I’ve done my research on this forum and elsewhere for the last month, but I still cannot find a satisfactory solution. It doesn’t seem that there is a product available that will work for me, or perhaps there was, but no longer available due to supply issues?
Of course it’s not “Vinyl” that I’m really looking for due to containing PVC. But “Vinyl” seems to be the generic name given to materials with an adhesive backing that are made of a plastic substance - usually used with a “Vinyl” cutter/drag knife cutter.
I’ll call the material I want a Laserable “mask” whatever it’s made of. It can’t be vinyl, it can’t be transfer/app tape because it needs to resist washing with water.
What I want to do is apply the “mask” to glass and mirror glass. Then cut out a pattern on my laser, weed out parts, then sand-blast. With a view to do paint filling, possibly even gilding - who knows.
The upshot is that I need a way to mask the glass, then cut the mask on the laser.
I’ve researched this in the past, using the terms “laser safe sign vinyl” and also performed the same search moments ago. It appears nothing has changed. The results indicate that one should seek Heat Transfer Vinyl PU, which is polyurethane. There’s a tediously long video from a maker in which she uses a Glowforge to cut a product from Siser which is CPSIA certified as laser-safe.
I was surprised to see that the clear carrier film was not cut by the laser, although nothing was said about the power/speed settings.
I cannot attest to the suitability of this type of product specific to your objective as I was unable to tolerate the video far enough to observe the transfer to the object. One must expect that HTV requires H(eat) to be applied, which may remove its applicability to your goal.
I have cut 1 mm thick silicone rubber to use as a stencil (also to use as a gasket). The material cuts cleanly and is laser safe. The uncolored stuff does not throw off debris, while the black version does generate particulate that discolors the surface, but washes off easily.
Amazon sells 1 mm thick adhesive back silicone rubber, mostly in black, but a few entries for translucent. Curiously, you’ll see 0.04" thick, 1/25" thick and 1 mm thick. All of which is the same thickness (grin).
Your post requests a means to mask the glass, then cut the mask on the laser. I’m not sure how well that would work, compared to cutting the mask first and then applying it to the glass. You may be able to have settings low enough to cut the mask (silicone rubber cuts at low power) without affecting the glass.
Thanks PY, I’ve already seen those links, reviewed and gone down that path many times. These substrates are geared toward “Heat Transfer” like using in a heat press for t-shirts etc. It’s not the same thing. Or is it?
BUT given there is nothing else, I may as well try it.
Remember, the substrate has to be able to withstand sand-blasting and not be too soft.
The Ducks are fine :). Manufacturing in Australia has declined over the last 4 decades that I can remember. We are a small population of approx. 27 million at the other end of the earth. Apparently upside-down.
have you considered chemical etching of the glass? This can give very good results. The etchants are usually based on hydrofluoric acid. You can use hydrofluoric acid directly but it is quite a hazardous substance, so not recommended unless you have lab experience. Once I inadvertently did a beautiful job of etching a Pyrex beaker. I ruined the beaker of course but it did look rather good.
I am going to try my hand at burning a pattern through a mask on the glass and then chemically etching the revealed glass. Like you, I just need to find the right mask, and then of course, the right laser settings.
Sand blasting is quite aggressive so I don’t know where you will find mask material that you can laser through but will withstand sand blasting.
I just stumbled upon this post and have to add my 2 cents
I think the fast and easy answer is: the laser is just not the right tool to work with. Just take a plotter and you’re done. Of course, you can try to use your laser (using costly materials, as you noticed), but it’s simply not made for this. It’s like cutting a tree with a household knife. It works, but there are definetly better ways to get to the target
I can tell you at least, that I have successfully used the same film from a plotter, blank, onto a mirror and etched the lines out at about the lowest power I can, and sandblasted it to good results.
I cant find the proper marker on it but it is an IGEPA Mastertape product, a grey plasticy feeling film.
Of course, your mileage may vary, and I am typically sandblasting out the back side of said mirror.
But I don’t want to purchase a plotter/cutter.</stamps feet up and down>. As it is, I could easily get someone I know with a vinyl cutter to do it. But thanks
@TheLongMan That IGEPA Mastertape seems ideal. It looks like it’s waterproof/resistant which is required. Unfortunately I can’t seem to find someone who stocks it here in Aus and the international sites are all in Dutch/German not sure. Can I ask where you purchased it?