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Brick & Stone Engraving

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by James Burke, Aug 4, 2019.

  1. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    In an effort to "un-hijack" a previous thread, I am re-posting my reply to Andy D here. The original thread was about weeding vinyl...sorry about that AMGearhart...guess I got a bit carried away.

    Yes, they're sandblasted. Most of our paver bricks only have names on them so I've also included some of the more interesting projects we've done. In order to get finer detail, the stencils were cut from sign vinyl instead of sandblast stencil.

    We also do a lot of river stone. And as you can see, they're also deeply cut. The spider web is raised, but the spider is recessed.

    On the the edge of one paver, you can see the fine serifs of the raised lettering. The etched background is approx. 10 times as deep as the serif strokes.

    For the "jimagination" paver brick, there is no paint in the lettering. The contrast is due to the natural shadowing.

    The retirement gift stone for Florence is an 11" x 11" tumbled Pennsylvania blue stone.

    Everything was cut on a 20 year-old Gerber GS15+ plotter.

    Other than the technology to produce the stencil, it's a process as old as time itself...a little bit of sand...a little bit of wind...and then the magic happens.

    JB

    1.1.JPG 1.JPG 2.JPG 3.JPG 4.JPG 5.JPG 6.JPG 7.JPG 8.JPG 9.JPG
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
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  2. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    1.JPG 2.JPG 3.JPG
     
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  3. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    Neat! What type of vinyl?
     
  4. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

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    Nice work Jimmy!
     
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  5. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    :thumb:
     
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  6. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    So far, we've had success with just about everything other than expensive cast vinyl. The process we've developed has more to do with the ability to reach deeper depths than does the vinyl...sounds kind of crazy, I know.

    I'm curious about other industrial applications, and the thoughts of a patent has crossed my mind. There are still a few more bugs to work out before we can go that route.

    I come from the world of tool and die making and CNC. It always intrigues me what can be accomplished from a two-car garage without any of that type of equipment.


    JB
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2019
  7. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    When we were sandblasting, we couldn't go much less than an 1/8" stroke in a letter...... wood, stone or brick. You're doing frickin' spider legs and other much smaller sh!t than we ever did. Nice !!
     
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  8. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    It's been a learning process, with a few pleasant surprises along the way. If I had my way about it, I'd rather spend my day tinkering and inventing but the bills keep getting in the way. A few years ago, I started keeping detailed journals on new the things we've learned. What you see in the photos above is a culmination of approximately fifteen years of work.

    I never got to take Physics in high school, so I spend a lot of time online sifting through "long-haired" articles that pertain to fluid dynamics.

    Yep...sandblasting is totally 100% fluid dynamics.

    I get lost when it comes to long math equations where there are more letters than there are numerals, but some authors are better able to explain phenomenon without all that jargon.


    JB
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2019
  9. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    It's interesting, for sure. A couple of the spider legs in the last photo are just about the width of the rim on that dime.

    But what I really find amazing is how a delicate, lacy spider web can hold up to a reverse etch in which approximately 10 times (or more) of the stone's surface area is removed (in relation to the standing image).

    I also marvel at what can be created from an old pile of stones. Farmers hate them because they destroy equipment. And around here, the countryside is full of fence rows with an almost eternal supply of stones, sometimes free for the picking.

    JB
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2019
  10. d fleming

    d fleming Very Active Member

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    I blast granite plaques for memorial wall at our local AM Legion Post. So IMG_4719.jpg IMG_4719.jpg metimes I do special events or awards as well trimmed out in wood. 10 names ranks and dates each on a 12x12 tile. I use cheap vinyl double layered for mask and a pin gun from harbor freight with 80 grit iron oxide. You must be blasting at space race speeds, lol. Fantastic work. Out of my league for sure!
    BTW Iron oxide makes some pretty neat color variations on wood.
     

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  11. GreenBlaster

    GreenBlaster New Member

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    Very nice. Fluid dynamics it is then.
     
  12. Chikara Yoshida

    Chikara Yoshida New Member

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    Hello all

    Re: PLEASE HELP - Sandblasting Hotspots on Granite Headstone

    I have finally made the transition from using CNC to cut lettering and artwork on granite headstone/tombstone to Sandblasting with garnet media

    I wish I came across this website; I have email and message a lot of people on youtube and not a single reply came back.
    We operate a small headstone business in the pacific and from the transition comes little experience, lots of waste materials and losses
    I am hoping I can learn a lot from you all and help me get back on my feet, otherwise Ill go back to CNC use

    Gear/Setting:
    1/4" nozzle
    Potblast pressure set at 40-50psi
    Garnet 30-60
    Stencil is Oramask831 = 250microns
    Stencil Cut on roland plotter


    Problem:
    I have hotpots on some of the sites; just under 2009 we have a burn spot, (see photo) - I suppose the oramask has been breached OR the stencil had a bubble trapped during the application

    Please share your thoughts on how I can improve from here

    In my head, its telling me I should move to a thicker stencil - either 350 microns (Oramask 832) or 500 microns from China

    Kindest regards
     

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  13. GreenBlaster

    GreenBlaster New Member

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    We do lots of stone and we haven't had a problem with Anchor 154 (or is it 156). It is expensive though so I am glad I read this thread as I was thinking of trying something less expensive...so maybe the Oramask would work for us. Right now we are only getting to about 35 cfm though.
     
  14. Chikara Yoshida

    Chikara Yoshida New Member

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    Hello, Ive never heard of that brand before. I just googled it. I says it has a thickness of 0.48 mil which is equivalent to 480 microns.
    If youre getting EXCELLENT results with 480 microns then this confirms my doubts on why I have been getting burn spots on other areas.

    Unfortunately I can only get oramask 832 - 350 microns from Australia
    https://www.orafol.com/en/europe/products/oramask-832-sandblast-film

    Oramask831 230 microns - currently being used, to prevent burn spots, we have to sandblast lightly, no more than 0.5 mm depth (eyeballing it .....). However we need the paint to sit in the etched areas so as we sandblaster deeper, the stencil is breached and hence the hostpots
    Oramask832 - just placed order, but now thinking maybe 350 microns wont give me that peace of mind .... Im guessing the sweetspot is close to 500 microns like the anchor 154 (480microns)

    Does the 154 Anchor need a filler? Can it be cut by roland plotters?
     
  15. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    Your abrasive, nozzle size and blasting pressure will require rubber sandblast stencil from 3M or from Anchor. It is approx. 0.75mm to 1.00mm thick. I don't believe your Roland will cut it. You need a tangential cutting, sprocket-fed plotter like a Gerber GS or HS, or an Anagraph. Some monument companies also use a laser to cut their rubber stencil.

    I use Anchor 116 and 117 for all my big granite monument and natural stone engraving projects.

    All my brick and smaller stones (as shown above) are etched with a special sandblasting process we've developed utilizing ordinary sign vinyl. It has taken us a total of 15 years to develop the process, and believe me...we've scrapped out a lot of stuff along the way.

    JB
     
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  16. Chikara Yoshida

    Chikara Yoshida New Member

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    Hi James,
    I take off my hat, and bow with immense respect to your wealth of knowledge.
    I dont know you all but I thank you for all for replying to queries.

    Unfortunately, I have been told/adviced by a gentleman who seemed knowledgeable at the time and recommended equipment to which I already purchased.
    There is really no turning back (sigh .......)
    I can only plan to upgrade to the right equipment when considerable returns comes my way, given my geographical location I only have a market of 180,000 (small population on my island) this will take some time

    1. The best way forward I see is to upgrade to the right stencil as you have mentioned 0.75mm to 1.00mm thick ...
    2. Perhaps my GR-420 can accept work with sproket feed stencils ....

    Your thoughts?
     
  17. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    A tangential cutting, sprocket-fed plotter really should be used for monument stencil. It has the capability to pick the knife up out of the cut, rotate it, and then set it down to begin each new cut. This is particularly important for square corners. Even if your plotter has enough down force, a drag knife will make an absolute mess of monument stencil on smaller lettering.

    I started out by hand cutting monument stencil with an X-acto knife, and you can do the same. All you need to do is print a paper pattern with your plotter or desktop printer and use spray adhesive to adhere it to the stencil. If your plotter can handle the material without slipping in the pinch rollers, you may simply use a pen in place of the knife and pen plot the design directly onto the rubber and then hand cut.

    It's way more time consuming than plotter cutting, but then again so is polishing a botched piece of granite because the thin stencil wore through. You'll have to choose where you want to spend your time...and I'm guessing it will be hand cutting.

    Actually, I find the process of hand cutting quite therapeutic and rewarding. Believe it or not, but some of the old masters were almost as fast at hand cutting as a plotter.

    But even before paper patterns were used, memorialists used to lay down a batch of liquid rubber on a stone. Once cured, they would hand draw the design and then cut it out, and then sandblast.

    So you see, we actually have it pretty easy since those days. It's just too bad that most stones are mass-produced cookie cutter versions of one another. But that's the way the industry is headed.

    I personally "push back" against that ideology, especially with our natural boulder memorials http://jarsa.net/natural_stone_memorials More stones are posted on our facebook page, (click the button at the bottom of the web page).


    JB
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
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  18. undertaker

    undertaker New Member

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    We have used Anchor tapes for many years and they are quite foolproof.The are ideal where deeper lettering is needed and if stuck down with a good spray adhesive great depth can be achieved.
    We also use pvc tape and find that has great quality too.I cuts easily and can take great detail also and this is a great plus it does not stretch when being applied so is easy to work with also the letters stay put on the stencil when being applied there is no need for a carrier tape over them.
    Pvc is perfect for granite and is relatively cheap to buy..The tape is also see through which makes positioning a stencil quite easy.We never use adhesive on granite the tapes own glue is fine.
    Garnett abrasive in a 30 60 grade is perfect for lettering. Move the nozzle along quickly and make lots of passes will eliminate burning the stencil

    We cut all our stencils on a DS60 Summa with no difficulty using signlab software.
    Any other questions please ask as this is our business every day.
     
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