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Greg Bednar
06-08-2011, 6:25 PM
Well, here's something I've been wanting to try for a time. They are compressed cellulose sponges. In their compressed form this particular sponge is about .07 inches in thickness. After adding water, it is 5/8 inches thick. Frank Corker suggested I do these in relief, which worked out WAY better than engraving them. Thanks Frank!

The sponges vary in size from 3/8, 5/8 and 1" fully expanded. The 3/8 inch compressed is .03 inches. There is a small wow factor in seeing it expand. And then it's over.:(

Now to think up some REALLY interesting methods to use these. Suggestions are welcome........

Frank Corker
06-08-2011, 7:32 PM
I've seen the sponges that Greg has done, I really think that there is a lot of potential here. Just the Sheraton says it all, imagine hotels and motels giving these things out to guests, novelty factor alone it's brilliant! I think you did a great job there Greg and by the looks of the pictures, you have your settings just perfect.

Bruce Clumpner
06-08-2011, 8:09 PM
Pretty cool stuff Greg! So where do you source your materials?

Andrea Weissenseel
06-09-2011, 1:15 AM
That's really wow and fun


There is a small wow factor in seeing it expand. And then it's over.:(


Does that mean that isn't visible anymore when you wet the sponge ?

They could be usefull for a lot of clientel, every company that's envolved in cleaning, cosmetics - if you drill only those two down, there is a huge potential

Rodne Gold
06-09-2011, 4:05 AM
I would cut and engrave sponges for kiddies bathtimes and try sell to the big retailers. Kids will love to see their sponge grow into a duck , a ship , a truck , a fairy or whatever.
Would also be perhaps a great freebie give away for cosmetic and body lotion mnfgrs/sellers ,

Buy a bottle of "elizabethgardengrosslyoverpricedcream" for$50 and get a free sponge (with out logo on of course , we really give nothing for free..we wanna put our product in your face- literally - and with a sponge we can reach EVERY orifice on your body :) )

Jiten Patel
06-09-2011, 4:28 AM
Rodne, you crack me up. Hilarious.

But still Greg, those look brilliant. Massive contracts to be had on those. I would start with the Sheraton! I see those coming to a hotel near me soon! How long does each one take?

Greg Bednar
06-09-2011, 11:05 AM
Hello all and thank you.

Bruce - PM sent re: source.

Andrea - It's the WOW factor that disappears fast, not the engraving. It remains.

Rodne - Exellent idea. I especeially like the "elizabethgardengrosslyoverpricedcream" And the "EVERY orifice on your body"
brings to mind some X rated designs for the fast crowd.

Jit - Yes, the Sheraton would be nice. Right now I'm experimenting with resolution and seem
to have arrived at 200 DPI for this particular 1 inch sponge. I also do two passes to get
about a 3/8 inch depth . About 30 seconds for one done in relief with a 3inch X 4inch dimension
and one pass.

There is a brownish cast to the engraving which looks like a regular business card in its compressed form, but the cast comes off and the sponge expands and voila! Wow factor with a definite 3D effect ( without the glasses. )

Andrea Weissenseel
06-09-2011, 11:40 AM
After I looked a second time at the pic I realized that it is a picture of the expanded sponge :rolleyes:

You could also cut in shapes, i.e. a car and cover all the car washs or even shampoo producers, or cats and dogs for pet shops possibilities are endless ... :D

Dan Hintz
06-09-2011, 12:56 PM
I've seen the sponges that Greg has done, I really think that there is a lot of potential here. Just the Sheraton says it all
Agree whole-heartedly...

Greg Bednar
06-09-2011, 2:08 PM
For all those interested. I just met with a very helpful individual at Industrial Commercial Supply. That is the source for compressed sponges. All products are American made in Akron, Ohio and PVC FREE. The person you want to talk to for an order is Larry Rowlands. He is able to cut the sponges to the laser bed size you require. And he is the one to contact for the quotes. ICS is only about 20 miles from me. I live in Canton, OH and the business is in Akron, OH, so no problem with the trip. I feel the prices are great, green ( for the eco-conscience people ) and hold lots of potential as is evidenced by the folks here. So follow this link http://www.icsponge.com/ - please don't anyone spank me for the hot link, if it is not proper, please edit.

And thanks to all thus far for the input. Tell Larry I sent you :-)

Dee Gallo
06-09-2011, 2:55 PM
Greg, those are so cool - I'm definitely going to get some! I have some nephews who love the ones I buy for them, expanding dinosaurs and the like... now I can make some really personalized ones. Kids absolutely love these, plus I agree the market is hot for custom soaps and spa items. These fit right in that niche.

Thanks, dee

Nestor Fernandez
06-09-2011, 4:20 PM
Frank Corker suggested I do these in relief, which worked out WAY better than engraving them

What does that mean?? I guess I'm unclear as to what you mean by "relief". Either way, that looks great! Nice work!

Dee Gallo
06-09-2011, 4:25 PM
Boy, Larry Rowlands already got back to me - great service so far! I'm getting an assortment and will see what they act like. Thanks again, Greg!

Rodne Gold
06-09-2011, 4:36 PM
Bas, mezzo or high relief is where the letters etc stand out of a sunken background , intaglio is where the letters etc are carved in.

Greg Bednar
06-09-2011, 4:38 PM
Hi Frank and Dee,

Nestor - Rodne has the "relief" definition covered. Thanks Rodne. That's what I did with the logo and lettering so the logo and lettering would stand up from the surface instead of being engraved into the surface.

Dee - I'm glad all is working so far with Larry Rowlands. He was very helpful with me today and it looks as though he was helpful for you too. He sent me some samples 8 x 10 inch of the 3/8 5/8 and 1 inch compressed sponge and it was with these that I have been doing runs with different resolutions, speed, power, frequency. The 3/8 inch is the easiest to vector, but the 1 inch really pops after you do two passes at 200 DPI. The original post was with the 5/8.

Oh yes, one suggestion - make sure if you use the air assist, that the air is dry. If it condenses and then drops onto the sponge, it WILL expand in those places. So only use the air assist when vectoring, and be careful to use an inline dryer.

Larry Bratton
06-09-2011, 5:40 PM
What does that mean?? I guess I'm unclear as to what you mean by "relief". Either way, that looks great! Nice work!

Nestor..they explained but I think you want to know how to do it. Simply surround the text you want to make stand above the surface with black. Leave the text white. Subsequently the background will be lasered away, leaving the text untouched. When water is added, everything expands and text is sitting higher than the surface.

Nestor Fernandez
06-09-2011, 7:02 PM
Thanks Rodne, and Greg for the info. So, let me get this straight (I'm learning something today). In Corel, you create lettering, or an object, with no fill (so it doesn't etch), and you place that lettering, or object, on a filled background, so that it etches around it?? Or do you use the advanced settings in the Epilog Print Dialog box and play with the 3D settings?? I've never messed with that section at all.

Or, am I totally off and there is a completely different way of doing this that I know nothing about??

Nestor Fernandez
06-09-2011, 7:10 PM
That's funny. Larry, we must have both been responding to this at the same time... I beat you by a hair. But, thanks for the explanation. That is what I figured, but I also think there is a way of placing the text, with no fill, over a filled background and then actually cutting the text out. I've done this before. I just can't remember how.

The other thing I'm wondering about is why doesn't the sponge burn and turn dark brown and crispy where you etch it. I would have guessed that the laser would destroy it. Nevertheless, I think this is a great idea and will probably be doing my own experimentation when I get some extra time.

EDIT:
Just found it.... Once you have created the text and filled background, you select them both and click on the "Trim" or "Simplify" icons that appear in the toolbar. This will essentially cutout the words from the background and will keep the fill/no fill of the letters.

Bill Cunningham
06-09-2011, 10:27 PM
At LAST!!!! I'm Spongeworthy:D

oscar martinez
06-10-2011, 2:29 AM
Greg when I grow up I wana be just like you . Good job on the sponge....
I dont even think the sponge bob producers have the sponge bob on sponge.

Belinda Williamson
06-10-2011, 8:31 AM
Greg, thanks so much for sharing! I have friends who are getting married soon (the couple who has everything) and I have been stumped on a weeding gift. Thanks to you I now have an idea for a very cool "honeymoon" gift basket including body wash, lotions, etc . . . and personalized sponges. :D

Martin Boekers
06-10-2011, 8:44 AM
Curious, Conde used to sell these sponges that you could sublimate. Are these sublimatable?

HeHeHe...... I think I may just have to make a handful cut like a coaster and set the on the bar
at the nieghborhood watering hole and watch the fun!

Great find!!!

Marty

Dee Gallo
06-10-2011, 9:13 AM
For those of you who might be interested, here is an email I got from Larry in answer to my questions:

Dee,

Thank you again for your inquiry. An assortment of samples will ship out early next week.


Our sincere thanks to Greg Bednar and all the engravers out there that have visited our website and requested samples and more information about compressed sponge. We will do our best to answer individual questions and requests but thought some general information might prove helpful.

The master sheets that we produce vary in size due to the nature of the raw material blocks we start with. Because of this, certain larger sizes of sheets are not very economical to produce because they create a lot of waste. For example, 12 x 18 and 12 x 24 sheets are not a good fit, but 11 x 17 and 11 x 23 work out great.

Compressed sheet thickness is expressed as the "expanded" or "wet" thickness. The most common thicknesses and therefore most available, are 3/8", 5/8", and 1".

Colors; our most popular and again the most available color is beige. White is also popular and usually available for quick delivery. Other colors are yellow, blue, green and pink. However, these colors are not always readily available.

We are a job-shop converter. We do not have any standard size products or a catalog. Everything we produce is to our customer's specifications. However, for your convenience we are providing pricing for the sizes and thicknesses listed above. Other sizes will be quoted on request. Our minimum order is $50.00 , FOB Akron, Ohio.

11" x 17" x 3/8" $2.79 each, 5/8' $ 4.69 each, 1" $7.49 each

11" x 23" x 3/8" $3.79 each, 5/8" $ 6.29 each, 1" $9.95 each

Thank you again for your interest.

Jeff Belany
06-10-2011, 10:43 AM
I have come up with another supplier that might be worth checking out:


Absorene Manufacturing Company, Inc.
2141 Cass Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63106
800-662-7399 (tel:800-662-7399)
www.absorene.com (http://www.absorene.com)

Always nice to have more than one supplier. Have not ordered yet but they responded very promptly.

Jeff in northern Wisconsin

Greg Bednar
06-10-2011, 10:51 AM
Well - there you have it. Prices, sizes, thicknesses, etc.. FYI - After you start to massage the different ways you can work with this material, the material disappears fast! It would be interesting to have a 3D architecture of sorts lased onto the sponges so after moistening, a small building or mountainscape reveals itself. My first thoughts were the Pyramids at Geza, ... I think you can see what I mean and follow along my line of thinking. I think this medium could lend itself very well to 3D product that can be shipped flat and then with a few drops of water, blossom into something cool. I also think soap holders with an area scooped out in the middle of the piece and perhaps a logo or text would be the bees knees for hotels, bath and tub areas. Is anyone following me here on this particular idea or have I had one too many cups of coffee?

Anyway, Dee, ( and others ) I hope these prices and sizes are amenable to all of you. - Greg

Greg Bednar
06-10-2011, 10:59 AM
Are these sublimatable?


I believe they are.

Ruben Salcedo
06-10-2011, 11:47 AM
Curious, Conde used to sell these sponges that you could sublimate. Are these sublimatable?

HeHeHe...... I think I may just have to make a handful cut like a coaster and set the on the bar
at the nieghborhood watering hole and watch the fun!

Great find!!!

Marty

Martin,

I was wishing they were sublimatable too, but my guess is that they may not, since they are made of cellulose which is a organic compound, sublimation just don't work with anything organic, I may be wrong though.


Ruben

Chuck Stone
06-10-2011, 11:54 AM
I also think soap holders with an area scooped out in the middle of the piece and perhaps a logo or text would be the bees knees for hotels, bath and tub areas. Is anyone following me here on this particular idea or have I had one too many cups of coffee?

We must be sharing a coffee pot.. the first thing that came to mind is some of the old hotels/bed/breakfast places
that have been around long enough to be landmarks (you know the ones.. everyone with a laser is sending them
wooden cutouts of their building to sell in their gift shops)
How about a sponge that pops out the hotel in relief? They could put one in each room and when people have
fun with them, they can buy a half dozen down in the gift shop before they go home.

Andrea Weissenseel
06-13-2011, 4:55 AM
It would be interesting to have a 3D architecture of sorts lased onto the sponges

that was the first thing that came to my mind :D, one could put faces, flowers, figurines ... just about everything on it - the Eiffel Tower would be fantastic *lol*

Does it cut clean, without burning residue or color changes ?

Frank Corker
06-13-2011, 8:21 AM
Andrea, I've seen these sponges that Greg engraved, on the slower settings there was a little bit of darkening, but the minute the sponge hit the water - not a trace of any burning. He has really hit on a great idea!

Greg Bednar
06-13-2011, 4:14 PM
and personalized sponges. :D

May I suggest "HERS" and "ALSO HERS" :-) and thanks for the compliment.

Mark Conde
06-13-2011, 8:01 PM
I never sold those sponges before.... Sorry I could help myself.
I kidded the folks in the Conde booth at the NBM that I was the owner...no one believed me haha.


Curious, Conde used to sell these sponges that you could sublimate. Are these sublimatable?

HeHeHe...... I think I may just have to make a handful cut like a coaster and set the on the bar
at the nieghborhood watering hole and watch the fun!

Great find!!!

Marty