Mike’s Makers: Engraving with a sandblaster
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Mike’s Makers: Engraving with a sandblaster

what do you think of when you hear the
word engraving is it something like chipping out a design in stone or maybe
even using a chisel to carve something out of wood maybe it’s even lasers but I
bet you didn’t think about sandblasters get ready to meet this father-son duo
who specialized in using a sand blaster to do their engraving I’m Mike price and
this is Mike’s makers I’m Wayne Hubbard
I’m Colton Hubbard
and we’re sand carves well it’s kind of a unique process it’s a little bit different than
your typical engravers do engravers will go in they don’t have a template they
always follow the machine will actually follow that template what we do is we
create a template and then we use sand in a blasting system to carve away the
material within that design we’ve pretty much built this from the ground up I
need to maintain about four cubic feet a minute on the sand blaster I decided to
bring it in through the house but I use a water separator here and an oil
separator to keep as much out of the house as possible this is normally in
next to my cabinet but this is the HEPA filter it’s a Minuteman
it’s a hands-down the most expensive piece of equipment that I own
even the air compressor cost less than the shop vac does to take out the HEPA
filtration on it from there it comes into the system after it passes through
three other filters and then I split it off from there goes to my cabinet
through this which is my regulator for this cabinet alone I have a little
cabinet in there that we run off of another airline that it’s pressures
regulated there because every cabinet uses a different pressure every material
takes a different pressure so I can adjust this here with just a matter of
moving my hand down and adjusting everything fine-tuning
once it comes into there I used a hand shutoff valve here because I hated the
one inside the cabinet it all the time and fiddling with it and
then my line fills with sands for the first minute I’m waiting for the sand to
get out of the line here I shut it off before what they call a pressure pot
this is what they call a pressurized sand pot you take this off we use the
filtration system to filter out all our sand we put about 40 pounds worth of
material into here it sucks it out of the bottom blows up into my nozzle which
is another hand made nozzle I can get the detail of a laser engraver using
sand I work with mainly rocks I do glass I do metal we do pendants
down to one inch we do seashells I’ve done plastic wood meteorites granite you
name it we have probably tried to etch on it we’ve got probably nine going
right now of people wanting to memorialize their mom their dad their
grandfather aunts their uncles their sisters brothers and things like that
though the ones that create me the most heartache is when I’m doing a child or a
baby this is what the first step of the blast system looks like if it gets up
there there it is can you see how much actually sand now I’ve got the stream
I’m looking for let’s see how that’s glowing at the end of my finger oh yeah
that is the usable zone that gives you the best glass when I grab this I grab
it by the tape and I start at a straight angle away give it a quick blast over
the top of what I’m etching and then I can kind of go in and make
the design pop a little bit and the same thing away I twisted that away in my
blast away flip it upside down shut my nozzle off and then I put in here my own
little air valve so that I can clean off any extra sand before it comes out of
here and now she can open up I’ll show you how easy that peels real quick if I had fingernails I only missed those
when I go to peel stones and there oh wow that’s all it took
that’s all it took I started out using a Tupperware canister that had two holes
cut out in it using dishwasher gloves and air eraser from hobby or Harbor
Freight and making templates with little plastic vinyl which didn’t work so well
I could get the general designs but couldn’t go and then we started upgrading
to different types of materials different types of stencils got into
this photoresist process and we’re like okay that’s the cat’s meow and then over
the past three years I’ve just mastered it but yeah we started out making things
for people for Christmas as gifts and then those people that got the gifts
wanted to know who made them and started asking us to make them for them and
giving us money and after doing that a couple hundred times I’m like you know what I could
probably do this for a living and I love doing it typically we find out what the
customer wants in picking out the stones what they want on their thing and how
big they want it then I come outside come get their the rock that they like I have to
go in getting it answered down then I go out and mark everything down see what
their measurements they want and I go over and score it to the size that they
need once you’ve got that cut what do you do next depending what the customer wants if she wants it shiny bright as much as a
mirror I go down I get a coarse cut then I go from 50 grit down to 10,000 grit
depending with how much and how far I want to go I go 50 100 200 400 and so on you’re gonna let me do to have a have a go with this
what do I need to look
out for what do I need to be careful of getting too close when you pick up the
glass make sure you pick it up in your left hand hopefully you’re right-handed
because I’m not but that’s okay and switch that really quick oh could you
that would that might make my life easier so I’m gonna give you a few more
inches of hose here so then in this case I would pick it up with my
right hand you’re gonna pick up the glass with your right hand when you pick it up
you’re gonna want to pick it up from the sides holding the tape get that turned
down okay so you’re gonna pick it up like this when you start you’re gonna
want to start about here and bring it up to the glass okay not that close about
this far away is gonna be ideal and then you’re just gonna do a really quick over
it if it looks like the sand is not coming out
you can plug the nozzle with your finger for a few seconds and what that does is
it’ll clear the blockage okay I’m what happens sometimes as the
sand gets bound up in there there’s a little bit of moisture and it’ll
bind it up it doesn’t happen very often but I have noticed it today I think
there’s more humidity in the air today so it’s really doing a number on the sand
okay but yeah pick it up with this hand make sure you have a hold of that first
and then I can go ahead and turn this on so you have both your hands in the
cabinet’s ready to go perfect and then that way you just bring it down in once
you get the stream steady and going to the same direction then you’re just
gonna need to go over at once really quick and then once just a little bit
slower and you’re done okay it’s pretty fast process on glass check it out I did that myself see now you have
something to show off yeah looks pretty good look at that now I’m all
proud of myself there I love teaching so well I appreciate it well thank you so
much for taking the time to show me what you do is an incredible process how can
people get a hold of you they can contact me either my cell phone which is
208 five two zero five zero eight zero lookup a and W engraving almost anywhere
online you can find me or just typing in engraving I come up just below Wikipedia on the search engines so I am definitely out there a and W engraving
is the name under search but I have done special SEO optimization so I try to
make it so people can find me any way they want Facebook is where I post 90%
of my photos I have a website Etsy store Amazon store eBay store and uh
Zuka store and Shopify here in a few days sounds great yeah okay well thank
you so much we’re good to meet you again pleasure to meet you thank you so much
you’re very welcome thank you for coming

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