I am looking for someone to make stencils for my Sandblasting Machine on Glass – any ideas?
This is an interesting question, as sandblasting stencils are available in various different forms.
You might be looking for someone with a ‘plotter cutter’ if you have a linear design in digital format that you want a computer to cut out from sticky-backed vinyl for you. If this is the case, any company that deals with either sign-making or exhibitions will be able to help you. They’ll tell you what format they need your design in.
Alternatively, if you want something that is smaller (up to A4), with a high level of detail, then a photo stencil might be better for you. These use photoresist, which is a material that is photographically exposed and processed and used to resist the sandblast stream.
AICELLO Chemical supply the APM film, but you need access to a UV exposure unit and facilities for pressure washing out the film – you could ask a local screen-printer if they provide the service.Glass etching and sandblasting yields some fantastic results – I hope this helps you with your project.
Cheaper to make your own!
As someone who has hit the glass and mirror etching world with a storm, and I can tell you this from study and practice. USCutter.com sells a very inexpensive vinyl plotter, that runs off any computer with a USB port.
It comes with a program (full version) called Sure-Cuts-Alot, which is truly amazing. Just save your graphics in a .PNG format, or .SVG file, and the program will cut them out for you.
They also sell various colors of vinyl. Mine the MH2 12″ unit was around $199 (US). The rolls of vinyl for this width are only $37 (US) for 50 yards, and we use ours to letter signs and vehicles, as well as for etching stencils. You can see some of my work at http://RogerAndDave.com I highly recommend this way, as purchasing the stencils is both time consuming and expensive.
That’s a brilliant tip, thanks Dave. Sounds like an absolute must for anyone doing a serious amount of etching, and not too much of a financial layout either.
Thanks for sharing, much appreciated.
Hand made stencils
You can easily make the stencils yourself. This of course is based on what it is you’re trying to accomplish. It takes a little practice but the results are well worth it. There are a few materials which will allow you to reuse your stencil and then there is the kind that is one time only. Hand made stencils can be accomplished with contact paper and an exacto knife. I have been sandblasting for over 20 years and use a variety of methods, but still go back to the basic way. It just takes a little practice.
Milly’s reply: Thanks for your great comments – it’s fantastic to get advice from someone with 20years’ glass etching and sandblasting experience!