Posts Tagged ‘custom sandblasted design’

Laser Etched Monument Maintenance

Posted: June 10, 2016 in Granite, Headstone Maintenence, Help, How To, Laser Etching, Memorial Monument, Memorial Monument Inforamtion, MIke's Laser Etching, Monument Care, Online Purchasing, Sartin Memorials, Traditional Monument, Uncategorized
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Polish 2 front and back

As with anything which is sitting out in the weather, it is important to remember to maintain your Laser Etched Memorial Monument. This is an extremely easy thing to do and we recommend that you complete maintenance at least once or twice a year.  It is a very fast and easy process and will only require the following:

-A bottle of Windex

-Several soft cloths (we recommend white washcloths)

-A tube of WHITE Oil-Based Block Printing Ink (*See Below For Ordering Details)

-A razor blade if necessary

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Here at Mike’s Laser Etching, we use Speedball Oil-Based Block Printing Ink as our highlight. It is very important that you be sure that you purchase pure white ink. If you choose to purchase the Speedball brand, the color number you should order is 3553. You can order a tube of Speedball by clicking on the below link:

https://sartinmemorialsblog.com/2014/06/18/order-your-laser-etching-highlight-online/

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The first step to the 6-12 month maintenance process is to clean the monument with Windex. Liberally spray the Windex over the entire polished area of your monument. Wipe clean using circular motions and don’t be afraid to apply pressure if necessary to clear the polished area of all dirt and debris. If you find that there is tree sap or something else which is not coming off of the monument, carefully use the razor blade to scrape of the substance. Although you do need to be careful not to cut yourself, the razor blade, if used correctly, will not damage the granite.

Once you are sure the monument is free of dirt and grass, it is time to refresh your highlight. First, place several small dots of the ink on the area of the laser etching. You will notice that a little goes a long way when it comes to the highlight. For a 24″ x 12″ Flush Marker with a full laser etched scene, it will take no more than a nickel size dot of ink to cover the full laser etching.

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Once you have the ink on the stone, use your cloth to begin rubbing the highlight into the etched areas in small circular motions. You will immediately see a difference in the brightness of your laser etching. Once all of the laser etchings have been covered, use the cloth to wipe the excess ink off.  After you have removed all of the excess, throw away the cloth. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO WASH THE INK OUT OF THE WASHCLOTHS.

So long as you follow these instructions and consistently maintain your monument, you will be able to enjoy the laser etched monument for years and years to come. Generations through the years will be able to appreciate the beautiful and unique monument you designed for your loved one(s) and that is our goal here at Mike’s Laser Etching/Sartin Memorials.

If you are interested in learning more about our custom laser etched monuments and tiles, call us today at 877-836-0332 or email our sales team at sara@mikeslaseretching.com.

 

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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!

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!

Completed monument for Richard Douglas Waddell:

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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