Grow Your Opportunities

As we draw close to Thanksgiving, we are RedArt Technologies have a lot to be thankful for. This year has been a great one as we have watched a few CNC PRO owners develop businesses they are proud of as well as grow the possibilities of what this machine can do.

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Henry Ashworth, founder of RedArt Technologies

This week we want to talk about how to take an opportunity and grow it. We have seen it a few times with some of the CNC PRO owners and thought it would make a great conversation for others. After all, making sure everyone is a success is one of the goals of RedArt Technologies.

Whenever you start a job, it always smart to look around and talk to people about other needs to the project. If you get a job engraving one surface, talk about the other surfaces you can work on.

Concrete

One area we see a lot of interest is in concrete engraving. We have talked to a few contractors in vertical markets that found the CNC PRO interesting. One of these verticals has been the concrete market. Once we had a company that was doing a pour that said they also did finishes say that they have been approached by clients wanting more that stamps and color. There are corporations investing in branding and want their logos engraved. There are also the home owners that are getting new patios wanting to engrave family crests or designs.

Beyond that, we encourage our owners talk about the long-lasting affects engraving has over a painted-on piece. We have found you can engrave a design, then fill it in with epoxy to get the same effect as something painted on but last much longer.

Boulders and Beyond

We have seen some owners of custom making bolder signs have challenges with engraving rocks vertically. Happy to say they have been seeing a lot of success using the CNC PRO to engrave on these uneven surfaces both vertically as well as horizontal. We have been watching Scott Sanford and Jenny Andrews of Sanford & Sons Lawncare and Landscaping, Inc work hard growing their skills and growing fast.

Beyond this, there are a lot of parks that could appreciate portable engraving services as it means that person could engrave markers and signs through the park. Making that pitch to engrave on walking paths to show people where to go, distance markers, and other signs is a great way to let them know a long last solution worth the investment.

Schools, Zoos and Other Public Areas

It is amazing when you see a community invest. Lately we have seen a few companies take a chance showing what they can engrave and watch it spread like wild fire to other areas. It seems schools are interested in engraving services. Ralph Hansen of Endless Engraving  is one that found success going department to department as he was engraving sidewalks for a university.

Another project we are proud of is the periodic table as done by Brett Hargoder of  Stonewall Architectural Concrete. This school project was even featured on the school’s social media. As this project became popular, other CNC PRO owners started pitching their public spaces like parks and school and found their own opportunities.

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Photo Credit: Brett Hargoder

The Zoo was also a good growing project to mention. It started as a need to engrave names of donors to the Zoo. Once they could see what the CNC PRO could do is a short time, the bid opened to include other surfaces like a sign to greet people to the Zoo.

Metal Inlays

Henry Ashworth of RedArt Technologies can tell you first-hand how excited clients can get when they realize the CNC PRO can engrave metals. He has been able to up his game offering metal inlays when it comes to company logos. Of course, other CNC PRO owners have had success working with metal which proves you can do more when you choose to talk about other materials to engrave.

We have seen CNC PRO owners like Brody Cummings of A&B Custom Engraving grow his skills cutting aluminum. On one job he make the most of his engravings with making two signs with one piece.

Wood

This material is huge with opportunities. There are a lot of engravers out there that can work with wood. Why would you want to buy additional engravers when you can have the one that does multiple surfaces including wood? One cool project we noticed was seeing one of our CNC PRO owners, Cole Wilmes of  Custom Engraving Concepts get a project engraving tables custom furniture makers Bearded Brand Custom Furniture for Lost Pizza.

Engraving business signs is always a popular choice, but what of a menu? Michael Wanco of Bolder Engraving did that recently. RedArt Technologies appreciates it when we see one of our own be so creative and how some of these clients enjoy having something that stands them apart.

What else has been fun is making Corn Hole boards. A couple CNC PRO owners have found success making a little side money custom making these fun boards. I’m sure there are other applications someone could do with cooperate logos as side up-sells.

Outside of the Box

We have been pleasantly surprised to see some of the CNC PRO owners go outside of the box to show other possibilities. One of which is Michael Wanco of Bolder Engravings that engraves on coolers, leather and other materials.

Another one that worked outside of the box was Christi Tamayo of Select Surface Solutions. She found a niche in making custom stamps.

It goes to show there are many applications uses for the CNC PRO. When we mention the opportunities are unlimited in this growing niche market, we mean it. Our CNC PRO owners are showing us everyday there is another way to grow opportunities.

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Engraving over Blasting

We know there are a lot of experienced contractors out there still doing shot or abrasive blasting who wonder, “Is there another way to get designs on these hard surfaces?” (concrete, rock, etc). Why yes, that helped inspire the CNC PRO.

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Lets first examine what is Blasting.

For the Shot Blasting definition: it is a machine that projects many small steel balls towards the surface of the floor and this way crush the surface. For the Abrasive Blasting definition: abrasive material and the surface being blasted may contain toxic materials (e.g., lead paint, silica) that are hazardous to workers. Either way the machine is using compressed air or water to clean, add texture or prepare a surface.

Here is the OSHA Fact sheet on the subject: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3697.pdf

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If that sounds kind of dangerous, well it is. Environmentally it is dangerous and many countries are starting to ban it. In the US, OSHA (Occupation Safety and Health Administration) is very concerned over the health risks of Shot/Abrasive Blasting. The publication link in the prior paragraph talks of the health risks as well as some recommendations to make it safer. The list is very long that includes isolation, containment and ventilation.

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To be safe people doing shot blasting need to wear all sorts of personal protective equipment. As you may imagine, this can be costly as well as uncomfortable. Plus, people are getting hurt. See this report by the US Department of Labor on accidents with Sandblasting: https://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/AccidentSearch.search?acc_keyword=%22Sandblasting%22&keyword_list=on

Plus, the prep work can be on the heavy side. Since the operator of the equipment needs to always be aware of what they are doing. If there is a pattern needed, they first need to mark out the design then manually aim the nozzle to where they are blasting. The clean up is not always fun either.

Sandblasting

So yes, many companies and contractors are looking for alternatives to this old method. This is where the CNC PRO comes in. Engraving instead of blasting.

CNC Engraving Machine definition: cutting or carving into a surface. It uses a CNC router and a bit to drill into the surface. There fore no flying material, no blasting. The amount of dust is minimal and can be vacuumed while working. Another advantage is the design you would want to make can be programmed into software the machine uses, making a very precise final product. The CNC machine will control the cuts while the operator observes.

To recap, its safer (no blasting), its cleaner (no flying debris), it is more precise (computer controlled design), and it’s easier.

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Many of the CNC machines out there seem bulky and stationary. This is what helps set the CNC PRO apart is that it is a completely portable CNC engraving system.

To ensure transportation is done safely, it comes with a military grade carrying case.

The CNC PRO has a lot of versatility, and can do a lot of the same jobs as blasting. It can engrave vertically as well as horizontally. We have seen a lot of success lately with people needing to engrave on boulders. What is amazing is it can also scale to any size job.

Portable also means the CNC PRO can work inside or outside. This is something to note as we have seen people have success engraving logos indoors as well as engraving in public spaces outdoors. You can work this machine in public places like schools and a few of our owners have done this and not had to worry about the safety of people nearby.

Control the dust is easy with the CNC PRO. There are attachments you can place on the machine that allow your vacuum to suck up the dust while it is engraving. This is very helpful as it cleans while it cuts. We also have an owner that created a closed in work space he calls the “engraving box”. Just so happens he had a job that needed some custom pavers made but it needed to be indoors and could not have the dust blowing out. It was a clever solution to create this box. In turn, it proves that the CNC PRO can accommodate many working conditions.

Ralph Hansen of Endless Engravings

Many who have purchased the CNC PRO remark how easy it was for them after they had the training given by RedArt Technologies. They are able to program their designs, set up the machine, then engrave. Once the machine is doing the work, the operator can then multi-task with other work needs. We recommend you to be by the machine while the engraving is going on but you can also work on your paperwork, take calls, keep moving your business forward.

Scott Sanford and Jenny Andrews of Boulder Designs by Sanford and Sons Lawncare

Engraving is the better alternative to blasting. It is cleaner, safer and easier in the long run. You still produce beautiful work at half the stress.

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.

Router

 

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.