Awards & Engraving

January '18

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56 • A&E JANUARY 2018 to create an imprint. As the laser beam hits the glass or crystal, water and air expand to create a small fracture. Ultimately this process creates the decoration. T h ere is a sp ecific typ e of laser engraving that works very well for crystal called 3D subsurface laser engraving. A computer is programmed to control a laser that will hit the crystal at a par- ticular size, depth, and location to pro- duce a micro-fracture inside the crystal. The laser continues to produce millions of dot-like fractures inside the crystal that ultimately become a three-dimensional image that can be viewed from all sides. Flexibility is the primary advantage to 3D subsurface laser engraving. Truly any image can be re-created. And, of course, customers think it is pretty darn cool. On the flip side, the primary disadvan- tage to 3D subsurface laser engraving is the high cost of the machinery and an expertly trained person to operate the machine. This reliable person will become an expert on the 3D machine itself, the software it requires, as well as the software needed to create the art file(s). It can take hours to re-create a one-dimensional image from scratch using 3D software. If you purchase a 3D machine, you can outsource creating the art files if needed. If you don't want to own and operate a 3D subsurface laser engraving machine, you can you still create 3D crystal awards and gifts. Simply contract with one of the production facilities in United States. This allows for a faster production time and lower freight cost in comparison to overseas manufacturers. The final classic decoration method for glass and crystal is liquid (acid) etching. With this technique, a strong acid cuts into the crystal or glass. This imprint has a soft appearance that does not allow for a long-lasting etch like sandcarving. Liquid etching uses hydrofluoric acid, which pro- duces extremely dangerous fumes, so it is rarely used today. IN WITH THE NEW Sublimation is the newest decorating process for glass and crystal. This imprint process creates a high-quality color image Get creative with text and logo placement to add a bit more pop. While there are many decoration processes available for glass and crystal products, the best way to embellish these pieces is what makes the customer happy.

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