Stone engraving is an ancient art that once took a long time to complete. Now, work that would take hours can be done in minutes thanks to sandblasting and laser equipment that can quickly carve stone. Engraved stone can serve a decorative purpose as part of a larger piece, or it can be an individual piece of art. Specialised tools are needed to engrave rock.
Hammer and Chisel
The oldest equipment used for engraving rock stone was the hammer and chisel. Craftsmen place chisels of various sizes against the stone and hit their blunt ends with the hammer to chip away parts of the stone until they create the desired design. Working with a chisel and hammer is time consuming and leaves little margin for error.
Sandblasting has become a more common form of stone etching. Specialists blow abrasive sand material on to the stone so that they can slowly grind in the designs. These sandblasters greatly reduce the time spent engraving stones. The sandblaster uses compressed air to fire sand at the rock at a very high velocity. The artisans can choose the size of the nozzle and point the nozzle at the specific part of the stone that they want to engrave.
Artists must also use stencils to create the designs so that they can get the engraving right the first time. With stencils and computer technology, engravers can create designs that will fit perfectly on the stones. With the computer technology, the engravers can look at different design options without having to go through multiple stones, which reduces the production costs. These programs allow engravers to easily create personalised engravings for gifts.
Engravers can automate the stone engraving process using lasers. Professionals put the stones with a machine that uses lasers to burn the engravings into the stone. These machines can come in a variety of sizes. Manufacturers can use the machine to create stones that they can release onto the market in large quantities.
Some of the sandblasting tools are mobile, which help professionals engrave very large stones. Since sandblasting can create a dusty mess both from the abrasive material and from the shaved off stone material, many sandblasting tools come with vacuums that simultaneously suck up the dust, minimising the mess. These sandblasters usually have wheels, which make them easier to navigate around an area. These devices are the only sandblasting devices that will work for large, on-site rocks.
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