Tool Time Tuesday – Playing with the Sand Blaster and Resists

I have been dying to play with my new tool since I got it into my studio last week. I did get one day to play and the result was last weeks TTT post. I have tried a number of times to get back into the studio to play with it some more, but every time I walked in, the baby would cry, I needed to get one of the kids from school, dinner needed to be made, there was a doctor’s appointment…. etc. etc. The list goes on and on and on.

I really want to get my TTT posts going again, so tonight I just worked through it all as fast as I could. There are still so many other things I want to try, so I am sure there will be more posts in the near future with this little baby!

Tonight I played around with various ways to create resists so I could get unique patterns on the pieces. My  friend Valerie and I played with this a bit last week with some interesting results.

Let’s jump right in and I will show you what I did and what we got in the end.

First, I just grabbed one of my copper shapes and went to town. I didn’t clean it, polish it or anything. Just hit it with the blaster. That is what you see below.

The picture above shows one blasted piece, one unclean piece and one that I have removed the tarnish from.

For this next piece, I took the uncleaned square and made a mask with a simple mailing label. I cut out a heart shape with one of my handy dandy cutters, placed it on the square and was ready to go.


Here you can see that I have blasted the piece. Notice the lower left corner where the blasting medium ate away at the resist (mailing label.) Because of this, it wasn’t a really clean edge when the paper was removed.
Here you can see the rough spot where the label got eaten away a little. I have not cleaned up this piece in any way at this point, so you still see some of the sticker remaining. In the areas where we didn’t get any of the ruby grit, there was no problem in removing the label. But all around the heart, it was a little more difficult in removing it.

For this next piece I wanted to see what would happen if you first blasted a piece and then went back and applied liver of sulfur to it. So first off, I used a name tag this time instead of a mailing label. That was mistake number one, because the name tag, was much thinner than the mailing label. Mistake two… well, you can see already for yourselves that I wasn’t too good at getting the little suns space out well enough.
Here I have blasted the unit and was very careful to not to get it too close to the edges, but it was impossible. You can see where the label has lifted up around the small ridges.
I applied liver of sulfur and the blasted area took on a really nice patina.
When  I rubbed the piece with #0000 steel wool, it did take out some of the texture created by the ruby grit. But I was still left with a little bit of contrast. So overall, it wasn’t a horrible experiment.

As things didn’t go exactly as planned with adding the liver of sulfur and I lost some of my texture detail, I wondered what would happen if I added the patina first, THEN blasted the piece after masking it of.  So first thing I did with this next piece was to give it a nice dark patina in the Liver of Sulfur. It was really dark and had some nice shades of purple and blue. Because the mailing label was easily blasted away on the piece with the heart, I decided to double up the layers and see if that had any impact.

The result was great. There was a beautiful glittery surface with no patina. The double layers seemed to do the trick and I got some nice clean lines. One thing I didn’t plan on was the patina being lifted off on the back of the label. However, I did get a nice marble patina that was rather unexpected.

Here are the final results. The square on the bottom left was one that was cleaned and then blasted. You can see a difference between the two bottom pieces, and even the heart that wasn’t cleaned prior to blasting.

For the next one I wanted to try a technique I use to attach my piercing patterns when using a jewelers saw. I used a nice thick cardstock and rubber cement. I wanted the thicker paper to give a nice buffer and still allow me time to get the desired depth with the blasting media. I used a small hole punch to punch small dots all around the piece. I had traced out the washer before hand so I knew where to punch. I applied rubber cement to both the back of the paper and the front of my piece to be blasted. Let the glue dry and then apply the paper to the metal. The dried glue on both pieces creates a nice tight fit and the piece won’t move. The one thing I wish I had done was put a high polish on the washer before I blasted it.

I had this great idea to apply some screen mesh to a piece and it should already be sticky, right? Well, not quite so right. Once I got this opened up, I found out that the mesh was just a little layer of rubber on a clear sticker. So that didn’t work so well. I applied the sticker and ran it through my mill to see what kind of texture I would get. That turned out okay, but I didn’t take a picture of the final piece. I Just thought I would show you all my FAIL, on the idea for this piece. HAHAHA
While rolling the previous piece through the mill, I saw some copper wire mesh sitting on my table and that sparked an idea. I wrapped it around the copper shape, but it wasn’t a tight fit up against the original form. I knew that the blasting media would get under the mesh and I wouldn’t get a clean texture. So i ran this piece through them mill prior to blasting it. This would ensure that I have a nice texture in addition to clean unblasted lines.
I like the thought of various widths of lines. I looked and looked for tape that were in various widths and most of them were way too wide. I looked for electrical tape and settled for this $0.64 roll of black electrical tape. Then while I was combing the hardware store the thought came to me to use pinstripe tape like what is used for cars. So I stopped at the automotive store and got two packages of different widths of tape. They were $3.99 and $4.99. But I thought it was worth the cost, particularly if it worked.

Okay, so here are all my pieces just after they have been blasted with the ruby grit. Everything went fairly smoothly for the most part. I was rather disappointed with the pinstripe tape though. It didn’t take a whole lot before the blaster lifted the edges or ate right through it all together. The pinstripe tape is the silver colored stripes below.

The cardstock piece and washer did really well. The cardstock held up rather well for the most part. You can see that I was starting to get through it, but I wasn’t exactly light handed when doing this. I was rather aggressive so as to make certain I got some texture in those tiny holes.

The piece with the copper mesh (upper left) turned out GREAT!!!! Once I lifted the mesh screen off the lines were beautifully crisp and shiny.

The electrical tape worked GREAT as well. I was able to easily cut the desired shapes with paper punches and scissors. It had a nice tight seal onto the piece and it didn’t lift at the edges at all when I was hitting it with the pressurized air and grit. It lifted off cleanly and left beautifully crisp lines. Photobucket

Here are the finished pieces. The lighting on them isn’t the best, but you start to get the idea.

This is why I said I wish I had put a clean high polish on the piece before I hit it with the ruby grit. The dots look great, I just wish the rest of the washer were clean. I will probably just go back and texture the entire piece, or I could always buff out the dots and start all over again.

The bracelet links with the pinstripe tape were okay, but not as clean as I would like. The pendant turned out okay, but I applied only a really light texture to it where the tape was so I didn’t blow through it as I had with the bracelet links.

These three pieces were the ones done with the electrical tape. You can see all the lines are very clean. I think I will play around with this tape a bit more and see what else can be done.

Well, I would type more and cover more topics, but the newborn is screaming and it is almost Wednesday.  Good night all.

2 thoughts on “Tool Time Tuesday – Playing with the Sand Blaster and Resists

  1. Terry B

    Hi Melissa, love your sharing but the photos didn’t show up in my email or at the permalink.hope to see them soon. 😉


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