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Old 08-26-2013, 10:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
sseamen's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Huntsville, AL, USA
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Default Laser Inlay Pen Kits

Over the past year or so I have bought several Laser Inlay pen kits, some of them online and some from Woodcraft (where I can actualy see the pieces before I begin). Some of them have been a bit tough, because of the tiny pieces and my big fumbly fingers, but with a sore tongue from biting and a sore back from bending over to find the *%&^#$ little pieces that just took wings, I made it thru. I've done an eagle, a space shuttle, and some simpler pieces.

Last weekend I tackled some more kits I've had for a while. I did another space shuttle, a musical notes (first time) and some pink cancer ribbon kits, all from Woodcraft and, man! if this had happened the first time I'd never have made anymore laser inlay kits.

In the past, the pieces have been a tight fit. I've had to break them (as shown in the instructions) and I've had to roll the blank on the table to get the pieces to crunch down into the cutout, but it has always worked.

This time it's not been fun.

The space shuttle pieces did NOT fit. I ended up having to use an Exacto knife on the cut outs to get the first pieces (fuel tanks and shuttle body) to fit 'up' towards the top of the blank to fit into the cutout for their tips so they leave room for the later pieces (flame and tail fin). Some of the smaller pieces (black outline around the body, orange smoke or flames) just crumbled and had to be glued into place in small bits.

When I did the musical notes kit, several of the smaller pieces crumbled, and when I tried to 'roll' the blank to get the G clef into the cutout, the body itself crumbled where the stave lines had been cut to represent the staff. I think there is almost more CA holding tiny pieces of that blank together than there is on it for a finish.

Even the cancer ribbons seemed too big for the cutouts. I was able to roll them into the cutouts but every single one popped out when I tried to turn them on the lathe. Looking at the blanks after the popout, I was able to see that the glue on the tube had never touched the inner surface of the ribbons. Apparently they were not 'down' enough. I was able to CA them back in, I was eventually able to turn everything and it all looks good, but *&#%$@, what a pain.

I'm wondering what caused the problems. As I say, I've had good inlay kits from Woodcraft before. I guess Woodcraft might have changed their source of supply for laser inlay kits and not gotten the same quality, I hope not though.

I've had the kits in my workshop for several weeks, some even longer. Alabama has been suffering from high humidity for a while now. My workshop is in the house central air and I also have a dehum, set for 50%, (that runs almost constantly lately) in the workshop. Still, I wonder if the kit pieces could have absorbed humidity and swollen enough to cause the problems?

Do I need to stay away from Woodcraft kits, put any laser inlay kits in the dehydrator for a couple of days before I start them, or just stay away from laser inlay kits?
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It's the kit. Get better quality ones.
Anyone can COPY, it takes a *TRUE ARTIST* to CREATE

-- In times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.

Design your own Polymer Clay Pen Blanks by Toni, Detailed 'CA' Article
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Old 08-26-2013, 11:15 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Ken Nelson at Kallenshaan Woods makes excellent kits. He was the "founder" of this industry and continues to make kits as his exclusive means of support--his son also works with him--I believe laser kits are HIS sole means of support also.

If you have a problem with one of his kits, he is quick to assist and send parts, if needed. So, don't give up on lasers, just take a few minutes to peruse his site or ours to see which ones Ken made!!

Ed Brown
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Old 08-26-2013, 11:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I had mixed results myself. The first one I did was the Stars & Stripes. I had so much fun with it, I decided to try a few others. Some were very frustrating, I decided I had my fill. I also had color consistency issues with the flag kits.

So who makes/sell good kits?
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Old 08-26-2013, 11:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Ken is the man no question about it!
Jim Fitzpatrick
Middletown, PA via The Coal Region
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I got stuff from Ken Nelson at Kallenshaan Woods and never had any problems. Great products and very nice to deal with.
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have done both Kallenshaan kits and Woodcraft Kits.

Not only are the Kallenshaan kits superior, Ken's service is outstanding. As an example, I have put together several of his puzzle kits. That kit has to be one of the most challenging out there, in my opinion. If you break off a puzzle "ear" just notify Ken and he has replaced it. If you have a rush order on laser engraving, he has always come through. Great place to give your patronage.

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Old 08-26-2013, 12:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have put 12 of these together. In one instruction it said use soapy water on the parts. I let them soak a little and they went in a lot easier. I now use it on all my parts. It seemed to let them slide in easier other wise they were sticky. I only saw this on one kit and I can't remember where they came from. I buy from all vendors.
Have fun and if not Pretend
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by edstreet View Post
It's the kit. Get better quality ones.

And where might that be?
Rick Beckham
Belton, TX
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Besides Ken's excellent laser kits, I've also made a lot of Constant's kits ( and have had great results with them as well. After a failed stars & stories attempt a couple years ago I learned to dip all of the parts in warm water during assembly. They go together MUCH easier when softened by the water on the surface.

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