March '23

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7 0 G R A P H I C S P R O • M A R C H 2 0 2 3 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M A W A R D S & C U S T O M I Z A T I O N Again, you may want to look up one of my earlier articles for those specifics. All of this assumes that you are recapturing the spent abrasive within your blasting setup. How to get the most out of your abrasive: Dryness e biggest challenge for all of us is to keep our abrasive dry and uncontami- nated. e keeping-it-dry issue is totally dependent on the climate zone you hap- pen to live in. For us in New Mexico, with an average humidity of about 20%, mois- ture is not our biggest concern. However, if you live in an area where the humidity level is over 50%, then you need to con- cern yourself with a way of keeping your abrasive dry enough so that it won't clog up your blaster. Any clog in your system leads to down time, when you must take equipment apart and dry out the abrasive, which will increase your labor cost. You need to make sure to use highly efficient water separators on your airlines as a bare minimum. In high humidity areas, you want to use a refrigerated aftercooler for your airline to eliminate the possibility of such occurrences. Recapturing abrasive Also, you want to recapture as much of your abrasive as possible during and after the blasting process. In this case, you do not just want to rely on the interior of your cabinet catching the spent abrasive. Many of the finer particles will fall prey to the exhaust system attached to your cabinet and simply get sucked out by it. In the early years of blasting, that's the way it was. en came the cyclone sep- arator onto the market, a gadget which is placed between your cabinet exhaust port and the dust collector or vacuum system, whichever term you prefer. is gadget will spin the extracted abrasive/air mix- ture, causing the heavier particles of the abrasive to fall into a receptacle, and then only evacuate the dusty air. e regained abrasive can be refilled into your blaster and used for further blast cycles, saving you money. The size of grit you use has a lot to do with the way your finished etchings look. For a finer finish on trophies and glassware, and use of photoresist, 180 to 220 is used. (Image courtesy IKONICS Imaging)

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