Awards & Engraving

November '17

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46 • A&E NOVEMBER 2017 ETCH MASTERS by Ruth Dobbins At first look, it seems simple and easy to use, which it is, if you know some of the problems that can arise or exist from the beginning that can make all your efforts in vain even though you are doing everything right. To better understand some of the problems that can arise, let me cover the individual components step by step. What are the components? They are: the gray body of the unit, which houses the ballast, the timer, and the cradles for the UV light bulb. The electrical cord is attached to the body on the opposite side to the timer. Then there is the UV light bulb, the clear acrylic cylinder that rests over the light bulb, and the rubberized black blanket that attaches to the cylinder. THE BODY There isn't that much to say about the body, which consists of a light gray, plastic housing that comes apart in two different ways. First, there are two sleeves that can be removed where the body cradles the light bulb. These two sleeves pull out and can then be lifted off to expose the cradle for the bulb. The bulb can be easily removed and has to be taken out if you wish to go to the next step of taking the body completely apart to get to the hidden ballast. One of our units has been around for such a long period of time that the usual gray body is now a pale yellow where the light hits the housing. This does not affect its performance. THE BULB This is the heart of the unit, so to speak. Without the bulb there would be no exposure. We have also discovered that not all bulbs are created equal. This is not a normal fluorescent light, but a UV light A nother piece of equipment that many of you use is the small exposure unit called Letralite, which you use to expose photoresist film. I cannot begin to imagine how many of you have this gadget. Reflecting on our own experiences with this piece of equipment, I thought it prudent to give you an overview of some of the things we have found out (mostly the hard way) in using this equipment. Shedding Light on the Letralite ALL IMAGES COURTESY RUTH DOBBINS View of the complete exposure unit. Above: Here are the individual components: body with UV light, curved cylinder, and black blanket.

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