Halftone photo engraving is lucrative business and using sandblasting technique with Rayzist PhotoMask film produces stunning results. In this article I will show you what you need to be able do halftone etching in your business. We'll go through equipment and facility requirements and options for ProBlast to make the stencils for you.
Software and Computer Skills
Preparation of the halftone images requires software that can turn images into halftones. Software such as Adobe Photoshop or Coreldraw makes it easy to do. However the quality of the image is important and when you have a bad quality images there will be some manipulation work to get the photo as good as can be. This takes some computer skills which can be easily learnt through searching google or YouTube.
You also will need an Inkjet printer that will print at least Legal size paper (most do). The printer does not have to be super expensive but not super cheap. We recommend a good printer here
Producing the PhotoMask
Non-processed PhotoMask can be handled under normal room light such as Fluro and LED but not natural sunlight. You need a space in your workshop that does not get any natural sunlight when handling non-processed PhotoMask. Once the mask has been developed (washed out) it can get exposed to sunlight but during exposure and wash out process it must not get sunlight.
Exposure and Washout Equipment
The most common way to obtain all of the equipment you need is to purchase Masking Making Kit either the standard kit or the Monument Kit. This kit gives you everything you need including an exposure system that can expose up to 280mm x 355mm, A water spray hose and clip board, PhotoMask and the accessories required. This approach is what 95% of customers go with.
For large production facilities you could consider Washout machines which are pretty expensive but can produce consistent high volume work. The price of these systems range between $9,000 and $20,000. Most people are happy to go with the manual washout hose.
For larger sized PhotoMask resists you can increase your exposure size by going with the flat bed exposure unit which can expose up to 50cm x 60cm sheets. Keep in mind a standard roll of PhotoMask is 35cm wide. There is a wider roll option in 5mil as well.
It is essential that you have piped warm water for the development of the image into the PhotoMask. We recommend around 40 degree Celsius ( or simply put - shower temperature) for washing out the PhotoMask. So you need a tap with a 1/2 inch male thread to attach the wash out hose to.
The maximum grit size recommended is 80grit. We use Aluminium Oxide but Garnet can also be used. You can use finer abrasive such as 150grit.
Any blaster will do the job. Pressure pot is always preferred and a system that allows good visual of the engraving section while blasting. Our range of Rayzist sandblasting cabinets are exceptional for any type of fine details engraving work. Halftones can also be engraved on the CNC AutoBlaster
Set Up Costs
These costs are based on current pricing at the time of this article and washout machine pricing are estimates.
|Complete Masking Kit Standard||Click Here||28cm x 35cm||Local|
|Complete Masking Kit Monument Industry||Click Here||28cm x 35cm||Local|
|Large Format exposure System||Click Here||50cm x 60cm||Local|
|10ft of PhotoMask||$250|
|WOS1020||$9,000||28cm x 35cm||Plus Shipping||International|
|WOS1232||$16,000||28cm x 70cm||Plus Shipping||International|
|WOS1650||$20,000||40cm x 175cm||Plus Shipping||International|