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technique

engraving options

We provide a number of engraving options to accommodate any design ranging from traditional diamond wheel to advanced sub surface laser engraving.  Each approach provides a different look to the finished piece.

The majority of our engraving is done with high wattage lasers – we like lasers because they provide a tremendous amount of detail oriented engraving styles with a lower cost to client.

Regardless, understanding the different types available is the purpose of this section.

etching and engraving

A high powered air compressor blasts media onto the surface of the material.  The design is protected through the use of a mask which kind of looks like a negative of the design being done.   The mask protects the material underneath from being etched (actually removed), so that when the mask is taken off only the exposed areas appear etched.

This technique is great for continuous coverage in areas.  Depending how long the design is blasted the material removed can be deeper for added effect.  Very fine details between exposed areas should be avoided.  Tone can be control by the artist much like using an airbrush in painting.  Consistency in multiple pieces is very high.

deep multi-stage engraving

This technique which is a variation of etching that allows for deeper contours to be added to the work by systematically revealing different regions of the mask.  Regions exposed earlier benefit from the deeper cuts from the next pass.  The overall effect creates a dimensional relief in the material which is stunning in glass.

Setup for these is the most arduous of all etching due to the multiple masks required and registration of the design.  They have the same coverage quality with added depth but still concern must be made when dealing with fine details between exposed areas.  Consistency in multiple pieces varies but can be controlled.

surface laser engraving

High powered lasers concentrate a beam of energy onto the material creating a tiny fracture on the surface.  The laser can control intensity and pulse of the beam allowing for very accurate designs with a high consistency for multiple pieces.  Detail is only limited to the size of the spot on the beam (typically 0.005 inches) and the stability of the material itself.

This technique works with many materials including glass and crystal although the defining edges on these can appear slightly rough when not properly set up.

sub surface laser engraving

Without getting into a technical dissertation (you can read some of it here) – sub surface laser engraving is truly a marvel to see when executed correctly and less than impressive when not. The reason we say this because when treated like a microwave (throwing in a model or scene to laser) the design gets lost with overlapping surfaces and visual clutter.

In a more positive note,  when the design is executed properly it has the ability to play with the viewer by leveraging its dimensional properties while retaining structure of design.  This is one of the areas we specialize having produced hundreds of original designs in this medium.

This technique only works with optical crystal and glass that has the composition to support laser engraving.  If you are considering having us design a piece for you, you should read some of the additional sections we have on our website (like here).

diamond wheel

The truly traditional art of wheel engraving is very beautiful on glass and crystal.  Most of you are more familiar with crystal loving cup or goblets which use with this age-old art form.

While we don’t do that traditional style of work (but know those that do should you desire one), we have used it for more geometric design in crystal as a background treatment.  The visual effect allows for crisper depths than deep engraving but is mostly limited to linear designs which is why we stay in that comfort area.  The refraction quality of these cuts can be further enhanced when polished as well.

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