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SQ - Volume 3, Number 1 1999

Volume 3, Number 1 • 1999

Randy Willis

April Sparr

Bryan Nilsen
Adam Souders

Contributing Writers
Roderick Geis
Diego Gonzalez
April Sparr
Roger Souders
Billy Willis

Profit Potential: Specialty Item Market...
How Sandcarving Makes Its Mark

Questions & Answers
Sandcarving vs. Laser Engraving
Finding the Right Computer

Words to Live By
Squeaky Wheels Get The Grease
Successful Business Principles

Portfolio Spotlight
Correia Art Glass
Every Piece a Work of Art

Tips & Secrets
Do A Little Jig
Simple Jigs To Help Increase Production
Words to Live By
Squeaky Wheels Get The Grease
by Roger Souders

It's Friday morning; running a bit late you finally make it out the door and off to work. Not warming up the car, you jump in and you're off. Slowing down for the first stop light, you hear a high pitched squeaking noise. Wondering what it is, you hear it again as you step on the brake for the next light. Then it dawns on you: it's time for new brakes.

Some ingenious person came up with the idea of installing a device inside brake pads so when they wore down, a squeaking noise would warn you before it was too late. Prior to the invention, one would hear a grinding sound demanding a more expensive repair.

How many of us periodically have our brakes inspected? The facts are most people get their brakes fixed because they heard squeaky wheels. It's true, squeaky wheels get the grease!

The following excerpt from the Bible was written over two thousand years ago.

"Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, `Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.' "Then the one inside answers, `Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.' I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."

Today, squeaky wheels still get the grease. You will accomplish much more in life if you understand and put to work the "squeaky wheel principle."

We are Dependent on Others
Like the examples above, we must realize that we as individuals are dependent on the involvement and performance of others. In business, your success is dependent upon the performance of both your suppliers and buyers.

The Squeaky Wheel Principle
The squeaky wheel principle is the art of getting suppliers to supply and buyers to buy based on directing their attention to your needs until they perform. I said "art" because this requires special communication to learn when and how to do this, without compromising a healthy relationship.

In a perfect world we would never have to be a squeaky wheel, however, there is not enough time to build every relationship to that level of trust and confidence. You see, our suppliers and buyers have their own list of suppliers and buyers and their own goals. This means that you may not be at the top of their list or foremost in their mind. So, we must realize that we are competing for the attention of our suppliers and buyers and that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Knowing When to Squeak
When you are dependent on the performance of others for your own success, the following conditions may warrant the use of the squeaky wheel principle when:

  1. It's a new relationship and you have no experience of performance.
  2. The track record has not been good.
  3. A track record has been good but you are now dealing with a new person.
  4. The timing of their performance is critical to yours.
  5. You're not getting results with the person you're dealing with.

Knowing How to Squeak
I mentioned earlier that maintaining a healthy relationship should be included as one of the objectives when being a squeaky wheel. To accomplish this, think about how you can communicate to direct attention to your needs without sounding like you're squeaking. Being friendly, letting people know that they are an important part of your success and expressing appreciation are all things that will help, especially if you are in the process of building a relationship. I am not saying that candid, strong, communication is never in order. However, this type of squeaking should only occur if someone has completely failed to perform.

Questions and Answers
Problem Solving
by Billy Willis and Roderick Geis, contributing writers

What is the Difference between Sandcarving and Laser Engraving?
Laser Engraving glass utilizes the intense heat of a laser beam to create hairline "chips" into its surface. The Chipping effect, or track marks, leave a permanent "etch" in the glass. Since lead cannot absorb the heat of the beam, the higher the lead content within the glass, the more ragged looking the effect. This is why 24% lead crystal cannot be laser engraved, but carves beautifully. In crystal even the higher lead contents cause the chipping effect to look even worse. Laser engraving into any surface is limited to a surface etch only and its finish will always reflect the track marks left by path of the laser beam.

Sandcarving is achieved by propelling abrasive onto a surface under compressed air. Wherever the abrasive contacts its surface, it roughens and subsequently erodes the surface it comes into contact with. When used with a photomask (a.k.a. photo resist) sandcarving can quickly and effectively reproduce a wide range of personalization, designs, and logos on numerous surfaces with phenomenal detail. Depth is unlimited in concept but usually constrained by detail within the image. (You can't blast any deeper than a line is wide). The abrasive (usually #150 grit aluminum oxide or silicon carbide) is delicate enough to leave behind a relatively smooth surface. Different grits will achieve smoother or coarser effects.

Combining the Two: According to Billy Willis of Rayzist Photomask their company has brought the two technologies together with an Epilog endorsed product called LaserMask™. Willis says, the product was created for sandcarvers who would like to use their laser engraver to create a resist for sandcarving. The product has non-PVC, non-corrosive properties allowing a laser beam to accurately cut into it at high speeds. It boasts that no dangerous gases are emitted or harmful corrosion will be caused to the lasers lenses, mirrors and inner surfaces. Rayzist notes the product is water-soluble allowing for easy clean up.

What Kind of Computer System Do I Need to Make my Own Photomasks?
As with all computer related ironies, the below recommendations will be outdated by the time you read this.

Macintosh or PC? It really doesn't matter anymore. Prices are coming down on Mac's. PC's have all the same high-end graphic software needed, and with the advent of Microsoft Windows 95, they offer an easy to use operating system. If you have used and liked one or the other… stick with it. PC's still have the advantage of a lower price and a greater availability of non-graphic oriented software.

Software: The core software for the sandcarver is generally a draw (illustration) application. Draw applications allow for vector (line art) images, providing the smoothest edges possible and the capability to scale artwork to any size. File sizes for draw applications are generally very small and can easily be transmitted by email. Complementary applications would include paint programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Corel Paint and bitmap to vector conversion programs such as Adobe Streamline or Corel Trace. Paint programs allow you to scan in or design highly detailed artwork that can subsequently be placed into your draw program. Bitmap to vector conversion programs allow you to scan in artwork and convert it into a format the can be edited within the draw program.

Minimum PC:

Intel Pentium II 350Mhz
4 GB Hard Drive
Video Card w/4 MB RAM
Microsoft Windows 95
17" .26 dp NI Monitor
Estimated cost: $1500+
Minimum Macintosh:

PowerPC G3 266Mhz
4 GB Hard Drive
4 MB SGRAM (Video)
System 8.0
17" .26 dp NI Monitor
Estimated cost: $2500+


Recommended Hardware

Min. Optical Res: 600x600 dpi
Manufacturers: Agfa, Hewlett Packard

Laser printers ONLY
Min. Res: 600x600 dpi
Manufacturers: Hewlett Packard

Recommended Software

Professional Level
Adobe Illustrator 8.0 ($370)
Macromedia Freehand 8.0 ($400)
Adobe Photoshop 5.0 ($600)
Adobe Streamline 4.0 ($125)

Low cost alternative
Corel Draw 8.0 ($450)

Profit Potential
by April Sparr, editor

Why is Sandcarving so Unique?
In addition to consistency and detail, sandcarving with a photomask can create simple to complex multi-stage carvings in just minutes. Simply remove different portions of the photomask one after the other to carve a beautiful, three dimensional effect. Alternatives such as acid etching, hand cutting, engraving tools, diamond cutting, wheel cutting, and laser engraving are either limited in depth, time consuming, expensive, require much skill on the part of the engraver or all of the above. In contrast, with just a minimal investment of time and money, the look and feel of sandcarving offers a much higher perceived value to similar items engraved by these other methods. Becoming increasingly more popular each year, sandcarved glass, crystal, marble, granite gifts, trophies and awards are quickly replacing the demand for wood, metal, and other engraved products.

Industry Facts
Ad specialty items (an advertising or promotional message placed on or with a useful item and given without obligation) reap over $9 billion dollars in profits every year. Of that figure, over $100 million dollars is spent on sandcarved products alone. Conservative industry projections indicate between a 15-20% growth rate for the next several years. That figure is likely to increase significantly as sandcarved products are moved into main stream gift giving arenas.

Where the Money is Being Made
Approximately 80% of the money spent on carved ad specialty products are for corporate awards - followed closely by the trophy and award industry and the gift market (ie; decorative glass, wedding market, etc).

Consider the following examples:
Profit potential will vary depending on whether you plan to carve low, mid, or high end pieces.

Ceramic Mugs, Barware, Drinkware

Product & Labor: $2.65
Whole Sale: $6.00
Retail: $12.00
Profit: $3.35 - $9.35

Product & Labor: $5.60- $9.00
Whole Sale: $14.00 - $16.00
Retail: $16.00 - $18.00
Profit: $7.00 - $10.00


Trophy and Awards

Product & Labor: $35.45
Whole Sale: $65.00
Retail: $92.75
Profit: $40.00 - $60.00

Product & Labor: $37.50
Whole Sale: $76.00
Retail: $107.50
Profit: $50.00 - $75.00


Multi-Stage Carvings, Larger Trophy and Awards, Crystal Items

Product/Labor: $213.00
Whole Sale: $440.00
Retail: $629.00
Profit: $215.00-$400.00

Product & Labor: $74.00
Whole Sale: $153.50
Retail: $220.00
Profit: $79.50 - $146.00


Portfolio Spotlight
Correia Art Glass: Every Piece a Work of Art

Founded in 1973 by Steven V. Correia, Correia Art Glass is dedicated to providing some of the finest freehand-blown art glass in the world. Correia Art Glass is of the highest quality and most elegant design. The skilled artists at Correia Art Glass use the freehand techniques and tools of centuries past while applying new technology that produces superior results. The nation's great museums own Correia Art Glass. It is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, the Corning Museum and the Chrysler Museum of Art. Each year Correia Art Glass also receives commissions for special pieces from corporations and public institutions and is included in the White House art holdings.

Algerine Correia, President of Correia Art Glass, is an artist who oversees the daily running of the company. She designs that classic, more traditional pieces of Correia Art Glass, inspired by nature. She works on a daily basis with the glass blowing artisans in the heat of the creative process, assuring the highest quality product.

Jeffery Correia is an artist in tune with contemporary art glass, equally at home on the glass-blowing floor. His avant-garde design statements keep Correia Art Glass in the forefront of studio glass. He and his sister Algerine cherish being able to create their own designs for the retail market and for one-of-a kind commissions.




"Glass is a sensitive and unique material-and one with a certain bewitching magic.
Whoever has yielded to it's power can never give it up." Gunnel Nyman (1909-1948)

Tips & Secrets
Do A Little Jig: Simple Jigs To Help Increase Production

by Diego Gonzales

Imagine all the time you could save in production if only you didn't have tape off the remainder of your item with blasting tape...

...If you find yourself doing more and more production jobs these days, or if you find yourself doing smaller jobs of the same items over and over again, then these tips are for you. Imagine all the time you could save by not having to tape off the remainder of your items. The following ideas are easy to make and inexpensive ways of saving you some valuable time:

For small production runs or frequent small jobs, make a jig out of cardboard and blasting tape. We will use a standard 15 oz mug for our example:

Tools Needed: cardboard, duct tape, sharp blade

  1. Measure the height and width of the mug
  2. Trace the outline of the article onto the cardboard
  3. Cut the tracing out
  4. Fold the cardboard around the mug and tape it together with blasting tape or a vinyl duct tape.
  5. With a sharp blade, cut out a window large enough to expose the image area of your photomask.
  6. Tape off the entire surface of the cardboard with blasting tape. This will lengthen the life of the jig and add durability.

For mid to large production runs (300-400 times) make a jig out of styrene.

Tools Needed: 1/16" abs styrene (obtained from a plastic supplier), heat gun or hair dryer, heavy-duty gloves

  1. Place styrene over the face of the item to be blasted.
  2. Heat styrene with a heat gun until it begins to melt and bend.
  3. When the styrene is warm, use gloves to shape the plastic around your item in order to form the mold.
  4. Allow the styrene and the item to cool.
  5. With a sharp blade, cut out a window large enough to expose the image area of your photomask.
  6. Apply your photomask and use the jig instead of taping off!

Clever Thinking...

Try these simple but effective ideas:

Flutes: Get a bicycle tube large enough to slide over the flute. Cut a window and go for it. The snug fit of the rubber won't allow the sand to creep in underneath during blasting.

Plates: If small enough, use a paper plate to cover the surface and cut a window.

Curved frames: UPS, FED EX, or other letter packs work well to cover the frame side of the item. Make a larger mask for the engraving side to avoid taping off.

© Copyright 1999-2003 Rayzist Photomask

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