Awards & Engraving

August '18

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66 a-e-mag.com • A&E AUGUST 2018 WHAT PURPOSE DO DIFFERENT THICKNESSES OF FILMS SERVE? The films vary in development process, thickness, and adhesion depending on the need of the project. Each of these variables allow users to compete in diverse markets. Photoresist film comes in a range of thick- nesses from 2 mil up to 10 mil. The thinner photoresist holds much finer detail, including halftone photo images, and the thicker pho- toresists allow for increased depth. For example: With a 10-mil film applied on glass, users can sandcarve over an inch deep. When used on harder substrates like black granite, a 10-mil thick photoresist achieves between 1/4- to 1/2-inch depth. The variety of thickness and designs allow users to access many types of markets using photoresist film and sandcarving. The pri- mary markets using photoresist are awards and engraving, architectural, monument, signage, donor recognition, promotional, and the wedding industry. DRY PROCESS VERSUS WET PROCESS The process to develop photoresist films is simple and contains just one or two steps. Over 30 years ago, photoresist sandcarving started using water to develop exposed films. Similar to screen printing, the wet process utilizes a photopositive for the art tool. The photopositive is transferred to the resist via UV exposure and water development. During the water development (also known as the washout stage) the film is sprayed with warm pressurized water until the stencil is revealed. After washout, the photoresist is dried and then applied to the substrate and the piece is ready to blast. The dry process for sandcarving was invented in partnership with DuPont for IKONICS Imaging about 15 years ago. With the dry process, customers use a photo nega- tive for their art tool. The photo negative is transferred to the resist through UV expo- sure. After exposure, the resist is ready to be applied to the substrate and is ready to blast, eliminating the washout and drying steps. A couple of the primary markets using photoresist include monument, signage, and donor recognition. Together, the innovations in photoresist films and sandcarving cabinets have modernized the art of sandcarving and brought it to the forefront of many new markets where applications will continue to grow.

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