Welcome to Hawkshead metal, about our company.
Metal in the Lake District.
Hawkshead metal (Laser Factory Ltd) is a laser cutting company based in the Lake District, Cumbria. All our products are designed and produced here. Among the peaceful hills with the odd ball of wool trotting around the lakeland hills, we're buzzing away creating things we feel are special.
I spotted a stainless steel key-ring someone had made on my social media and I thought it looked amazing. Almost immediately I thought, well how hard could it be to make those myself?
After a few evenings of slightly over ambitious hunting on the internet I decided that I could just about afford a CNC Plasma machine. This particular machine was an air plasma and it uses compressed air and electricity to make an incredibly hot plasma cutting arc that moves over the metal plate.
6 weeks later and the new machine was installed in my Barn section a little bigger than a single garage and ready to run. It quickly became clear that an air plasma does not cut quite fine enough to make key-rings and I should have done a few more days research! And as a result new projects were born.
The first item I needed was a drain cover for a down pipe cover on the old house I lived in. Nothing was available in the size I needed (12.5" x 11.9") so I cut one myself. Spray painted it with Black Hammerite paint and thought I may as well list them on eBay. Within an hour we sold one, and I panicked as the paint wasn't even dry yet in the make shift spray painting "zone".
We've not looked back since. Then a few days later I started designing and cutting some metal wall art which also started to fly off the shelves faster than expected.
We very soon had to move to a larger industrial premises and the closest destination available at the time was in the west Cumbrian coastal town of Millom. This is now where we produce all of our products and house our machinery. Millom has a long history of metal works and although the Iron works are now gone we feel like we've ended up in the right spot.
In a blink of an eye there were simply not enough hours in the day and we started adding the incredible staff and had to hang up the one man band hat. The team has only got stronger over the years, and everyone enjoys the process of bringing our creations to life. And I have to admit it's true that often someone else can do something better than you can yourself, even if it was a little daunting handing over control of parts of the process to someone else.
Eventually we bought with the help of a good friend and new business partner our first laser and a much chunkier HD XPR Plasma cutter. This now allowed us to cut the keyrings that started our journey as well as improving the cut quality of all our metal art work.
The next step was to escape from the mess and hassle of wet painting our products. We installed a powder coating booth, spray gun and oven. This gives us a better finish, and a huge variety of finishes too. But the biggest advantage, we can now paint and ship items the same day, instead of waiting for a week or two for the wet paint to be dry enough.
A few years passed of non stop ideas and projects before we upgraded to a powerful laser and we were finally plasma free in 2020.
Our laser cutters offer by far the best cut, and the machine we now use was an unimaginable dream back in 2014.
Finally in 2021 we expanded into Jewellery with the addition of some special polishing machines, and a ultra fine laser cutter & engraver for the jewellery. It can only cut up to 154mm x 154mm in size but offers really incredible cut quality and detail. We've started making exciting new products here and so far everything we've been offering has again caught us out by selling quicker than we thought they might. At least we're kept on our toes!
As it stands today we've learnt an awful lot and know how to extract great products, art, projects, customers parts from a sheet of metal with ease.
Our quality, tolerances and repeatability are excellent, and we're excited to work for either a one off part or a bulk order of thousands of items.
Please click here to view more information about our machines and what we can create.