Awards & Engraving

2018 Laser Engraving Report

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LER 2018 n 31 medium-sized runs and for producing seri- alized and variable data products. It's also a great way to chemically etch objects that would be difficult to process using dry film, which is typically restricted to flat items. SCREEN PRINTING, VINYL, UV-LED METHOD All Mimaki UV-LED flatbed printers are capable of printing an etching mask using UV inks, from the A3 format UJF- 3042MkII to the Grand Format JFX200- 2531. Cured UV-LED inks are acid-resis- tive, making them an effective alternative mask option. Digitally printing the art- work directly onto the material simplifies the etching process greatly. It is also pos- sible to use the printer to color infill the etched areas after etching. Screen printing is another option for chemical etching. There are a number of screen-printable etch resists available that can be printed directly onto the material to create the mask. This method is ideal for high-volume production and is widely used in the manufacture of industrial nameplates. Vinyl can also make excel- lent etch resist and is particularly useful for processing large pieces that are difficult to image by other means, although the amount of detail achievable is limited. FINAL THOUGHTS As with working with any chemical, it's always important to wear protective clothing and follow all handling guidelines. It's important to also dispose of any used chemical safely and in compliance with all local laws and regulations. The life span of the chemical bath is ultimately dependent on the amount of etching you do. Over time as metal is deposited into the solution, it will gradually lose its strength. Fresh chemical can be added to compen- sate for this. Typically you can expect to have to change the solution entirely every six to 12 months. As a good rule of thumb, you can expect to pay roughly the same to get your used chemical taken away as it cost to buy initially. Depending on the size of the room where you are carrying out your etching, you may also need to consider fume extraction. It's often said that etching is more of an art than a science, which is fitting as many of the techniques still in use today owe a debt to the pioneering work of the Dutch master Rembrandt. It's a rewarding and creative process with endless possibilities. Chemical etching is a great way to increase your range of products and services while utilizing the skills and equipment already at the heart of your business. LER • • 800.800.7711 ENGRAVING EQUIPMENT and Supplies PDU CAT is your one-stop source for engraving equipment and supplies. We've partnered with Gravograph to offer a full line of laser engraving and rotary engraving equipment. Whether you are just getting started or you're a well established business, we are here to help you find a solution that fits your needs.

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