One of Jimani’s job shop customers is Miguel Figueroa of Figueroa’s Machining. They are located about 3 hours north of Jimani and, although their work with Jimani is regular, they are not one of our larger volume customers. A few weeks ago Miguel brought in an unusual looking item and wanted to inquire about some laser engraving on it. The item look like an intricate lantern with unusual shapes and hole patterns in it.
Miguel informed us that this was to be a special gift for his 8 year old grandson. His grandson had expressed a fascination with some of the machined parts from Miguel’s business and this gift was not only representative of Miguel’s machining skills, each section of the item had some special significance.
Some of the requested engraving was a little different than what we normally do. Aside from some fairly simple text, he wanted photographic representations on different parts of the lantern. Laser engraving photographs might sound simple but the original photograph and the substrate that it is to be engraved on have everything to do with the quality of the finished product. Further, since neither 1064 nm lasers or the substrates on the lantern lend themselves to true grayscale marking, the photos would have to be engraved using one of the dithering schemes for raster images that are available in Prolase software.
Having only a single part to work with, we had to find similar substrate material to use in order to develop laser settings for the final product. The original photographs themselves were an issue and it took several hours in Photoshop to edit and then render them in a final, useful form. Miguel made a few trips to Jimani to look at sample marks on test substrates before he approved marking on his part. During those trips we had the opportunity to talk about the part and the significance that he hoped it would have for his grandson. Those were pretty emotional conversations and it was obvious how much love Miguel felt for his grandson.
Maria, my wife, had taken charge of this project from the beginning and was doing it all herself, including the final engraving. I had questioned her several times about the amount of time she had been spending on the project. She told me that in her discussions with Miguel, he had never brought up the issue of cost. This was to be a time and materials project. After Miguel left Jimani from one of his visits, Maria went back to work on some final changes. She made the changes, marked the real item and then called Miguel in order to make arrangements to pick up the part. As she and I discussed how we were going to handle the charges, we both had the same suggestion. Don’t charge anything. The gratification of participating in something that was so genuine and heartwarming was sufficient.
Total Charges- $0
Total Gratification- Immeasurable