Cleaning an engraving

I am not sure what happened scientifically. I can say that both versions looked pretty cool to me.

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Wasn’t that idea discussed in another thread a couple weeks ago? I don’t think it was about your experience. I thought it was a link to an article or video. I just searched the forums but can’t find it. Or I could just be getting confused. It’s been known to happen.

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I have not idea if it was discussed elsewhere, sorry. :upside_down:

I did. I mentioned that when doing a 3d engrave, if you ended up darkening your engrave, you might be able to do a lighter, faster pass to clean it off. I posted a video from a trotec engrave where they did just that.

So @rebecca, what is happening, is that when doing a dark engrave it only darkens the very topmost layer of the material. When you do another faster engrave it removes that very top layer and leaves a bit underneath that has been subjected to less heat, so it didnt get darkened like it did before on that slower pass.

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Ah, that’s it. Here’s a link to it for anyone else that wants to see it:

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The darkening is mostly re-deposited vaporized material like sap from the wood that re-settles. The protective coating that we use on Proofgrade materials intercepts this to keep the surface clean. To clean in the crevices, you can use orange cleaner as mentioned above (and shown here), re-engrave as Rebecca discovered, or other cleaning-type procedures like washing or sanding.

–dan

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Cool! Thanks! I learn something new every day!!

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has anyone tried one of those melamine foam sponges à la the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers? slightly dampened, probably. might be just coarse enough to take off the smut of the vapor deposition without overly damaging the wood. unsure how well it would work on a detailed engraving, but the bits around cuts and things should work.

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Running with air assist and getting the power/speed levels right where you want it for the aesthetic, won’t leave a lot of debris requiring removal. Get your projects tuned for a “one and done” may help avoid having to remove any of the finishing… Is my best advice

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I think (my argument from ignorance) that the ‘Fast Orange’ hand cleaner’s solvents probably aid in the dissolution of the vapor deposited sap and probably work well in tandem with the pumice light abrasive… and a toothbrush.

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A fingernail brush is good. You get more coverage per stroke than a toothbrush.

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A bit stiffer too.

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A medium bristle clothes brush is good for larger pieces - this is the one I use. It’s not available on Amazon anymore but something similar would work:

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Did anybody solve this for acrylic?
My issue is that a soft brush won’t clean and a hard brush scratches the material.
Here are a couple pics:
image

image

Removing the large pieces is relatively easy, but going through every little piece on intricate designs is a pain to say the least.
Tried a couple home solutions (including various brushes, but not there yet…

If you’re trying to clean the masking paper off & not the white frosted layer, there are a few things to try. You can use the Gorilla Tape method where you place a piece of Gorilla Tape on the engraved object, press it down and then peel it off and it should bring the masking with it.

You can also try scraping it with a plastic scraper or even another piece of acrylic - I used that technique to do 100 challenge coins with a lot of detail in the engraving. It won’t scratch because it’s the same hardness as the acrylic you’re de-masking but it’s stiff enough to push/scrape the masking off.

I believe you can also use a denatured alcohol soak (I think someone posted about that) but I haven’t done that myself as the two previous methods work fine for the acrylic I use. Just make sure it’s not acetone because that will ruin your project :slight_smile:

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I second the idea of using something to scrape off the tape. (I often use a credit card edge.) Sticky tape is my second go to method. FWIW, I usually remove the masking from the top of acrylic, especially when engraving. The masking can get gummed up in the engraving and can be hard to clean. It’s a lot easier to take off one big piece than deal with all the little cut pieces later as well. Any soot usually wipes off pretty easily. I do leave the back masking on to prevent flashback marks though.

As far as actually cleaning acrylic, I tend to stick with a plastic cleaner. Alcohol can craze acrylic and cause minute cracks. I ruined a few big projects that way :-/

Something else that might interest you is @takitus post about defocusing when engraving on acrylic. Good stuff :slight_smile:

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I repeated the design this morning and duct tape worked great. Thanks all for the tip. You have to apply pressure, leave for a couple minutes, then pull.
A couple things I’ll try also (put on the freezer for 5 minutes, this should reduce adhesive thackiness).
Acetone is a definite no for acrylic, will destroy it.
And I agree with @kittski, if engraving it’s best to just remove the mask prior to doing it.
Will also try the defocused stuff. Seems interesting…

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A couple of things - freezing it might make it harder. An old trick in peeling a sheet of the masking paper from acrylic is to warm it with a hair dryer and it pulls off easily. Likely the same with bits. Cold may make it harder to do so experimentation is called for :slight_smile:

Also, be careful about peeling and then engraving. With clear acrylic especially you can get ghosting around your image. If you do peel, try making an outline score first that cuts the paper so you can peel off only what you’re going to engrave and leave the rest on the sheet to keep it from getting scratched.

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Cold only defeats film adhesives when they are being applied. For removal, even just letting stuff sit in the sun for a few minutes will help.

I had to pull graphics off of a tractor trailer last week. it was about 40 degrees (f) out, and took at least twice as long as it should have. If I hadn’t had my propane torch it would have taken twice as long again.

This is a terrific tip, thanks!

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