Ultimate Guide to Engraving Water Bottles, Mugs, Cups and Glasses
In today’s post-Covid economy, most of us need to do more when it comes to making a little something extra. With accessibility to platforms like Etsy, Ebay and Squarespace, small businesses face lots of competition, and the smart move is to have something that appeals to everyone. Expanding your overall product portfolio can do wonders for sales.
Laser Engraving Cylindrical Objects
If you are already laser engraving objects to create unique products, bottle engraving might be the next step in helping your business grow. You might not even have a business yet, but with OMTech, your weekend hobby could become a lucrative business and generate high ROI.
If you can engrave cylindrical objects, you can customize some awesome things. You can do tumbler engravings that mark a special occasion — for example, creating special gifts for a wedding party. Or you can do mug engravings where you use sentimental quotes to make them special. The only limit is your imagination.
Of course, you will need the right tools for the job. Your CO2 laser machine alone won’t be enough to make these unique products. You will need to add a rotary attachment to your laser engraver. This is because a CO2 laser is made to engrave on flat materials. The laser has a specific focal distance, making it ideal for firing straight down. If you do this on a curved object, your design will not come out as planned. Instead, you will get a distorted picture.
You can fix this issue by adding a rotary attachment, which will allow the machine to rotate the object as you engrave, creating a much better picture in the end.
Different Types of Rotary Attachments
Just as there are different types of laser engravers for different jobs, there are also different rotary attachments that work better for certain types of engravings. Looking at each one in more detail can give you a better understanding of which would better fit your engraving needs.
Chuck Style Rotary Attachment
The chuck style or jaw chuck rotary is a rotary attachment that will give you the best accuracy when engraving. They normally have two sets of jaws, one to grip your cylindrical object on the inside and the other to grip it outside. That means that the object is held in place securely and would not slip.
This is great for precision work. You can also engrave at higher speeds, since you don’t need to worry about slippage. You do have to keep in mind that the jaws can have a really powerful grip. Engraving on delicate materials like glass might not be the best idea with this attachment, since it could smash your champagne flute or glass.
It can also be a bit bulkier and take time to detach the objects and reattach a new one. This can slow down the process if you are engraving many products at once.
Roller Style Rotary Attachment
This type of attachment is versatile and simple to use. The roller-style rotary attachment is made with two long rollers that rotate the object you are engraving and hold it in place. If you are engraving a simple cylindrical object, this is great since it is very easy to set up. It is quick to replace the objects that are being engraved.
But if you are engraving anything with a handle or irregular shaped objects, this positioning can become more difficult. You will need to be more precautious when setting up your object. This is also a design that is reliant on the friction between the roller and the object that you are engraving, and that may sometimes lead to slippage. It is not recommended that you perform a second pass of the laser with this attachment.
Four-Wheel Rotary Attachment
This one is similar to the roller style in that it also has a roller, but it has four wheels. This means that the four-wheel rotary attachment will allow you to hold objects that are more diversely shaped than just a normal round cup. For example, bottles with bigger bases than spouts can be held with this rotary attachment.
One of the biggest issues with this type of attachment is that the jaws are made of steel, so it can scratch some objects. Placing some heat-shrink tubing over the jaw will easily fix that.
After you've picked out and purchased the right rotary attachment for you and your business, it is time to set up your system. OMTech gives you lots of resources that can help you set up your new attachment. If you run into trouble, feel free to drop us an email, we are always here to support you and walk you through the process.
How To Set Up the Rotary Attachment
Getting the correct setup is the first step to successful engraving. It is relatively simple if you follow these steps:
- Lower the laser engraving bed to its lowest point for the rotary to fit.
- Place the attachment on the laser engraver work bed with the chuck on the right.
- Square it to the edge of the bed. This position will ensure correct angles.
- Take the round plug from the rotary device and connect it to the socket inside the laser engraver cabinet.
- Make sure the laser is off, then open the electronics cabinet, which can be found on the right of the engraver.
- Find the loose green connector and the same connector on the Y-axis controller.
- Replace this and close the cabinet.
And you are done setting up. It is important to test the rotary before you begin, but this can only be done once your software has been correctly set up.
Incorporating Rotary into Lightburn Software
Your Lightburn software needs to adapt to the fact that the laser is now using a rotary attachment. Do this in a few simple steps:
- Open your Lightburn program and find the Tools menu.
- Click on Rotary Setup.
- Select the type of rotary you are using, such as “Roller rotary.”
- Select Enable Rotary.
Your system is now aware that the machine is using a rotary attachment, and it will adapt to this. After this step, check your system to ensure all measurements are accurate and the angle of the rotary is correct.
Materials to Engrave
Materials you can engrave on include stainless steel, leather, wood, and glass. But for most cylindrical objects, glass and stainless steel are the most common. Different materials require different settings and considerations.
Start Engraving Bottles, Mugs, Cups, and Glasses Today
Getting ready for your journey to create incredibly unique designs on round objects? Then contact OMTech today to find out about the great products that we can offer you. When you buy from us, you don’t just buy a machine, you get a great community along with it. We are here to answer any questions you could have and to help you get the perfect machines and accessories for your laser engraving needs.