Before you commission a custom order from a laser-goods business, here are five questions that are important for you to ask:
1. Do they operate a hobby laser or a professional-grade laser? Did you know there are two grades of CO2 machines? Hobby lasers have become extremely affordable, meaning that a lot of hobbyists are acquiring them. These machines are typically small enough to fit on a desktop and are meant for clients to create personal projects. Professional machines, on the other hand, are typically larger and produce a higher quality of work at a quicker speed.
2. Do they utilize a fume extractor or duct their machine outside? Because fume extractors are often more expensive than the lasers themselves, some operators merely duct their machine outside. Just because this is currently legal does not make it safe! Below is a look at what our fume extractor captured in our shop over the course of one month (a slow month at that!). We utilize four stages of filtration, including carbon filters and a HEPA filter, to clean and recirculate the air in our work space. At Alight Custom, we believe that clean air is important, not just for ourselves, but for the environment.
To the left of each photo you can see a clean filter vs those that have been used for one month on the right.
We service our machines weekly to keep them at their peak performance.
4. Can they accommodate the size and volume of your project? If you are ordering a 48" sign with small letters attached, this CAN be achieved with a small machine. After all, you just need to cut the letters and attach them to the large board. However, lining up all of the text can be very difficult and I can't tell you how many times I've seen off-centered work in other companies’ photos (or my own photos from when I first started out).
Our laser bed has a working space of 48"x36". This means that we can engrave the 48" back piece of wood with the precise location where each individual letter needs to be attached. You won't see these marks, but they ensure that the pieces we produce match the digital proofs we send you!
You may be asking, "With a 48"x36" working space, how do we make the six-foot-tall rulers and eight-foot-plus signs we make?" Easy! We have a pass-through door that allows us to accommodate the larger pieces; we just have to engrave them in a few stages.
As for volume, we accept orders for individual pieces, as well as deliver orders comprised of several hundreds of pieces! Having a large laser bed allows us to process bulk orders with ease.
You can't see the guidelines we engraved onto the back board, but they ensure that every letter is properly aligned when we attach them.
5. Do they have a picture portfolio and current reviews? It is important to see how much experience a laser business has and if they have a good reputation for producing quality work on time. In addition to our website you can see more of our work on facebook and instagram. You can also read reviews of our business on google and on facebook.
Sub question (and I can't believe I have to say this): are the photos they share of their own work? We recently saw a laser hobbyist post a piece that we recognized as part of their portfolio when trying to gain business from a potential new client. Sadly, they are still sharing the same photo and claiming the work as their own, even after the actual artist asked them to take it down. The funny part (or sad depending on how you look at it) is that the piece they are claiming is their work clearly wasn't laser made but was rather made with a CNC mill. (The edges of the letters gave them away.)
This is just a small glimpse into what we can make. From small ornaments up to an eight-foot bear, we offer something for every budget at Alight Custom!
BONUS QUESTION (TO ASK YOURSELF): Do you jive with the person you're looking to hire? There are a lot of companies that can engrave your logo onto merchandise, but at Alight Custom, we do a lot more than that! Clients frequently send us a photo of their space with a general idea for a piece that they want made, or they will send us a budget and explain that they need a certain quantity of branded items for a show. Whatever you need, we love to bring your ideas to life! We always send digital proofs before we make anything to ensure that your final design is absolutely perfect! Then, as we work, we put love into every piece we make.
Asking these simple questions can help determine if the company you are looking to hire is the right fit for you! Do you have anything you think we should add to this list? Is there anything you want us to cover in our next blog post? Comments are welcome (and appreciated!)
~Your Laser Babe (aka Brittany Perrotto)
Are you looking for a Laser Goods Business to complete your next project? We would love to give you a quote! Contact Us.