC PRO is designed for soft metals such as aluminum, brass, and copper. It is designed for engraving when using metals (not for milling) because of its portability. In addition, you want to make sure you use the right bit and correct feed rate/speed so that you cut the material and don’t cause it to melt.
Tip: You can use a lubricant, like WD 40, to keep the bit cool while cutting and moving the material. When cutting metal, make certain that you have a flat surface. It will affect the depth of engraving and you will have to adjust the depth accordingly.
Choose a pattern. When considering a pattern, think about one that is simple and not too fine as you start out. As you practice using the CNC PRO you will learn bit by bit what you can do comfortably between the software and bits you use. What you will need to do is import the pattern into VCarve and work on programming the pattern (vectors and passes).
Choose a carving bit. You are looking for the right bit to achieve the engraving results. There are a lot of choices at your local hardware store to consider. One that is popular is a 90% V signage bit.
Check your program. We use VCarve for the pattern and Mach3 to run the machine. You want to make sure all the settings are correct. You also need to make sure you have you cut depth set right with material for diamond plate job thinness. We recommend you want to set cut passes, so you don’t plunge the full cut in one pass. Multiple passes are preferred.
Start Engraving. To start engraving you need to double check the physical set up and make sure your table and material are flat and secure. We do train on the steps which include Z axis set and you keep your eyes and ears on the machine at all time to avoid any problems.
One thing we like about metal as there are so many possibilities. We have found business owners love their logos carved in metal. Some will use those pieces as inlay in floors to help their logo stand out.
Work by Henry Ashcroft of RedArt Technologies
Work By Ralph Hansen
Work of Michael Wanco of Bolder Engraving
Justin Blankenship of Blankenship Concrete. Logo engraved by Henry Ashworth of RedArt Technologies
Work by Michael Wanco of Bolder Engraving
Metal engraving creates a lot of opportunities. Looks like scroll work and compass roses can be tricky and take some time to master by hand. Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE talented artists that engrave by hand. However, some people want that look now and not always have the patience to gain the skill. The CNC PRO can make that happen for those that don’t have the time to acquire that skill. That is a bonus to the software helping people do amazing projects that are in demand.