Awards & Engraving

April '18

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A&E APRIL 2018 • a-e-mag.com 45 Sandcarving START AT THE BEGINNING It seems that almost everyone in the recognition business knows that abrasive blasting is the method of choice for etching glass in most situations. The equipment is not expensive and the basic techniques are not hard to learn. It is the fastest method to produce finished pieces and the quality of the work is better than that produced by any other technique. More different effects are possible with abrasive etching, some- thing that will become increasingly impor- tant for you to know about to be competi- tive. The fact that abrasive blasting can also be used for etching of stone, ceramic, and other substrates is icing on the cake. The components any beginner has to look at that will make up a complete glass etching venue are: • Blasting equipment consisting of a cabinet, a pressure blaster, a dust collector, and reclaimer. Blasting systems vary in price according to size and features from $1,500 to $10,000. This equipment is powered by a compressor. Compressors suited for this work can cost anywhere from $1,200 to $6,000. General space requirements for any system is about 3 to 4 linear feet. The blasting equipment and the com- pressor are the heart of your business ven- ture. If you do not get the right size or type of equipment and/or an underpowered compressor, you are setting yourself up for frustration. The cabinet dimensions deter- mine the size of projects you will be able to make. All cabinets come with lighting, arm holes, and doors. The pressure blaster can be free-standing next to the cabinet or can be attached to the bottom of the cabinet. This choice depends on the need for com- pactness versus versatility. All cabinets must have a dust collector attached to them to extract dust from the cabinet interior while blasting. Most of us also use a reclaimer, a gadget that spins out usable abrasive before it goes into the dust collector. • Artwork creation, which requires a computer with graphics software like Corel- DRAW or Adobe Illustrator (includes Pho- toshop), and a printer. Most of you already own a system that you use in your office. In terms of printers, an inkjet printer yields the best results. This setup should be away from the blasting station. In order to create art originals for stencil production, you must learn how to use the graphics programs. You have to use a special art film mate- rial to print your images on from which you will create the actual blasting stencils, also sometimes called masks. • Stencil production of photoresist, which requires an exposure unit, art film, and photoresist, and possibly a washout station. The basic equipment and materials you need will cost around $500 and require a darkroom-style setup. Most everyone seems to know that the method of choice for producing an image by abrasive blasting is to use something called a photoresist. But that is where Example of a blasting system with an attached pressure pot blaster.

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