Posts Tagged ‘custom monument’

It has recently been brought to our attention that some clients are having a hard time viewing the “Laser Fonts” page of our website at http://www.mikeslaseretching.com/laser_fonts.html

In order to ensure that all clients can view the available fonts in order to select the font that best fits the overall design they are looking for, we have included the font options below. Please review each font and advise which one you would like to see on your preview. If there are several fonts that you like and you are not sure which one to go with, please let us know and we will create and forward a preview using each of the fonts you’ve chosen.

We have also been informed that clients are having the same issue with being able to view the Laser Designs, Sandblasting Fonts and Sandblasting Designs. In order to ensure everyone can view these and choose from them accordingly, we will be posting each of these to a blog as well. Please look for these to be posted here on our blog within the next few days. In the meantime, if you need to view one of these pages and are unable to do so on the website, please contact us at info@mlestones.com and we will forward you the images to your email.

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For more information on our products, visit our website at http://www.mikeslaseretching.com and browse our inventory, clearance and special pages. You can also call us toll free at 877-836-0332 or email us at info@mlestones.com to obtain additional information or to request a FREE preview.

We hope to hear from you soon and look forward to working with you to create a beautiful, unique memorial monument for yourself and/or your loved one!

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Why does Mike’s Laser Etching & Sartin Memorials employ Graphic Artists, but other monument companies do not?

If you have worked with several different monument companies in an attempt to find the monument you want, at the price you are willing to pay, you may have noticed that Mike’s Laser Etching & Sartin Memorials does things a little differently when it comes to the design aspect of the monuments. Typically, when you contact a monument dealer, whether online or at an office local to you, you will speak with an owner or a sales representative. They will ask you to provide the details of the desired monument and will use these details to create what we call a “preview” of what the final product will look like. Some companies simply provide a hand drawn sketch, while others may provide a digital preview, which has been created on a computer.

When he first became the owner of Mike’s Laser Etching & Sartin Memorials, Mike Walter would provide his clients with a hand drawn sketch of the monument. This process worked well enough and allowed him to confirm with the client that the placement and spelling on the final monument were correct. However, as the years went by and he began to invest in more advanced systems, he found that the hand drawn sketches were no longer allowing the client to see what the company was now capable of creating. With thousands upon thousands of laser etched designs, drawing a rough sketch just didn’t work. Not only that, but it was around this time that he also began to offer his monuments to clients who were out of state. A hand drawn sketch was just not possible with these clients.

Initially, when Mike began to search for a Graphic Artist, it was his intent to have them create a digital preview of the monument, using the information provided by the client. Although most monument dealers cannot justify hiring a Graphic Artist and paying their salary, Mike knew that it would be worth it in the long run. When Mike hired Heather, her job was to simply create the preview for the clients, making any changes necessary. This not only allowed for a much more accurate preview of the final monument design, it also allowed clients to easily share the design with their friends and family. This is what Mike had hoped for when he hired a Graphic Artist. However, once Heather began working with Mike, she took the design aspect to a whole new level, much more than Mike had ever thought possible.

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An example of a preview.

Today, Heather is the Senior Graphic Artist at Mike’s Laser Etching and there are currently two other Graphic Artists employed as well.  Not only do the Graphic Artist’s create the monument previews for clients, they also offer custom designed monuments and custom laser etched designs with the purchase of a monument. Because Mike works with granite wholesalers overseas, he is able to take a digital monument design-made the exact size, shape and color specified by the client- and forward it the wholesaler to be created. Although these custom monuments may take longer to be completed than a monument that is currently in stock, the cost does not increase. All of the monuments offered by Mike’s Laser Etching & Sartin Memorials are shipped to the main office in Delaware directly from the granite wholesaler. This essentially “cuts out the middle man”, allowing a lower overhead, which in turn allows us to offer a lower price to our clients. This is the same for both in stock monuments and custom ordered monuments.

If a client contacts us and would like a custom design on their monument, there is no additional cost. This is completely due to the fact that we have Graphic Artists on staff. Typically when ordering from a monument dealer, if a client would like a custom design, the monument dealer must contact an outside company to have the design created. Therefore, the client would then have to pay for the creation of the design. This is not necessary at Mike’s Laser Etching & Sartin Memorials. Whether the client is purchasing a standard flush marker (24″ x 12″) or a large upright monument, the design is typically included in the purchase price of the monument. We have had clients request a large variety of custom designs, which our Graphic Artists have not only created, but have enjoyed creating, as Graphic Design is their passion. Whether it is creating an entire landscape scene, using only a few specific details, or taking a photograph of a person and placing them somewhere completely different, doing something they were not originally doing, we can do it all. If you can imagine it, Mike’s Laser Etching & Sartin Memorials can create it!

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An example of our Preview Approval Form, which must be signed by the client prior to the laser etching or sandblasting of the monument.

Here at Mike’s Laser Etching & Sartin Memorials, we take pride in offering our clients unique, beautiful, high quality memorials for their loved ones, at affordable prices. We know that our clients are grieving and we do everything in our power to make the process of creating a memorial as easy as possible. We take pride in our products and work diligently to ensure that every client is 100% satisfied with not only their monument, but with the service they received from us as well. 

YOU ARE OUR PRIORITY!

Visit our website http://www.mikeslaseretching.com to browse our inventory, see examples of our custom orders and to learn more about the laser etching and sandblasting processes. Give us a call at 877-836-0332 or send us an email at info@mlestones.com to get started today!

Question of the Week: What Color Granite Should I Choose For My Monument?

Posted: August 13, 2013 in Uncategorized
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What Color Granite Should I Choose For My Monument??

If you have researched granite monuments at all online, you will know by now that there is a huge variety of granite colors. It is important to remember that granite is a product of nature. It is not possible to guarantee that all color markings, nor that every characteristic of the pieces will be uniformly present in every piece of granite, even of similar type and variety. Granite is available in colors ranging from the whitest white to the blackest black, and every color in between. To see some of the most commonly ordered monument colors, visit our website at: http://www.mikeslaseretching.com/granite_colors.html.

One of the most important things to ask yourself when deciding upon which color granite you should order your monument in is: Do I want sandblast or laser etch my design?

The reason this is the most important thing to consider is because not every color can be laser etched and not every design can be sandblasted. If you do not know the difference between sandblasting and laser etching, please refer to our previous blog here: https://mikeslaseretchingsartinmemorials.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/question-of-the-week-what-is-the-difference-between-laser-etching-sandblasting/.

Basically, if you want a design that is extremely detailed, such as a picture of a person or an object, you would need to go with a color of granite which can be laser etched. For images with the most detail, such as a picture of a person, the darkest black granite would need to be used. Therefore, you would need to go with Jet Black or India Black. These two colors of granite have the least amount of color variations throughout the stone, as they are typically one uniform color: the darkest black. 

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When you begin to get into lighter black granite, such as Midnight Black and Frosty Black, the color variations begin to become more frequent and much larger, as you can see from the images below. If an image of a person’s face were to be etched upon a piece of Midnight or Frosty Black granite, these color variations would cause the image to start becoming blurry. Instead of the sharp, clear image you see in the Jet and India Black, it is difficult to make out the small details on these colors of black granite. Although not recommended, it is possible to etch detailed images on Midnight and Frosty Black granite. Prior to doing so, it is important that our clients understand that the image may not be as clear as it would on the Jet or India Black. Images which are not extremely detailed, such as a picture of a nature scene or of a car can be etched on the lighter black granite and will turn out beautifully.

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When you start to get into the colored granite, such as the Blue Pearl and the Carnation Pink, whether or not a design can be etched varies. It not only depends upon the type of image, but also upon the color of the granite. 

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A monument which is of a darker color, such as a Forest Green, can often still be used to etch some of the lesser detailed images. Something along the lines of a landscape can be etched on these darker colors. However, etching a picture of a person is never recommended when it comes to granite which is any color other than the darker blacks.

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The lighter the color of the granite becomes the less likely a laser etched image will work. Once you get to the light grays, pinks and white, we will always recommend that the design be sandblasted only. This even applies to lettering, which can typically still be etched on the lighter reds, blues and greens, as a laser etched lettering on the lightest colors is not going to be visible at all from a distance.

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If you would like a monument in a color which cannot be laser etched, but you would still like to include a picture in the design, there is a way for you to get the best of both worlds! We can include either a laser etched Marble Portrait, or a colored Porcelain Portrait in the design. A laser etched Marble Portrait will be done in black and white and the Porcelain Portrait can be done in either color or black and white. There are a variety of shapes and sizes available in both the Marble and the Porcelain Portraits. We have designed monuments where a client has included a large Marble Portrait which covered the entire back of a white granite monument in order to add a photo collage, while still being able to choose the white granite she loved so much!

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To learn more about our Laser Etched Marble Portraits, click here: http://www.mikeslaseretching.com/laser_etched_marble.html

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To learn more about our Porcelain Portraits, click here: http://www.mikeslaseretching.com/ceramic_portraits.html

Prior to any designs being sandblasted or laser etched onto a monument, the front and back of a monument is typically polished. There are some exceptions to this, such as when the back of a monument is rock pitched (not smooth). The sides of the monuments may or may not be polished, depending on the desired effect. However, any area on which a design or lettering is to be placed must first be polished. Polishing the granite creates a dark and shiny effect. The areas which are not polished look much lighter and dull when compared to the polished areas. The granite being polished allows for a much higher contrast once designs and lettering are sandblasted and/or laser etched into the surface.

What is sandblasting?

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Sandblasting is the operation of forcibly propelling a stream of fine sand against the surface of the granite under high pressure. This process removes the polished layer of the granite to reveal the unpolished granite underneath. When sandblasting, the lettering and designs are first all blasted to the same depth by a machine. In order to sandblast a monument, it must first be designed by a graphic artist. The artist will use vector software such as Monucad to create a file containing the lettering and designs that will be sandblasted onto the headstone. Only simple lettering and designs, often referred to as Line Art, can be sandblasted, as it is not possible to create small details using this method. Photos cannot be sandblasted.

In order to get the design and lettering needed, they are first cut into a rubber “mat”. This process can be done by hand or by machine. Here at Mike’s Laser Etching, we currently use our Vytek LSTAR Laser to cut the mats in a step we call Vector Cutting. The design and lettering must then be handpicked from the back of the stencil so the sand can cut it once it is in the sandblaster.  The headstone is placed on the workbench and stencil filler is applied to the front surface. The mat is then placed on the front of the headstone and is held in place by the stencil filler. The monument is then placed into the sandblasting cabinet, which will then propel the sand against all surfaces which are exposed and not covered by the mat.

Once all the designs and lettering are at the same depth, the monument is removed from the cabinet. At this point, a specialist hand shapes using abrasive air to create a smoother look to the lettering and to add additional detail which the machine is not capable of. The remainder of the stencil is then removed and the stone is cleaned to reveal the finished headstone. If an even higher level of contrast is desired, color can be added to the deepest areas of the designs and lettering.

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What color granite can be sandblasted?

Any color of granite can be sandblasted. However, when sandblasting an extremely light color of granite, such as white pearl, it is necessary to add color in order to ensure the design and lettering are visible. This is because the polished and unpolished surfaces of such light color granite are so similar that additional contrast is needed.

What is laser etching?

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The laser etching process removes the polished surface of the granite using a high powered laser to show the unpolished granite beneath in varying depths to create the image. You can think of the laser etching machine as a big printer, since the majority of the work is done on a computer and then sent to the laser for “printing”.  In order to produce a granite etching, it must first be designed by a graphic artist. The artist will use photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop to create a BMP file containing the lettering, designs, & photos that are to be laser etched on the monument. Designs and photos must be carefully enhanced by the graphic artist so fine details such as the outline of a nose or teeth are visible in the granite engraving or marble etching.

The white and gray areas of the design are where the laser etches and the black areas are where no etching occurs and the black granite remains. This is why when a photo of someone with black or brown hair is etched a lighter background or soft glow outline around them is required to show where their hair starts and the background begins. The rest of the process involves the laser only. This process makes permanent photos on headstones possible.

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What colors can be laser etched?

Darker colors of granite are the best colors to laser etch because the darker colors create a better contrast between the gravestone and the image and bring out the most detail in pictures. Essentially, laser etching is likened to creating a grey-scale image that is emblazoned on the surface of the headstone. Grey-scale images work best against a dark background. With lighter shades of granite (such as beige), the colors barely bring out enough detail to discern the image from the granite. While lighter color granites do polish to a slightly darker tone, it does not bring out the breadth of detail that darker granites (such as black) do. Grey colored granite can be etched if it has a nice, even polished finish on the surface of the gravestone, but it also depends upon the type of etching that needs to be done.

Sometimes people choose to etch symbols and grave details into their gravestone markers, which is perfectly fine. However, most people will choose to etch very beautiful digital pictures of their loved ones or even photographs of hobbies or activities they enjoyed doing while alive. For example, if you’re loved one enjoyed fishing, an appropriate laser etch could include a photograph of your loved one fishing or a scenic image of their favorite fishing spot.

Laser etching adds a beautiful finish to the gravestone and a unique twist on the traditional concept of memorial designs. By selecting laser etching, you’re creating a distinct, creative headstone for your loved one’s legacy.

What options do I have if I want light colored granite but would still like a picture of my loved one included in the design?

Do not be discouraged! It is extremely common for our clients to request that a picture be added to a light colored monument. We have two options for doing so, and both are beautiful.

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The first option is to add a porcelain portrait to the design. Our Porcelain Portraits are created using the highest quality of 100% Italian Porcelain. We can use nearly any picture you would like, so long as the quality is good enough. The image can be done in color or in black and white and we can even edit out a background or a random hand or object that has appeared in the image.  When ordering a Porcelain Portrait with a monument, we will inlay the porcelain into the monument so that it sits flush with the granite. The Porcelain Portraits have a lifetime guarantee and are guaranteed to not fade or crack when exposed to the elements for hundreds of years.

For more information on our Porcelain Portraits, visit our website at:  http://www.mikeslaseretching.com/ceramic_portraits.html

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The other option for including an image on a light colored monument would be to add a Laser Etched Marble Portrait. These portraits are Laser Etched onto high quality marble and can also be inlaid into the monument in order to lay flush with the granite. Again, we can edit the image if you would like the background or an object removed. However, just like a laser etched monument, the final product would be a black and white image. If you would prefer the black and white, the Laser Etched Portraits are a perfect option for you and they are also guaranteed not to fade or crack!

For more information on our Laser Etched Portraits, visit our website at: http://www.mikeslaseretching.com/laser_etched_marble.html

Can I do a combination of both laser etching and sandblasting?

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Yes! We have created many designs which included both laser etching and sandblasting. These monuments were typically dark colored granite, as the laser etching cannot be done on a light colored granite. Each monument we design is completely customized using the information you provide us. If you would like to include both laser etching and sandblasting aspects into your design, all you need to do is let us know. Once we have an understanding of the desired outcome, we will review the options with you.

Contact us at 877-836-0332 or by email at info@mlestones.com!

If you can imagine it, we can create it!

To see pictures of some of our completed monuments, please visit our website at: http://www.mikeslaseretching.com/portfolio.html

 

Custom Cross Monument

We received a call from a customer browsing our website. She wanted a tall monument with a cross at the top and room for a landscape design at the bottom. This image is of the completed monument. Visit the “Custom Monument” page of our website to view the initial concept designed by our graphic artist, as well as the preview of the monument that was sent to the customer to review lettering and image placement.