Awards & Engraving

February '19

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A&E FEBRUARY 2019 • a-e-mag.com 55 select. Ceramic tiles always give you a two-tone effect: the color of the glaze and the color of the ceramic exposed through the blasting. Color-filling is not necessary, but optional. Rough, uneven stones are our biggest challenge. We blast natural sandstones for a funeral home on a regular basis. These stones have to first be washed thoroughly, since the irregular surfaces hold a lot of dirt and dust, which in turn prevent stencils from sticking to them. After washing, the stone has to dry for quite a while to avoid "sweating" after the stencil application, which can result in lift-off during blasting. Since all photoresist has a stiff cover sheet on one side, it is not the best choice for this substrate. To blast these stones, we use a soft vinyl material that comes in a roll that we pre-cut with our plotters. Before plotters, we hand-cut the stencils from this material. This 11 mil-thick resist is soft and flexible, which allows it to adhere to uneven surfaces without a problem. The adhesive is also strong enough to stick to these porous surfaces for prolonged blasting to achieve depth. For these stones, I usually blast at 40-50 pounds of pressure while holding my nozzle about 10-12 inches away. METAL Flasks and other items made from metal are popular these days; they have a similar restriction in terms of blasting as acrylic. You can only achieve a surface frosting on these items, not because it will melt, but because it is hard enough to not allow for any depth. I suggest that when blasting any metal object, use the standard thickness of photore- sist and a blasting pressure setting of about 25 pounds of pressure. If depth is desired, you will have to switch to a rotary or laser engraver. I hope this gives you a general idea of how to deal with various substrates you may encounter along the way and be able to come away with successful products for your clients. © Ruth L Dobbins 2019 A&E The stone deeply blasted and color-filled with black paint. Sandcarving Black granite tile, deep blasted with 11 mil soft vinyl resist. It was blasted to two different depths and has color application. Natural stone, deep blasted with a pre-cut 11 mil stencil and color-filled. This heavy, natural stone slab has an irregular, porous surface. The 11 mil soft vinyl stencil is applied and peeled (weeded) out, ready for blasting.

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