Awards & Engraving

October '18

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56 a-e-mag.com • A&E OCTOBER 2018 ETCH MASTERS by Ruth Dobbins With over 40 years in the glass busi- ness, Ruth Dobbins offers experi- ence in all glass-etching techniques as well as in fused and cast glass. Ruth holds a Master's Degree in Art and has been a partner in an art glass wholesale supply and studio company in Europe, which also placed great emphasis on a training program, before joining forces with Norm. You can reach Ruth by email at ruth@etchmaster.com, or by phone at 505-473-9203. In my last article (September issue, page 60), I covered the importance of good art- work, which is at the heart of the matter. If the artwork is of poor quality, then every step after the printing will be a further deteriora- tion: an "iffy" photoresist mask, which will undoubtedly lead to a poor blasting result. The two major issues you may encounter are under- or overexposure. Before delving into that, I want to briefly go over the basic process of exposing your photoresist film. BASIC EXPOSURE PROCEDURE Common to all photoresist films are a couple of facts: you should work under yellow light/safe light conditions, and you need an exposure unit. For most of you that means the use of a small unit commonly referred to as the Letralite. The exposure light uses an ultraviolet light tube to expose photoresist film to the artwork created. The lightbulb is surrounded by an acrylic cylinder that sits a few inches above the bulb, assuring equal distance to the light source no matter where you place your film. The cylinder is covered by a stretchy black blanket that makes optimum contact possible between the artwork/film sandwich placed on the cylinder. It is absolutely nec- essary to place the artwork/film sandwich onto the cylinder in a specific way: first, the printed side of the artwork needs to face the emulsion side of the photoresist. Once you have that sequence correct, you need to make sure that the backside of the art- work faces the exposure light. If you reverse either of these two steps, you will not get an exposure. I just completed a series of articles outlining how to get started in abrasive blasting, or as some call it, sandcarving. Assuming that you have gone through the process of getting set up for this line of work, you may have already encountered a few hiccups along the way. There are a number of snags you can run into, beginning with equipment issues to not being able to get the best results from your stencil making, to failures while blasting. Some of these problems (with the exception of equipment problems) are directly related to the stencil-making process, and as much as you want to put the blame on the photoresist film, it most often is operator failure to accurately complete the steps. The Importance of Correct Photoresist Processing Placing the printed artwork onto the film and loading both into the exposure unit. IMAGE COURTESY RUTH DOBBINS … And what happens if you do not follow instructions

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