Saturday, February 28, 2015

Etching With an Air Eraser Tool

Hello Crafty Friends!  I can't believe it's been over a year since I posted to my blog. It's true what they say, time flies when you're having fun!

I finally have some blog-worthy information to share with you.  Last weekend, I attended a a Silhouette Cameo retreat hosted by, and WOW did I learn a lot. Even after using my Cameo (and teaching classes) for over a year, there's always something to learn about the Silhouette Studio software and Cameo cutter.

Last weekend, I learned about glass etching.  Now, I have done plenty of glass etching over the past year or so, using various gloppy creams with mixed results.  For small items, such as my initial lockets, the cream was fine.  But for larger items, I sometimes experienced running cream that etched spots I didn't intend to etch, cream bleeding underneath the vinyl, left it on too long, left it on not long enough -- well, you get the picture.  I had heard many people talk about an "air eraser", but it was still shrouded in so much mystery, I could never figure out exactly what I needed to purchase and how to get started. All I knew is that the air eraser from Harbor Freight was NOT the way to go based on some friends' experiences.  Thankfully, Terri cleared it all up for me, and I'm here to share my new-found knowledge with you!

This is a list of what you will need to buy.  Granted, it's not cheap, but if you're running a business or are passionate about your crafting and want professional results, this is what you need to buy:

1,  An air compressor. I purchased this one.  Also available at Lowe's, Amazon, and probably most hardware stores. OK, confession time, this isn't the EXACT one I bought.  In the store, they only had one with some nail gun doo-dad included for an additional $30, but I'm am instant-gratification kinda gal, so I bought what they had.  The important thing is the numbers.... 6 gallon, 150 psi.  I like the "pancake" style because it's light and portable.  Expect to pay around $149 for an air compressor. Maybe if I ever get the urge to install some hardwood flooring, that nail gun will come in handy. (edited to add:  I could  have gotten away with a smaller air compressor since I only need between 50-60 pounds of pressure for my air gun.  But this is the one I was familiar with and it was readily available locally.  You can probably get a smaller one for less money.)

2.  An air-eraser tool.  I bought the Paasche AEC-K Abrasive sprayer from Amazon. It comes with (almost) everything you need to get started, including the blasting medium.  Cost: $77.43  I also purchased this blasting medium because I was afraid the initial supply wouldn't be enough.  This will set you back $22.50, but honestly, I could have waited to purchase this as my initial supply looks like it will get me through many etchings.

Total so far for necessities:  $226.43
Total so far for necessities and one thing I probably could have waited on:  $248.93

3.  Now, this is optional, and there is an alternative which I will share with you, I went to my local Tractor Supply Company and purchased this blasting cabinet for $99.99.  Having used a home-made blasting cabinet at Terri's Cameo retreat, I decided to go with this mainly because 1) I'm an instant-gratification kinda gal (see above), and 2) I don't have all the tools and know-how to build my own blasting cabinet.  BUT, if you're a real DIYer, here's a link to build your own blasting cabinet.  From what I understand, supplies for this will set you back around $50 or so, and you have to, of course, build it yourself.   There are obviously other tutorials out there, but this one caught my eye and most closely resembles the one I used at Terri's retreat.  I did make one modification to my TSC blasting cabinet.  It comes with these HUGE rubber gloves built in.  Way too big for my delicate lady hands and impossible to hold onto glassware.  So I cut them off at the cuff.  Still plenty of protection and you can wear garden gloves or latex gloves if you feel you need to protect your hands.

Total so far for necessities and one thing I probably could have waited on and nice to have because I'm too lazy to build my own blasting cabinet:  $348.92

4.  Ok, here's the last thing, and the one thing no one tells you about -- you need to buy an adapter to attach your air eraser tool directly to your air compressor.  This is what you need. Cost:  $1.89. It was located directly across from the air compressors at Home Depot, in small bins.

Grand total to get started etching a $1.00 glass from the Dollar Tree:  $350.81

Yeah, not cheap, but look at the results!

If you're looking for designs for vinyl/stencil cutting, be sure to check out my design shop

Thanks for visiting!

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