September '21

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Page 63 of 102

G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 1 S E P T E M B E R G R A P H I C S P R O 5 9 OTHER PROCESSES Having addressed some of the concerns and recommendations relative to the abrasive etch- ing process, we now turn to the other pro- cesses involved. With the exception of mask application and laser mask creation, these processes can be combined into a single area as they are all wet processes requiring water. Photoresist masks require a warm water spray washout. The removal of the photo- resist mask and clean up after abrasive etch- ing also requires a spray wash. If color-fill is required, some people prefer to remove the mask and wash and dry, then color-fill; others prefer to leave the photoresist mask on and color-fill after an air blow off, then wash and remove the mask and clean up any color-fill overspill as the final operation. All of these steps require warm water and wash/spray equipment. In smaller shops, these stages can all be performed in a com- bination wash/spray station, but for larger shops, it's advisable to install dedicated sta- tions and specialized washout and drying equipment. The mask application process is dry and only requires a clean work bench. It is es- sential to have good lighting as this helps with accurate mask alignment, especially on curved or convex surfaces. Abrasive etching using photoresist masks is a process that is capable of producing ex- quisite detail on glass and crystal that other processes cannot achieve. It is a process that has been around for many decades and has been refined and continually improved. To- day's equipment choices are the best they've ever been. The introduction and expanded use of laser masks has added another excellent di- mension to abrasive etching. For those of you that already have a CO 2 laser, the use of laser masks on flat glass eliminates several steps and overall is a much faster process. GP BARRY SLEE has spent almost 30 years in the award and recognition industry. As the founder of the Slee Cor- poration and its CrystalEdge brand, his innovative award- winning product designs have led the industry. Barry is an expert in glass and crystal design and manufacturing, and he is a regular contributor of articles and educational content to the industry.

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