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Getting Stencils Made

Discussion in 'Making Your Mark' started by Joelsund, Jan 20, 2021.

  1. Joelsund

    Joelsund Active Member

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    Does anyone know of a place to get stencils made in Canada? I’ve looked for vinyl cutting places and specifically places for stencils with not much luck. I reached out to a few local places with no response. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. RussGen

    RussGen New Member

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    I've wondered about this too Joel. The vinyl cutting machines are about $300 at Michaels but not sure how small and detailed an image they are capable of.
     
  3. Joelsund

    Joelsund Active Member

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    yeah, the machine doesn't seem worth it to me. I also only want 1 logo cut in a few different sizes. I found Karma vinyls in Winnipeg, however, I haven't been able to get a response from them. ill let you know if they end up getting back to me
     
  4. Scott Kozub

    Scott Kozub Active Member

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    Look on Amazon for a laser. Coat the area in nail polish and burn the logo with the laser. You can get one for a couple hundred. Then electrochemical etch it. If its not aligned properly just reapply the nail polish and reburn.

    I haven't done this yet myself. I ordered a 3018 cnc laser but the laser was doa so I'm waiting for a replacement. Should be here tomorrow.
     
  5. Joelsund

    Joelsund Active Member

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    oh, good idea. do you think the laser could just do it on the steel on its own?
     
  6. Nieman Knives

    Nieman Knives New Member

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    I got stuff made by a local sign maker. I got a bunch of logo variations and sizes as well as 3 different types of font of the alphabet with 4 letters in each set to put peoples initials on the blades. They work real nice. They are vinyl. The only issue is even with his high end equipment, fine detail especially in the lettering isn’t always possible. Also picking the letters/logo out without ruining them can be tricky.
     
  7. Scott Kozub

    Scott Kozub Active Member

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    No. Even a 60 watt co2 laser won't do that. However some guys do coat the knife with a drymoly lube and then hit it with the laser. It leaves a dark grey etch that seems pretty durable but can still be removed. A very cheap cnc laser should work. Heres a couple links to get the juices flowing



    https://www.instagram.com/reel/CHyCecZhtPh/?

    igshid=1vqdn8b4kaaar

     
  8. Joelsund

    Joelsund Active Member

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    Cool! I’ll definitely have to look into it. Gonna try printing a stencil on my 3d printer and see how that goes. I have a hard time justifying a laser atm since I don’t think I’d have any other use for it.
     
  9. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker

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  10. Scott Kozub

    Scott Kozub Active Member

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    I should have guessed that dan would be all over this.

    A replacement laser arrived on Monday and it works... finally. Last night was my first trial. I got some black nail polish and did a few test runs. My 3watt laser (less than Dan's) did a great job at removing the nail polish and left a very crisp logo. I was also able to etch some very small logos with great detail. One of the reasons I got this was for the option of etching a narrow spine. I also like the idea of etching a finished knife. I used to always etch my blade before mounting the handle incase there was an issue with the stencil moving.

    I can't confirm the feed rates because my stepper motors aren't set properly so the distances are off. I'll get that fixed up tonight.

    First impression is that it "should work" well. I did 3 test etches at varying speeds and 75% power. It removed the nail polish very well and a bit of soap and water cleaned them up ready for the electro etch. I used to etch with UV stencils at 8v so I wouldn't burn up the stencils. I tried these at 24v and tried to get a really deep etch but this was too harsh. I had some bleed through the nail polish. It just heated up the nail polish too much at that voltage allowing some current to bleed through.

    I like the ability to etch the nail polish before doing the electro etch. That way, if the knife is misaligned, and tho logo is crooked or too big or small, you can reapply the nail polish, hit it again with the laser and etch once you're happy. I also really like being able to quickly import a logo or name in LaserGRBL and etch it. So much easier than making UV stencils.
     
  11. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker

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    Because my laser takes three or more etches with dry-moly, the issue is getting a new layer of dry-moly on the blade without repositioning the knife. I don't want to risk spraying the lube on around the laser lens. I was thinking of mounting a square on the table and attaching the blade in a block/cradle that lines up with the square. Once the positioning is repeatable, the dry-moly I am sure will do a good job and make a nice dark grey etch. So far the etches I have done with dry-moly have been fair and a medium grey shade.

    Also, do your eyes a favour. Make a light tight enclosure for your laser. Shiny metal surfaces can scatter laser light in all directions and wearing those tinted glasses in the shop for hours on end when etching can be very spacey. I put my laser glasses on top of my enclosure lid and wear them when the lid is open.

    Thanks for the tip on LaserGRBL Scott. I am going to load it up and try it. The software I got with mine is "Lite Fire." Many issues, zero help, and some buttons in Chinese I am afraid to click. LOL

    Dan
     
  12. Joelsund

    Joelsund Active Member

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    I ended up getting vinyl stencils made by karma vinyls. Still have to go pick them up and see how they work. If it doesn’t work out too well I’ll have to look into the laser.
     
  13. Scott Kozub

    Scott Kozub Active Member

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    I'm sure it'll work out well for you. I switched for the ability to do custom etches and I hated making the stencils.

    Make sure you put it on right side up. Don't ask why I say that.
     

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