New Tools. New Way of Working

Earlier this year, I made the decision to get a laser engraver after considering it for some time. Although I didn’t necessarily have a pressing need for one, I believed it could broaden the range of services and capabilities my shop could offer. Initially, I had reservations about purchasing a laser engraver due to my experiences with the steep learning curve associated with the CNC machine. However, after researching online, I discover that laser engravers could have a faster learning curve.

The machine arrived and some assembly was required. But once it was assembled that’s where I felt like a fish out of water, and a helpless feeling overcame me. In the past, if I had a new power tool in my shop I just had to give it a quick glance over. I could see the on/off, up/down, left/right, and then it was time to go to work. But when I assembled the machine, there was none of that. I learned I had to hook it to a laptop. And once I did that I thought I would see something. Honestly, I’m not sure what I expected to see. Maybe I thought, once again, I would see some simple buttons or commands to make it start working. But this wasn’t the case. On the contrary, I had a completely different situation in front of me.

In order to make the machine do something I have to load a software program to be able to give the machine some simple commands. Learning this software required some time and effort. But even then, I only could make it do some simple commands. If I wanted to make my own designs I had to find another program that gave me the ability to create my own unique look. But again, this was hours of learning. And it’s an ongoing learning process. 

So what is my overall takeaway with this new machine? Well, I found it’s not really the machine I need to learn, it’s the technology. The CNC, a laser engraver, and a 3D printer all use similar technology. The machine is really just a small part of the equation. Learning which software to use, how to use the software, how to design in the software, and then learning to make adjustments to the machine is what it takes to operate these new-age tools.

These new types of tools fascinate me, but on the same hand, they also frustrate me. I have to learn and accept that it’s going to require a lot more time and effort to learn to master these machines. I have to set time aside to study, practice, and stay updated on the latest technology. I do believe the technology will get easier to use in the future but it’s still going to require staying up to date with what is currently going on and what is coming down the road.

With thesis new tools I’m learning I have to adjust my thinking and views. I recall growing up as a kid I always hated and feared change, but now I am seeing that not only change and be interesting, but it’s also unavoidable. In the end, it’s important to be ready for change and try to embrace it as much as possible in life.

If you would like to see my experience with the Laser Engraving Machine Click here for the video

Chad Stanton- Owner of Stanton Fine Furniture 4-30-2023

2 Responses

  1. I feel your pain, even though I am an old codger my career was spent in tech and I am better at learning how to use a laser engraver than I am at learning all the intricates of hand tool woodworking.

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