Sign & Digital Graphics

August '16

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • August 2016 • 75 graphics grows exponentially. You can make any pattern with a laser," he adds. "The laser is a great tool for any shop that processes a lot of glass requests. Even if you are using traditional meth- ods, laser is a great tool for expanding the different styles of graphics you can create," Sieber says. Another option is to laser etch a design by masking off the product and adding a smooth coat of glass paint. Let it cure and then remove the mask, which yields the color, Park says. "The important thing to keep in mind is that not all glass is the same," says Josh Stephens who is in business development at Trotec Laser Inc. One way to reduce chipping in the glass is to apply a wet mask to the glass before laser engraving. "The mask can be newspaper, copy paper, transfer tape, etc. Wet the mask and apply it to the glass where the engrav- ing will occur. An alternative to the wet mask is to simply apply dish soap to the surface of the glass prior to engraving," Stephens says. Glass with a lot of lead content, like crystal, is hard to laser engrave. When more lead is present, "you get some areas within the glass that somehow overheat a bit based on the settings. With higher-quality glass, nice crystals, you get irregularities to your mark," Sieber says. That's when it is nice to combine sand blasting with the laser etching to give the crystal a nice smooth finish. Laser engraving also can be used on mirrors, to either etch in a frosted design on the front of the mirror or to engrave away the mirrored coating from the back side of the mirror so you can see the design through the mirror. Color is then added to make the engraved mes- sage or logo stand out. Sieber adds that many stained glass makers are using laser engraving to score the lines they want to cut through the glass. They then use traditional tools to break the glass along those lines. SDG (Photo courtesy of Trotec) (Photo courtesy of Epilog) (Photo courtesy of Trotec) (Photo courtesy of GCC)

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