Awards & Engraving

November '18

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40 a-e-mag.com • A&E NOVEMBER 2018 Decorative sandcarving provides an easy, inexpensive method of personalizing a variety of surfaces, including glass, crystal, marble, stone, ceramic, wood, acrylic, metal, and many others. Before you dive in and select the different substrates you'd like to decorate, let's go over a quick refresher on the basic process. The substrates themselves offer opportunities for you to diversify your business, but it all means nothing if you don't understand the technical process. First, a photoresist stencil is applied to a sandcarvable object. Through the use of a sandcarving machine, a stream of pressurized abrasive is produced and directed over the stencil area. The abrasive strikes the object and erodes the surface in the "open" areas of the photoresist stencil, leaving a permanent impression. The balance of the stencil covers and protects the object, leaving those areas of the object untouched. Why is sandcarving a popular method of marking hundreds of surfaces? Entre- preneurs in the past have discovered that their sandcarving etching hobby is fun and profitable. Numerous engraving businesses began offering decorative etching to provide additional services to their valued customer base. Others turned to decorative sand- carving because it was the only way to etch high-resolution artwork with smooth, crisp results. But in general, most businesses add decorative etching simply to make money. CARVING OUT PROFIT How can one make money through decorative etching? Consider the following: Profitability can be measured in several ways, including return on investment (ROI), gross profit margin (GPM), and actual income (profit). At the root of profitability is the question, "How soon can I earn more money than I spent on the opportunity to earn it?" The answer to that question provides the logical rationale to either embrace an oppor- tunity or ignore it. While no business opportunity is without challenge, because of the inher- ently low-cost, decorative sandcarving offers a healthy profitability profile. Many businesses can pay for a complete system with just a few big jobs. Since numerous glass, ceramic, wood, and metal substrates are fairly low in cost, one will discover healthy profit margins once decorated or personalized through sandcarving. To make money, one needs to understand the sand- carving process. The process consists of applying an imaged stencil to a substrate and sandcarving the stenciled area with pressurized abrasive. The self-adhesive photoresist film process consists of simple steps resulting in a beauti- fully sandcarved finished project. Following, we look at the steps in more detail. FILM EXPOSURE Place the toner side of inkjet film (art- work) against the emulsion side of the pho- toresist film. A vacuum or compression frame should be used to assure firm contact of the inkjet film and the photoresist film during exposure. IMAGE DEVELOPMENT First note that image development and drying are not necessary with advanced dry processing photoresist films. Water processing photoresist film can be washed out at water temperatures up to 120 F at 50 to 1250 psi. Washout can range anywhere from 20 seconds to 2 min- utes depending on the thickness of the film By Michael Sullivan How the sandcarving process relates to substrates Making Money (and Having Fun) with Decorative Sandcarving Michael Sullivan is the marketing manager for IKONICS Corporation. He currently manages the Marketing Department for IKONICS Cor- poration divisions, including IKONICS Imaging, Chromaline Screen Print Products, IKONICS Advanced Materials Solutions, and IKONICS Industrial Inkjet Solutions. Entrepreneurs have discovered that their sandcarving etching hobby is fun and profitable. ALL IMAGES COURTESY MICHAEL SULLIVAN The substrates themselves offer opportunities for you to diversify your business, but it all means nothing if you don't understand the technical sandcarving process.

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