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High-Volume Sandcarving Considerations

In the awards industry, many of us are used to working with equipment that is suitable for small-scale production. We generally make awards or recognition pieces in small numbers, up to 50 or 100 pieces. To manage these types of jobs, we use the more economical equipment models available.

These equipment pieces work fine for the production level described, but when you decide to accept a high-volume job, a different perspective is needed. First, you have to evaluate if it will be a one-time job, in which case you may want to try and make do with the setup you have, knowing it will come at the expense of extra time needed to complete.

If you can make the numbers work to actually make money doing the job that way, then great; otherwise, it is better to simply say no to such a job offer. But, if you decide that this is the direction you want your business to go, then you will have to rethink your space, process, and equipment setup.

Big considerations

It is quite clear that when working on a large number of glass items, you need a lot more table space to adequately lay out the pieces to take them through the individual stages without having to move items in between those stages. This is true for cleaning, marking, stencil application, and possibly taping-off processes.

And for the last step, the actual blasting process, you also have to re-evaluate your situation. Will your current blasting cabinet support a steady workflow, or is it time to look at an upgrade to your existing system? And what about making those stencils? Surely, if you need to make hundreds or thousands of images, you won’t want to make them with your small-scale exposure unit one sheet at a time.

For more on this topic, check out Ruth’s article in the September issue of GRAPHICS PRO.

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Ruth Dobbins

With over 35 years in the glass business, Ruth Dobbins offers experience in fused and cast glass, as well as in glass-etching techniques. She owns Professional Glass Consultants with her husband Norm and holds a master's in printmaking and art history.

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