While the engraving of rubber stamp dies is a relatively new technology, it is now a popular method of increasing laser productivity. A widespread number of dedicated stamp manufacturers have also installed CO2 laser engraving machines to make rubber stamps.
Traditional raw rubber used for vulcanising stamp dies is quite unacceptable for the production of laser stamp dies, as the laser process requires an even thickness and blemish free surface to produce an acceptable printed image from a stamp die.
The rubber can be subjected to a specific curing process before it can be engraved with the elevated temperature of a laser beam.
The depth of the engraving is determined by the laser speed, its wattage and the density of the rubber.
For example, a 50 or 100W engraver will engrave the rubber deeper and faster than a 25W machine, which may require a second pass to achieve a similar result.
Usually supplied in an A4 size sheet form, a good quality laser rubber is mandatory for engraving stamp dies and can have suitable compression strength and ink transfer properties.
To facilitate the engraving process, it is necessary to remove the excess dust constantly created by the laser cutting action with an efficient exhaust filtration system.
As few, if any, CO2 laser engraving machines were initially purpose built for engraving and cutting rubber, installing and maintaining an effective dust extraction system pays long term dividends.
Mirrors, lenses and any exposed bearing surfaces should be cleaned thoroughly as part of a regular maintenance program, as the build up of dust and residue will affect operational efficiency and the quality of the stamp die.
Coral Draw is a general purpose software package that is commonly used for engraving stamp dies by many Australian stamp manufacturers, and is compatible with several laser software drivers.
There are also other rubber stamp software programs designed for specific makes of laser engravers.
For some years now, Melbourne based Astron Industries has supplied rubber stamp manufacturers with high quality laser rubber and stamp mounts.