Intro: Engraving Using a Sandblaster and Vinyl Stencil
I needed a gift for a friend and didn't have a lot of time to make it. I was at Cost Plus World Market for supplies (for another project) and discovered they sell small flasks for about $7. I decided that engraving his initials in it would make for a perfect gift.
TechShop San Jose's vinyl cutter and media blaster made this gift possible.
Step 1: Make a Stencil Using the Vinyl Cutter
Using the Flexistarter software on the PC, I made an outline of the initials. You can use any of the fonts that are loaded on the vinyl cutter PC. I selected a reasonably elegant font and cut the letters on a leftover piece of vinyl I had from another project.
Step 2: Weed the Vinyl and Apply Transfer Paper
Weeding is the process of removing the unwanted parts from your vinyl sticker. Since I wanted to etch the letters but leave the rest of the flask untouched, I just pulled out the letters.
The transfer paper helps to hold everything in place while you position it. I made a horizontal line above the letters to help align it on the flask.
Step 3: Apply the Vinyl Sticker
After peeling the paper off the back of the vinyl I carefully stuck it on the flask. Once it is positioned and stuck down I removed the transfer paper. I reused the transfer paper to protect the back side of the flask for the next step.
Step 4: Sandblast the Flask
Put the whole flask in the media blaster and carefully blast the surface. I held the flask about 12 inches away from the blast nozzle, as the vinyl can get damaged from the intense abrasive blast. After about 45 seconds of blasting, the engraving was done.
The media blaster doesn't photograph well, so all I have is an "after" photo.
Step 5: Remove the Stencil. Clean As Required
Ater carefully removing the vinyl, there was only a tiny bit of residue on the flask from the vinyl adhesive. This rubbed off easily with a clean cloth.