View Full Version : Question first post

Art Schlangen
05-28-2011, 2:05 AM
Been lurking for a while been reading and reading... but need some advise... Looking in buying a SCM sandblasters.. I'm a firefighter... Myself and a other FF is looking to get into this market.. He owns a large landscaping company and between the two of us and our network of FF's we know a lot of guys in the remodeling trades..... We want to get in carving stones and glass custom stuff... our wives want to do the small stuff.. glasses and wedding stuff......

Here is my question.. we want to pull the trigger on a system but after reading can I go out a buy a portable and shop system cheaper then the guys... also they have a 24 inch stencil maker... can we buy a stencil maker else where.... I can not draw a straight line with a T-square so I need to stencil or trace u know what I mean.. If u buy the SCM system u have every thing in on box... we are looking at the Jet Stream Advantage system It is going to be a chunk of money... but it has everything.. anyway I think I got my question out.. looking for any advise... thanks ART

Scott Shepherd
05-28-2011, 9:55 AM
Hi Art, I've never seen that setup before. The people that I see at every trade show I've ever been to around this stuff are Rayzist and Ikonics Imaging. I've always seen the masks made by exposing them through a unit and washing the film after that, to expose the area to be blasted.



Larry Bratton
05-28-2011, 3:15 PM
If you have the $6400 bucks that thing costs, you can do a lot better on the equipment by piecing it out. One thing you need to be VERY aware of is the air compressor required. You cannot buy an air compressor for cheap that will get the job done. You need one that is going to deliver 12CFM @125psi minimum. You might be able to get by smaller, but you will sacrifice time in the process. You will want to produce some of your own stencils and that could be done with the cutter they sell, I am not familiar with that one, but the one I would try and acquire would have an optic eye that can read registration marks. This system may work out for you, but it seems to be a good bit of money for what it is. I am sure that your paying for a lot of this "support" and pricing guide and slick videos they are doing. Good luck with whatever you decide.

Art Schlangen
05-28-2011, 6:31 PM
Thanks for response...... Scott I check the Ikonics systems and I can part it out for about half of the money... And the good thing is they are coming to a trade show here in Indy in about two weeks so I will be able to put my hands on one and ask a bunch of questions...

Larry we are good to go on the Air compressor we have a big shop compressor, and we are going to buy a Gasoline power for our in the field jobs that we are going to try to get... You mention something about a optic eye that can read registration marks... I did some looking and found some post about a systems called Roland.. It has been talk about even on this forum back last year.. I saw the GX24.... My question to you.... Do you know what they are talking about when the mention... "No-Weed Self Adhesive Sandblast Mask".... What is No-Weed... we have some connections that we hope to get into the big stuff so we will be working in the field ...MAYBE :) so instead of paying someone else to make our stencils we would like to be able to do ourselves... the wives are going to be doing the small stuff in the shop... Again thanks for your help.... ART

Scott Shepherd
05-28-2011, 7:13 PM
Art, I don't know much about this stuff, and I don't know what you do or don't know, so forgive me if I say something you already have researched.

My understanding is that you can have 2 types of resists. One is a vinyl like product with adhesive on the back and it's cut on a plotter and you pick out the parts you want to blast. For instance, if you wanted to blast the word "Art" in something, you'd send the file over to the plotter, it would cut out "Art" and you'd have to pick out the letters "Art" that were cut. Then you would transfer that resist film to your work piece and you'd blast it.

The second method I am aware of is the resist is a film that's run through an exposure unit and then washed off. The items you want to blast are washed away, leaving you with the letters "Art" clean and ready for your blast media to hit.

So one takes a plotter, one takes an exposure unit and water. My guess, just from the limited amount of it I know, is that if you were doing a glass panel, you'd want to cut it with a plotter, as it can do large pieces. If you wanted to do a shot glass or 100 of them, you'd want to use the photo resist. It can crank out things with fine detail, where you don't want to be messing with trying to pick all the little letters out by hand, which is what you'd be doing with the plotter.

Here's a video of weeding. You'd be doing this same thing with the resist for the plotter.


To me, you're talking about 2 different markets, one would be better with the plotter, one better with the photo resist. I'm not sure about the registration mark reader. The only time you'd be able to use that is if the resist was printed, and I don't understand why you'd need that, but I could be missing something.

The registration marks are meant for printing things like decals on a large format printer, and then moving them over to the plotter, having it "pick up" the location of all the decals and then cut them out. Again, I see no use for what you're trying to do for that.

You could get a really nice, large plotter for $1500 or so for a brand name one. Take that, the "home made" sandblasting unit, and you could even throw in the photoresist exposure unit and still have money left over.

Art Schlangen
05-28-2011, 9:58 PM
Scott thanks for the response... I writing down all this stuff..... So when I meet with the guys from Ikonics I will have a load of questions... I have only learn what I have seen on different web sites that are doing this kinda of work... Ikonics offers stencil making for large jobs like maybe a head stone or large rock that the exposure unit process it to big for.... WE have contacts with several cemeteries here in central Indiana and we are looking at applying photos of the decease on head stones I know that is done by the exposure method...... but we have other areas like entrance to neighborhoods and other areas that would use rocks for markers... Indiana is a large limestone producer and we would like to market limestone into areas of the the state that now uses wooden signs..... getting them to use local natural products.. from a local engraver.. Again thanks for the feed back.... ART

Joe Pelonio
05-28-2011, 11:19 PM
For large wooden signs (which are what I have done the most) and fairly flat rocks, the best method is to cover the whole thing with the rubber resist, then do the image on paper with a pen in the plotter. Use spray adhesive to adhere to the substrate and hand cut with xacto. Plotter cutting and weeding the stencil is difficult at best, but worse is getting it to stick to the transfer tape and lay flat after weeding. The photo resist process works for glass but you can also just use plotter cut calendered (3 mil) vinyl, a lot cheaper and easier if you have a plotter.

Larry Bratton
05-29-2011, 12:31 AM
Well put Scott. As far as the plotter goes, I didn't say he HAD to have one. I said I would like to have one. While your buying a plotter, get that option to make the plotter more versatile. You can't tell where this endeavor may lead and as you have said many times in this forum.."get a plotter, you can make serious money with it". This is true..so why not get all the bells and whistles upfront and then you have it. Even if it doesn't work out and you want to sell the plotter, it is a very desirable feature. Try selling a used one today without it, not too many takers, especially from folks that decorate garments and such and that is a HUGE market, much more so than sandblasters for sure.
One other thing that's important is the downforce of the plotter. I noticed the one with the SCM system had 500, totally adequate for sandblast resist. I think my old Ioline is 250 and it will cut 50mil material. That's like you would use for tombstones.

Edit- Yes, Roland is good equipment, Ioline is good and GCC apparently is very popular also.

Bill W. White
05-29-2011, 1:53 AM
Been doing most of the things you mentioned a long time, but haven't done rocks and headstones or wood. I went and looked at the package at SCM and I think it's a little misleading. Hopefully their intention was to appeal to as many people as possible and not to mislead anyone. Doing rocks and wood etc. is a totally different technique than doing fine deep carving on glass. My advise would be at least to start would be focus on one specific area and get that nailed down before trying all the other stuff. Start with the photoresist {film) build a little cabinet, buy a pressure pot at harbor freight Get into the graphics and see how you like the business before sinking 10 grand into a untested market. One final fact....when I had my shop in the Florida Keys and Miami I sold the heck out of glass, custom work in holmes, glass blocks, mirrors, wine glasses you name it if you could see through it I etched something on it and sold it. Now since I've retired and moved up to the red neck north center of Florida my local business is almost nothing. Glass etching and decorating simply put just doesn't happen here. Ninety five percent of my business is still down in S. Florida along the coast and in the caribbean. Another final thought there are some good schools that teach the skills you will need to become a "glass artist" they are not cheap but they will shave years off your learning curve and probably save you money in the long run, I think Iklonics has a class, there is another on in Santa Fe NM My web site is www.islglass.com (http://www.islglass.com) if you would like to call with questions I would be happy to try and help Bill W.

Scott Shepherd
05-29-2011, 9:35 AM
No problem Larry, I agree with what you said, I just didn't understand the angle at the time. Now I do.

Larry brings up a huge point- cutting some of the masks takes a stout setup for a plotter. It's likely that a budget plotter will struggle with that. Make sure any plotter you look at will handle the material you want to cut.

Just for the record, you can pick up high quality plotters used, frequently and for very good prices. A lot of shops are closing or upgrading and there's plenty of stuff out there for VERY reasonable prices.

Martin Boekers
05-29-2011, 4:47 PM
One thing I'd like to ad Art, is that you'll find the learning curve
to the software is a bit steeper than the blaster.

While your at the show in Indy (which is a great show for you to go to)
check out the Corel (software booth) tell them what you are looking to do
and they can run you through the software. The Indy show has awards & signage
so you will get a good look at what is out there.

Mike Null
05-30-2011, 11:35 AM
I suggest you pm Gary Hair for advice as he does this for a living and can set you straight on process and equipment.

He does a lot of off site work so he's familiar with portable equipment.