Start a Sandcarving Business

CARVE YOUR STORY!

Rayzist Photomask has been building relationships and Sandcarving businesses since 1983. Starting a Sandcarving business is a low investment with an easy learning curve. Our experienced and knowledgeable team is ready to help get you started.

Support

  • Training videos on our YouTube.com/Sandcarving channel
  • Hands-on workshops at Rayzist Photomask
  • How to articles
  • Technical support

 

The Many Surfaces of Sandcarving

The Sandcarving engraving method offers a wide range of products and industries. Whether you are creative or not so creative Sandcarving with photoresist film allows you to create beautiful, simple, or detailed imagery in various materials. Personalize spirit, wine and champagne bottles with a simple Happy Birthday, Congratulations or Happy Anniversary.

Barware is another ideal product to Sandcarve. Glasses, wine glasses, decanters, whiskey glasses, ceramics mugs and more.

Sandcarving creates depth in glass, crystal, stone and wood. The depth is the wow factor in the etched product. Add a Color Fill to create a contrast on darker materials such as stone, wood or wine bottles.

Natural Stone such as granite, tile, river rock, brick look great Sandcarved. Donor recognition, signage, pet memorials or garden rocks are ideal products to Sandcarve. Sandcarving allows depth in natural stone with an optional Color Fill. Photoresist film or LazerMask is also flexible and can be applied to a curved shape.

 

Multi Stage sandcarved eagle
Sandcarved Champange Bottle
Sandcarved Etch Decanter Glass Set
Sandblasted ceramic mugs
Sandcarved Pet Memorial

Preparation in 3 Easy Steps

Apply Mask

Apply the photo mask to a dust and debris-free area where you’d like to etch your image.

Squeegee Mask to Substrate

Use plastic squeegee and apply pressure to secure the photo mask to the substrate.

Remove Protective Liner

Remove clear liner from mask. This is to maintain the integrity of the masking and image.

Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started

Masking Kits

Graphic Programs

Sandcarving System

Printers

Lazer

Getting Started

What do I need to get started?

Rayzist makes starting a Sandcarving business easy with our multiple equipment packages. You only need a few items: a sandcarving system, mask making kit, air compressor, printer and graphic program.

Starting a Sandcarving business requires limited investment, it’s low maintenance, and relatively straightforward. A Sandcarving system combined with our photoresist film will allow you to achieve an engraved depth on virtually any surface such as crystal, glass, natural stone, wood, fused glass, blown glass, stained glass, and much more. All metal surfaces can be sandcarved, but you will not achieve depth, you will only etch away the top surface/coating/plating and leave behind a satin like finish, the same would be true on plastics.

Where do I get Sandblasting stencils (Sandcarving masks)?
There are three methods to produce a sandblasting stencil:

  1. Produce your own photoresist stencil.

Our mask making kits include everything you need to start creating your own photoresist stencils (other than a graphic program and printer).  Print a black and white (black = blast) vector image on our print film, expose the print film to the photoresist film, and develop by washing out the image. Once the photoresist is dry, apply it to your substrate and sandcarve.

  1. Use our Custom Mask Service

Our Custom Mask service is convenient and easy to use. Just email your artwork to us and we will send you finished stencils, ready to sandcarve. We can produce any size up to 40”x50” in small or large quantities. When “time in money,” this service will easily pay for itself.

  1. Use LazerMask with your Co2 Laser Engraver

LazerMask is our sandblasting film made specifically for laser engravers. There is no photo process development: apply LazerMask to the substrate, laser (Vector or Raster) the design and sandcarve. The LazerMask is easy to apply and remove, plus it gives you the option to paint fill the etched area. Co2 and Fiber lasers can be used and in combination to mark metal surfaces and add an industrial coating like enameled paint fills.
Note: Vector images will require weeding and a Raster image requires weeding of the design. Raster images are used in most cases.

Graphics

What type of graphic program do I need?
You will need to produce black and white vector images. Graphic programs such as “Corel Draw” or “Abode Illustrator” are required to create 100% black and white vector images for the photoresist stencil’s artwork.

A printer is required to print artwork for the mask making process. It is important to have a very dark print from your printer for this process.

Printers

What type of printer do I need?

We recommend inkjet printers for this process. Inkjet printers allow you to change the print settings, giving you more options for an opaque print. Inkjet print film is also clear, giving you the best detail possible in photoresist film. When choosing an inkjet printer, make sure it will print on transparencies this feature will ensure the printer will print on the clear inkjet film. Some consumer-based Inkjet printers have print sensors, which prohibit the use of clear printing film.

Note: We do not recommend laser printers due the printing of light prints. Light prints will not produce a quality photoresist mask.

Sandcarving Systems

What type of Sandcarving system is right for me?

First, how much Sandcarving do you see yourself doing? If you plan on having a business of offering etched product and blasting for 2+ hours per day than you need to look at systems with premium dust filtration such as the 2034VXA for best results. Second, what size items do you see yourself sandblasting? If you plan on sandblasting large items, then this will determine what size blasting cabinet will meet your needs. Our 1924 Sandcarving system is equipped with a 24”W x 24”H x 19”D blasting area, compared to the 2034VXA has a large cabinet measuring 34”W x24”H x 22”D. The size of the cabinet limits what size items you can blast. Remember you can blast small items in a large cabinet, but you cannot blast large items in a small cabinet.

Rayzist manufactures the cleanest and highest quality systems available today. Every system is self-contained, recycles abrasive and includes a dust filtration system. We offer three sizes, each one with your specific needs in mind. They are available in 110volt and 220volt (for international destinations). All of our Sandcarving machines are pressure pot systems. The Sandcarving system removes the surface of the substrate creating depth etching the surface.

What size air compressor do I need?
An air compressor is required to operate the sandcarving system. The greater the capcity of the motor and holding tank is alwasy better. A mininum requirement of an air compressor is 2HP compressor, under ‘specs’ of an air compressor: the minimum requirement is (free air – 5.3 to 5.5 CFM @ 90psi). This CFM requirement is suggested for a blasting pressure of 40PSI or lower.  If you desire to blast at high pressure, such at 50PSI or greater or you are opertating at production level then a larger air compressor is required.
What maintenance is required on Rayzist Sandcarving system?
A Rayzist Sandcarving system requires minimal maintenance, however like any piece of machinery the more you use it the more you need to maintain the system. The first items to replace are generally the abrasive and blasting nozzle. Both items will wear overtime and need replacement. The wear time depends on the type of abrasive, as well as the hours of sandcarving. For example, if you blast mainly stone which is harder than glass, your abrasive will break down quicker. Our Tungsten Carbide Nozzles, after 40 hours of sandcarving, will start to wear and eventually need replacing. Other replacement items last much longer, such as: the foot pedal, foot switch valve gasket, sandblast hose, and dust collector bags. View the Equipment Manual to find the recommended replacement time for these items.
Can I use any sandblast system?

There are several sandblast systems available and with a wide price range. Typically, a search for sandblast systems will result in Siphon systems which are industrial type equipment designed to remove paint, rust or resurface. In many cases these systems leave you with finding a dust filtration and no technical support. Industrial sandblast systems are equipped with large nozzles (often ceramic), large blast hoses and consume 3x more air which makes it difficult to sandcarve detailed images.

We recommend and use direct pressure Pressure Pot systems with a 3/32 nozzle and a pressure regulator which controls your blasting pressure. Rayzist Sandcarving Systems are designed for the decorative/personalization markets, etching glass, crystal, stone, wood, metal, and other fine products. The premium lighting, media separation, and dust filtration allows you to view the etching inside the cabinet and have a clean working environment.

What is the difference between a Pressure Pot system and Siphon system?
A direct pressure Pressure Pot is foot pedal operated with a Tungsten Carbide 3/32 nozzle and a durable, yet light weight blasting hose. A Pressure Pot system uses direct pressure to sandcarve faster and more efficiently than a Siphon system. A Siphon system or gravity fed system is equipped with usually an oversized handgun for a large blast nozzle. Squeeze the handgun and the blasting stream is vacuumed up a suction tube. These systems are effective for cleaning and general surface preparation.

Siphon Blaster

Siphon blast systems operate with the principle of low surface impact different than a direct pressure blast pot. A Siphon blast pot using a handgun with larger nozzles it also draws material via suction into the stream of air instead of the blast media being pressurized via direct pressure. Siphon blasting are most effective for cleaning application and not designed to etch depth into glass or stone due to the low impact effect.

Pressure Blast Pots

Pressure Pots are sealed pressure vessels and build pressure that is provided by a compressor. The pressurized air is pushed out of the blast hose where media is mixed with the air. Pressure blasting has a variety of benefits over a Siphon sandblast pot. Pressure blast pots are faster than Siphon blasters because they cause blast media to impact the surface of a product with a lot more force. The increased force that media will impact the surface allows you to sandcarve faster from a surface etch to deep etch. Some would think direct pressure would use more compressed air, but it uses about half the volume of airflow required to operate verses a Siphon system. Rayzist Sandcarving Systems use only pressure pots that are ASME rated (American Society of Mechanical Engineers). ASME rating ensures that your sandblast pressure pot will safely tolerate high pressure. Pressure pot systems are priced higher in cost in comparisons to a Siphon blast pot. The higher cost is a result of a welded and ASME certified pressure vessel.

Can I use the Rayzist 100lb Portable Pressure Pot with my existing blast cabinet?
You can upgrade your siphon system with our 100 lb. Portable Pressure Pot and use  your existing blast cabinet. The Portable Pressure Pot will blast faster and give your more control over sandcarving. The 100lb Pressure Pot is also designed for on-site projects such as donor recognition or substrates that will not fit in a blasting cabinet. Simply connect your air compressor to operate.

Note: Use proper protection (face mask, gloves and breathing helmet) when operting a portable pressure pot outside of a blasting cabinet.

 

Laser

I have a laser, why should I buy a Sandcarving system?
A laser engraver is a great engraving machine and there are many benefits to owning a laser engraver, but a laser engraver lacks in producing a deep etch into glass and crystal. Sandcarving systems provide depth into stone, brick pavers, glass, optic crystal, wood and provide the option to add a paint fill. There is no special equipment needed when etching large or odd shaped projects. A laser engraver can use our LazerMask sandcarving film to produce stencils for sandcarving.
Can I use my plotter with vinyl instead of photoresist material?
Vinyl can be used for sandcarving instead of photoresist film. Photoresist film captures the detail of the design without weeding and removes easily from the substrate.