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Thread: Sandblast resist

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Fulks Run, VA

    Sandblast resist

    I've got a couple of ideas for projects/ products in mind, but they call for learning to sand blast. It sounds like there are several people in the engraving business that include sandblasting in their business. My question is, what is used for sandblast resist (that can be cut with the laser) and where can I find it? I'm looking to do light blasting on glass, ceramics, metal and wood.

    I'm hoping to get away with a micro pen blaster, so I don't have to drop too much money into something that may not work for me. I'd love to hear any comments, ideas and or opinions. Thanks.

  2. #2
    My remarks may not be what you want to hear but I sold all my sandbalsting equipment earlier this year after being totally disgusted with minimum wage jobs and the very dirty process.

    Like many people I lasered my resists using a vinyl with very agressive adhesive. So let me take you through the steps of blasting a flat piece of glass which is easier than a wine bottle or glass.

    1. prepare the art
    2. clean the item and place the resist on it.
    3. laser the image removing it from the resist.
    4. wrap all parts of the piece which will not be blasted with transfer paper.
    5. blast, preferably with something like 150 grit aluminum oxide
    6. remove the wrap and resist
    7. wash and polish
    8. clean up your mess

    I forgot to mention, protect your eyes and your glasses from the aluminum oxide.

    Never once did I think I was adequately paid for a sandblast job and I didn't like anything about except the results which are better than lasering.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300, 80 watt
    Woodworking shop CLTT and Laser Sublimation
    Evolis Card Printer
    CorelDraw X5

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Amarillo, Texas

    We do both lasering and sandblasting/sandcarving.
    Sandblasting gives you a very polished product which has a greater preceived value in glass. Hence you should charge more for it. I use silicon carbide abrasive..180 and 220 grit, no static electricity. Laserbits sells a good resist for lasers.
    Photobrasive sells the wet and dry process resist plus everything else you need. They provide training also.

    If you would like hands-on training try offer in-depth training for sandcarving.

    As Mike has said, it is a lot of work and a bit messy, but we enjoy it.
    Equipment - LaserPro 30w, Explorer II, Camaster Stinger III,
    Software - CorelDraw X3, Aspire 8.02

  4. #4 sells a pretty good laserable resist; drawback is the widths available and it 'aint cheap.
    A Stone Canvas
    60w VY-TEK FX/2, Adobe Illustrator/ Photoshop Elements, Corel X4, Photograv 3.0, Sandcarving, Stage Blasting, Stained Glass, Scrimshanding, all mobile studio.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Rio Rancho, NM
    We have a Problast by Vaniman Manufacturing, and it is a completely enclosed unit. Follow the steps posted by Mike Null above, except forget the last one. The piece to be blasted goes into the "hopper" and the lid gets locked down, side the hands into the built-in rubber gloves (think of a baby incubator), turn on the compressor and blast away. Remove hands, open lid, remove piece, remove wrap and resist, wash and polish. No mess to clean up with this enclosed unit, and the blasting abrasive accumulates in the bottom and can be reused.

    No sweat, no strain, no pain, no clean-up.

    Nancy Laird
    Owner - D&N Specialties, Rio Rancho, New Mexico
    Woodworker, turner, laser engraver; RETIRED!
    Lasers - ULS M-20 (20W) & M-360 (40W), Corel X4 and X3
    SMC is user supported.
    It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton Waters
    I'm looking to do light blasting on glass, ceramics, metal and wood.

    I'm hoping to get away with a micro pen blaster,
    If you're interested in getting into sandblasting on a budget, you may consider getting a Paasche AEC-K Air Eraser - I use one to etch stemware using a 220 or finer grit and the results are great.
    A Stone Canvas
    60w VY-TEK FX/2, Adobe Illustrator/ Photoshop Elements, Corel X4, Photograv 3.0, Sandcarving, Stage Blasting, Stained Glass, Scrimshanding, all mobile studio.

  7. #7

    The Rayzist laser mask is called LazerMask (note the z). They used to have a video on LazerMask which may help. You could also try Innotec at They sell a mylar laser mask.

    I have experimented lasering both but have never tried sandblasting. Get some samples and try for yourself. I think the LazerMask is intended to be applied to the item and lasered then sandblasted. The Innotape product has a clear carrier layer so it looks like you can laser it flat then apply to an item. But I am not positive about this, as it has been a while since I looked at it. You might need an extra layer of transfer tape to do this. Some people say standard mylar sign material will work (mylar not vinyl).

    What you are proposing will probably allow you to "frost" an image onto glass, likely similar to acid etching in appearance. Probably a good way to start. (I'm looking at trying something similar.)

    If you try sandcarving/etching with the microblaster and you don't like it or can't make money with it at least you won't have a huge amount of money tied up. You can buy table top "gloveboxes" for less than $200 and you can get by with a shop compressor.

    To go to deep sandcarving you would need some serious equipment, a large compressor, lots of space, a way to deal with noise of compressor, dust issues, etc. That is a different ballgame.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Sammamish, WA
    The laserable resists work fine for the degree of blasting used on glass, ceramics, some metals, or light etching on wood. For serious blasting (depth) on metal, wood or stone, you need serious stencil material. As a sign maker I have done sandblasted redwood and cedar signs for about 14 years now. We use a plotter or hand (xacto) cut rubber stencil made by Anchor (#153). Also, on big work I don't try to blast it myself, but send it to an associate who has a 1" diameter nozzle, and a sand hopper as big as a small room.

    Sammamish, WA

    Epilog Legend 24TT 45W, had a sign business for 17 years, now just doing laser work on the side.

    "One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop." G. Weilacher

    "The handyman's secret weapon - Duct Tape" R. Green

  9. #9
    I am working on 5 glass awards right now. These are flat, so I will use Laser tape (availabe from laserbits or photoabrasive) set in the laser, laser the design, mask the sides and back (very important) and then take over to my self contained sandblast cabinet for blasting. Most of the time is in the masking and removal, the blasting is pretty quick. I discounted these as a first order, but am still charging $ 100.00 each. Cost of the glass blanks and base is $ 26.00, the size is 9"x5" with only a few lines of text and a small logo, so laser time is estimated at 10 minutes and then maybe 10 minutes to tape, blast and clean up. They are stunning awards and I am sure more orders will follow. Glass has a very high preceived value, and is not discounted too much or at all on the internet.

    I have also done some wonderfull multi stage carvings using the laser to vector cut the outlines and then peeling the mask off in stages to blast.

    I find it as rewarding as the laser alone, but the two toghether allow for some very creative items.

    I did some lasering in glass for a client who purchased thier own laser and was having some problems and needed help with a deadline. We used only the laser. I was disapointed with the results knowing how much better the items would have looked had we masked and blasted.

    good luck!

    Mark Plotkin
    Epilog Mini 45w X3

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Fulks Run, VA
    Thanks for all the great info. Theres a lot to go through and think about. Thanks again.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Innisfil Ontario Canada
    Sandblasting really works nice, however, in the absence of the blasting equipment, Lasering the glass 'can' come out looking pretty good. I did 5 or 6 of these for the engineering dept. of a University. This piece is 1/4" thick 9 x 18, and reverse etched..
    The background rowmark sheet was all I had handy when I took the pic.. This stuff always looks better with a black background
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    New Zealand

    I'm with Mike

    I have been sandblasting for years and have always detested the work. 90% of my work is on wine glasses and it is quite difficult to get the mask to go on smoothly due to the shape. Despite being reasonably good at splitting in the right places to relieve pressure, it is far from unusual to have to make another when it is not quite right and ends up with wrinkles in the wrong places.
    I also have a problast cabinet and there is still a mess to clean up. Don't forget that the mask has to be removed and the article washed or dusted off in some way.
    I'm embarrassed to tell customers the price I want to blast a $5 glass, when I know my opposition will laser them for about $4 to $8 each.
    Granted, they look a heck of a lot better blasted, but the "average joe" will not notice the difference unless they are side by side.
    Of course I am stupid enough to be so fussy that I will laser a glass using transfer tape as a mask, then finish off with a light sandblast for truly great finish. It is difficult to do a shoddy job, when you know that for a little more effort, you can do a good one.

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