Sign & Digital Graphics

Start Here October '19

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74 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 1 9 Sandcarving social media groups for support, knowledge, and networking opportunities, Jones says. Many trade shows, such as THE NBM SHOW, also provide sandcarving training sessions that help the new user learn everything necessary to get up and running. In the beginning, Haas recommends that those new to sand- carving start with etching on glass, crystal, or stone and stick with simple line art or text rather than detailed photos. While acrylic is compatible with sandcarving, Haas doesn't recommend it for beginners because it scratches easily and doesn't etch as deeply as other materials. And, of course, Jones emphasizes the need for plenty of prac- tice. While sandcarving doesn't take long to become proficient, daily practice goes a long way in helping those new to the tech- nology feel comfortable with the process. "When you're new to sandcarving, take your time, slow down, and practice, practice, practice," Jones says. "Avoid sand- carving on complex curves, like a wine glass, or using extremely high-detailed artwork as we do not want sandcarvers to get dis- couraged if they make mistakes. Most anything is possible with sandcarving; however, it takes time and good practice along with the appropriate knowledge and support to perfect the applica- tion and end results." How To Set Up Your Sandcarving Shop Finding adequate space is an issue for many brick-and-mortar shops, but with sandcarving, the need for space is minimal, Haas says. To start a sandcarving business, the necessary equipment includes a graphics program, a printer, an air compressor system, a sandcarving cabinet, and masking and stencil supplies. In total, Haas estimates that the typical space required is approximately a 10-foot-by-10-foot area. "The small space it takes to set up a sandcarving business is appealing to a lot of the shops I've visited," Haas says. "In a lot of the shops I've seen, they'll have the sandcarving system in a corner with maybe a counter-height table and then an area where they produce the stencils and then masking, so it's a small, compact area. As long as you have some work space and a place for your sandcarving system, that's generally the only space you need to start." Along with the small space, the cost of entry to sandcarving is low, Haas says. For a basic setup, an engraver can expect to pay about $4,000 for a sandcarving system. The cost can go up for a more advanced sandcarving system, but for the beginning on a budget, that estimated $4,000 price tag is a reasonable starting point. While jumping into any new business can feel intimidating, sandcarving's accessibility and versatility make it a potentially great place to start for the new user. With the many educational resources, someone new to the process can quickly become proficient and start paving a path to running a successful shop. For all the different ways engravers can take their business, sandcarving is certainly worth a look for the beginner. IN PRACTICE Sami's Engraving & Gifts; Owner Shama Kenkre The business opened in 1998, but we've only been using the sandcarving equipment for a few months. We want to grow corporate business with glass and crystal awards. We have been providing awards using laser engraving and sublimation. Since this is a new process, we have currently focused on regular flat glass awards. This was necessary to ensure the engraving quality as we are in the process of gaining experience. It is not difficult (to learn sandcarving). You will be comfortable using the machine within a matter of days. But it is the practice that makes for a perfect product. You learn from your mistakes. You need to research a compressor to match the needs of the equipment and get it properly installed. We bought a machine from IKONICS Imaging, (and the) website has videos on the use of the equipment and techniques for sandcarving. This was the most important resource for us to get educated. There is added work to prepare a mask for the design and apply it properly to the sub- strate. This is one of the most important steps. You need space for equipment and a work area. You also have to manage the sound level if your showroom is also going to be nearby. We are hoping we can gain experience with more complex products such as wine bottles, glasses, and such. There is a market for those products (and we) can't wait to tap into it. For shops that have space issues, sandcarving could be a good option because it only needs a small area. Retailers can offer a wide variety of different products and serve a large customer base (Image courtesy Rayzist) For a basic setup, an engraver can expect to pay about $4,000 for a sandcarving system.

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