Sign & Digital Graphics

August '16

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74 • August 2016 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S ARCHITECTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ferently to the laser. He says that even if someone brings 20 of the same glass for engraving, each one could turn out dif- ferently. Nineteen may engrave beauti- fully and the 20th will flake off around the etching. "Glass can take a fair amount of energy. I recommend 100 percent speed and power on 30 watt. That will give you an indication of how that glass is work- ing. Glass doesn't need a lot of power, but it can take a lot of power," he says. "The only way to know if an individual type is going to take it is you have to try it." Koser says that the laser isn't engrav- ing so much as shattering the top layer of the glass, which hazes and turns white. "That's how lasers mark glass. Sand blasting equipment is a polishing process. Polishing sounds better than shattering. I think polishing looks better than shatter- ing. With laser, it is simple and fast and easy to mark glass, but I like the results better of the sand blaster," Koser adds. Dan Park, president and owner of Perfect Etch in Austin, Texas, says that sand blasting has been around forever. He calls the use of sand blasting on glass, sand carving. "Like painting, you cover up the areas you don't want hit with a sand blast and that's the area exposed and modified," Park says. "There's pressure, sand vs. air." Sand carving is not done with a machine. It is done by hand. One way to combine laser engrav- ing with sand blasting is to use the laser engraver to etch the outline of a design into the glass and then use sand carving to fill in the design, says Epilog's Sieber. "You laser etch the pattern through the masking material and then hit that mark with the sand blaster to even things out and give it a nice smooth finish," he says. "Even for a customer who uses sand blasting for everything, laser is a great tool. There are a lot of ways to create patterns with masking materials and stencils." Epilog sells premade stencils to its cli- ents, but with the laser, a shop can cre- ate its own stencils "and the amount of products they can sell with customized (Photos courtesy of Epilog)

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