June '23

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M J U N E 2 0 2 3 • G R A P H I C S P R O 6 9 of resist materials to consider. For simple surface blasting on a larger scale we commonly use vinyl specifically created for this purpose. What do I mean by that? Well, these mask materials are formulated to have an adhesive which is just aggressive enough to stay on the sur- face to be blasted but not so strong that it would be hard to remove after blast- ing and potentially leave adhesive on the surface of the product, which then would have to be cleaned off, creating an extra step in your procedure. Vinyls come in two types: hard and soft. e harder versions are good on any flat surface like glass and polished stone. On rough surfaces you want to switch to a soft vinyl, which conforms to those sur- faces better and grips on an uneven sur- face much better. e hard vinyls come in 6 and 8 mil thicknesses and the soft ones in 10, 25 and 30 mils. If you see a vinyl with 3 or 4 mil do not use because those are sign vinyls with super aggressive adhesives, which will cause you a lot of grief in the removal stage. For super deep blasting on natural stones with rough surfaces and in doing deep multiple stage carving we sometimes resort to using a very pliable rubber resist that is 20 mils thick. It conforms to just about anything and will stand a lot of abuse which happens during prolonged blasting. All of these latter materials are not suitable for lasers as they contain PVC or worse. Also, should you use a plotter for design cutting in your mask material, then you will find that the hard and soft vinyls can be cut on a plotter with a special knife angle, but the rubber resist cannot. e rubber resist is so soft that any knife blade, no matter how slow your plotter cuts, gets caught in the soft material and gets tan- gled up. Also, the cutlines are not visible in the rubber resist, even with an appli- cation of colorant. Any material sticks to the resist and can't be cleaned off. I hope this gives you an overview of a few materials that are available for our line of work. Make good choices and your pro- cess will be easy! GP

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