Posts Tagged ‘laser etching’

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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elbow-grease (2)

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.

 

Over the years, laser etching and Jet Black granite monuments have become more popular then the more traditional colors and designs. However, there are still those clients who would like to have a laser etched photo or design included on their loved one’s monument, but who do not care for the dark granite. In order to help these clients to get exactly what they would like, we are now stocking traditional Gray granite monuments with a Jet Black inlay.

These monuments are available in both the traditional companion size (MK58) and the single size (MK56) upright monument.

The Companion Monument is shown below. This monument features a 36″ x 6″ x 24″ upright die and a matching 48″ x 12″ x 6″ rock pitched base. The base is wide enough to allow for the addition of two matching granite flower vases.

Gray w Inlay

The Single Monument is shown below. This monument features a 20″ x 6″ x 24″ upright die and a matching 32″ x 12″ x 6″ rock pitched base. The base is wide enough to allow for the addition of two matching granite flower vases.

Single Gray with Inlay

 

Upon the purchase of a monument from Sartin Memorials/Mike’s Laser Etching, you will have received a copy of our LIfetime Warranty. If at any time, you believe that you have an issue which should, or may be, covered under the lifetime warranty, we ask that you take the following steps to file a claim with us:

1. Take clear photographs of all of the damaged area, both up close and of the full monument.

2. Find your original purchase contract to reference.

3. Contact us to request a Memorial Damage Claim Form to complete. Below is a link which will take you to an example of the Memorial Damage Claim Form.

4. Complete the Memorial Damage Claim Form completely and forward to us, along with the photographs of the damage. These can be mailed to us at PO Box 184 St George’s, De 19733 or emailed to us at info@mikeslaseretching.com. (Please be sure to keep a copy of everything submitted if you are mailing your claim. Although we typically return all original photographs being used in the design process immediately, we will be retaining any photographs submitted with a damage claim for our own records.)

5. Contact us to verify that we have received the form and photographs no earlier then 24 hours after you have emailed and 7 days after you have mailed the form and photographs.

6. Allow us 30 days to review the claim form and photographs.

Speedball White

Ever since writing the blog about how to add the highlight to a laser etched monument that is beginning to fade, ( https://sartinmemorialsblog.com/2014/06/16/question-of-the-week-why-is-the-laser-etched-image-on-my-monument-fading/ ) I have received several emails and messages asking where to purchase the Speedball Oil Based Block Printing Ink that we use on our monuments.

I have located a very inexpensive online retailer who will ship to anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.

The following link will take you directly to the page from which you can order 1.25 oz of the white ink for only $3.98. This amount should be more than enough to last a lifetime for any monument, even those with a full size laser etched scene. PLEASE BE SURE TO ORDER THE WHITE INK! ADDING ANY OTHER COLOR WILL RUIN THE LASER ETCHING UNTIL IT FADES AWAY AFTER SEVERAL YEARS.

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http://www.artistcraftsman.com/speedball-oil-based-block-printing-ink.html

Over the years, we have received many a panicked telephone calls from clients, advising us that the laser etching was disappearing off of the monument they purchased from us. Much to their relief, this is never the case. In reality, what is happening is that the highlight which is added to every laser etching prior to the monuments being shipped out or installed into a local cemetery, needs to be refreshed. This is an extremely easy thing to do and we recommend that you refresh your highlight once every 5-10 years depending upon the effect your local climate has on the highlight’s longevity. In areas such as the state of Washington, where it is extremely rainy and wet, or the state of Florida, where it is humid, with frequent downpours, you will most likely need to refresh the highlight every 5 years. In areas such as Arizona and Texas, where the climate is dry, you will probably notice that you need not worry about the highlight except once every 10 years. In any case, no matter where you live, we recommend that you purchase a bottle of highlight as soon as you have purchased a laser etched monument.

 

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.

When you see that your highlight needs refreshed, you will want to clean off the monument with Windex first. Once you are sure the monument is free of dirt and grass, 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.

Once you have the ink on the stone, use an old washcloth 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 washcloth to wipe the excess ink off, After you have removed all of the excess, throw away the washcloths. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO WASH THE INK OUT OF THE WASHCLOTHS.

So long as you follow this instructions and keep your highlight fresh, 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.

 

***Update***

Since publishing this blog, I have received many emails and messages asking where to purchase the Speedball Oil Based Block Printing Ink. Click the below link to visit the blog with this inforamtion.

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

How accurate are the previews that you provide to clients? Does the finished stone actually look like the preview?

We get this question a lot. I think the best way to answer it is to provide a few examples of the preview with a photo of the finished monument.

 

BOUKNIGHT 24″ x 14″ India Black Flush Marker with Sandblasted Gold Lettering & Laser Etched Lettering and Design Preview:

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BOUKNIGHT 24″ x 14″ India Black Flush Marker with Sandblasted Gold Lettering & Laser Etched Lettering and Design Completed Monument:

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PROCTOR Single Upright Carnation Pink with Custom Rose in Heart with Sandblasted Lettering Preview

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PROCTOR Single Upright Carnation Pink with Custom Rose in Heart with Sandblasted Lettering Complete Monument:

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CHANDLER 24″ x 12″ Forest Green Flush Marker with Pine Cone Design and Sandblasted Lettering Preview:

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CHANDLER 24″ x 12″ Forest Green Flush Marker with Pine Cone Design and Sandblasted Lettering Complete Monument:

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CARRIER Single Jet Black Upright with Custom Laser Etched Design and Lettering Preview:

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CARRIER Single Jet Black Upright with Custom Laser Etched Design and Lettering Completed Monument:

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DUTTON Single Gray Upright with Sandblasted Lettering and Custom Design Preview:

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DUTTON Single Gray Upright with Sandblasted Lettering and Custom Design Completed Monument:

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STRAWBRIDGE MK80 24″ x 24″ Jet Black Upright with Custom Beveled Edges and Laser Etched Lettering and Design Preview:

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STRAWBRIDGE MK80 24″ x 24″ Jet Black Upright with Custom Beveled Edges and Laser Etched Lettering and Design Completed Monument:

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There is a large variety of designs which can be laser etched or sandblasted onto your monument. The type of design you can use depends on the type of monument you have chosen. To find out which method must be used on your monument, please read the following blog:

https://mikeslaseretchingsartinmemorials.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/question-of-the-week-what-color-granite-should-i-choose-for-my-monument/

To review our Sandblasting Designs, please click the following link, which will take you to the Sandblasting Designs page of our website.

http://www.mikeslaseretching.com/traditional_designs.html

To review our Laser Etched Designs, please click the following link, which will take you to the Laser Etched Designs page of our website.

http://www.mikeslaseretching.com/laser_designs.html

Please keep in mind that all monuments which can be laser etched, can also be sandblasted. You are only limited when your monument requires only sandblasting.

If you have any questions regarding designing your monument, or to get started placing your order today, please call us at 877-836-0332 or send us an email at info@mlestones.com.

When someone discovers that they have the freedom to include almost anything they choose to on the monument they are purchasing for a loved one, they can frequently develop “designers block”. When you are trying to design the monument which will be placed on a loved one’s final resting place, it can be difficult to decide exactly what should be included. Although there are often some limitations set by the cemetery, a monument is basically a blank slate and nearly anything you can think up, can be placed on it.

Traditionally, monuments have included the deceased person’s full name. Some families choose to include a woman’s maiden name in addition to her married name. The date of birth  and the date of passing is also typically included on a monument. Some families choose to include only the year of birth and the year of passing. However, it has become more common for the month, day and year of both dates to be included. Apart from the small flowers or religious symbols which are often included, the traditional monument design includes only this information: the name, date of birth and date of passing.

Thanks to the technology we now have available to us, we are able to offer a much broader range of designs to our clients. With this, you can now design a much more personalized monument. A monument can truly reflect who a person was by showing some of their personality. Future generations will be able to learn a little more about their ancestors, rather than the traditional name, date of birth and date of passing.

When it comes to names, we have clients who have chosen to write out the full name. For example: John William Smith, Jr. Of course, you can always abbreviate the middle name. So, John W. Smith, Jr. There is also the option of including a nickname. Rather than only including the legal name, a nickname can follow it in quotations. For example: John William Smith, Jr. “Smitty”. This is just one of the ways that you can make a monument a little more personalized.

There are also several options for how to include the dates. They can be included using any of date formation you choose. For example: 12/6/1987 December  6, 1987 Dec. 6, 1987 6th of June 1987. Some clients choose to label what each of the dates are. One very popular example is to label the date of birth “Sunrise” and the date of passing “Sunset”. Labeling the dates adds a little more personalization. This would appear on the monument as:

John William Smith, Jr.

Sunrise 6/6/1987 Sunset 12/8/1995

If you have walked through a cemetery recently in which there are newer burials, you will notice that it is becoming very popular to include a picture on a monument.  There are several different ways to do so, though the options available to you are dependant upon the type of monument and the color of granite you’ve chosen. To learb more about your options for pictures, please refer to our blog: What Are My Options For Including Pictures On My Monument? *Include Link*  Though there may be limitations as to what type of images can be included and how they are included, unless there are limitations and restrictions in place by the cemetery, a picture can be added to any monument. There is no better way to personalize a monument than with a picture of the deceased.

There is also the option of adding an epitaph or an entire poem. Is there a saying that the deceased would say all the time? Something that reminds everyone of them? Did they really like a particular poem or writer? If so, is there a particular piece of writing that really reflects who they were in life? Adding any of these things can make the monument their own. A great example of this is Kim Zolciak, who is always saying “Ask, Believe, Receive”. Adding this to her monument would make it her own.

We have a large variety of designs which can be added to monuments. Although the designs for sandblasting are limited, if you are purchasing a monument which can be laser etched, we can do anything you can dream up.

For more information on the difference between laser etching and sandblasting, see our blog: https://mikeslaseretchingsartinmemorials.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/question-of-the-week-what-is-the-difference-between-laser-etching-sandblasting/

For more information on choosing the color of granite that your monument should be, see our blog: https://mikeslaseretchingsartinmemorials.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/question-of-the-week-what-color-granite-should-i-choose-for-my-monument/

Give us a call at 877-836-0332 or send us an email at info@mlestones.com to get started on your order today!

We have some great news for all of our current and future clients! 

From now on, an image of all completed monuments will be posted on our blog! A link to the blog post will also be posted on our Mike’s Laser Etching Facebook. If you have liked us on Facebook, we will tag you in the post. This will allow you to share the Facebook post featuring the link to the blog with your friends and family, making it easier to share the completed monument with your loved ones! 

In addition to the links to your completed monument, upon “Liking” our Facebook, you will also see any discounts or online promotions we are offering!

To “Like” our Facebook, go to: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mikes-Laser-Etching-Sartin-Memorials/114407641941947?ref=hl

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