History of how we started

Laser research

It took about two months of researching laser machines; we looked at capabilities, costs, accessories, features, support and customer comments. There are three prominent companies we looked at first, Epilog Laser, Universal Laser, and LaserPro. Then we went to Global Sources and did a search for manufacturers and exporters from China that handle laser machines.

Global Sources introduced us to many companies in Asia that wanted to do business with us, but due to communications issues, and personal fear of after sale support we always gave more weight to the local American companies. There are many people who have purchased machines from China and are very happy. You can read their comments on one of the sites mentioned below.

Another avenue of research was customer comments, there are two great web sites that provide unbiased message forums for laser owners to discuss their equipment, business, and hobbies. One is Sawmill Creek and the other is CNC Zone.

YouTube and other video sites also provided a wealth of information, it's great to see actual machines in action by end users and not just manufacturers.

In the end the decision came down not to cost but features, customer support, warranty and comments by past and present owners. Buying an American machine from Epilog Laser, or Universal Laser will cost several thousand dollars more, but it provides peace of mind.

Company type decision

So we spend $15,000 on a new laser, is there any benefits to Incorporating, creating a Sole Proprietorship with DBA, LLC, or just buying it for home use?

For tax reasons its better to buy the laser as a business expense, for legal protection it is best to Incorporate also.

We decided to go with the Sole Proprietorship and negate the legal protection by only laser engraving expensive items for friends and family. We are also going to skip our idea of doing a Kiosk where people will be close to the equipment. Murphy's law tells me someone somewhere wants a laser tattoo and will be dumb enough to try it. If we get to many requests for expensive items, or find this turning into a part-time business, then we will seek legal help and form a Corporation. Until then it's just a fun hobby for our family.

Company name

Obviously we wanted to include the word 'laser' in our DBA (doing business as) business name. I was partial to things like, “Tinker Town”, “Laser Forge”, “Open Laser Fab”. My wife was partial to using words to describe creativity and unique crafts. In the end we opted to choose “Phoenix Laser
Engraving”, simple and straight to the point.

Company logo

Once we had a company name, we needed a logo. I am not an artist and neither is my wife, so we searched the web for public domain, and other free images. We came across a picture of a Phoenix Bird somewhere that linked us to a website called Fotolia. One thing led to another and after three days of discussing less than ten possible images, we picked a black and white raster image that cost us $8.00 for the legal rights. I pulled the image into Inkscape to touch it up a little, and add out company name. Then moved in over to Blender to make a 3D animation that we can incorporate at the beginning of our YouTube video posts.

The criteria of the company logo was:

  1. Had to look good in black and white

  2. Had to be a vector or capable of being converted within legal rights

  3. Affordable

  4. Had to look good when Laser Cut or Engraved

Why buy a laser

For years I have been into free energy also know as zero-point energy. I know there is no such thing as 'Free', but there are ways of converting one form of matter into another, or one form of energy into another. I am at the point in my hobby where I need a way to build precise things, and what could be more fun than using a laser to fabricate what I need. At the same time my wife can use it for hobby and craft projects and possibly make some money.