Shop for premium quality crystal awards. EDCO crystal is unrivaled in style and delivers on quality. Our eye-catching designs are produced from the clearest k9 optical crystal, jade crystal and premium glass. We manufacture and stock awards in bulk, offer wholesale pricing direct to consumer and guarantee delivery with your complete satisfaction!
Optical Crystal is generally constructed from several elements which aid in its clarity including silica, lead oxide and potash as opposed to glass which frequently contains soda lime making it cloudy. Optical crystal is known for its clarity and refraction. When cut and polished in a precise manner, crystal awards go a step beyond glass creating rainbow prisms when placed under a light making it the perfect option to use in creation of awards and fine trophies.
The differences between laser and abrasive etching on crystal awards are vast. Our process of deep abrasive etching is uncompromising in quality but necessary to create premium quality crystal awards. Here we explain both processes and why abrasive etching is far superior. Once the creation of artwork and proofing are completed the steps are vastly different with different end results.
For laser engraving the preparation and initial set-up is much quicker. The art to be engraved is positioned in the design software and the laser table is adjusted to obtain the proper distance from the lens. This brings the art in focus so that the convergence point of the beam is on the surface of the glass. The settings for power and speed are adjusted in the process control software and the file is sent.
Once the file has been sent, the laser is activated and a beam strikes the glass. Even though we call this engraving, the laser is actually reacting to the moisture trapped between the elements of silica and metal in the glass or crystal. Basically what is achieved are microscopic fractures of the glass which looks like “engraving”.
The overall quality is less than ideal and small artwork or reverse designs come out with questionable quality. Another drawback to laser engraving of crystal awards is the fact that the engraving area needs to be flat. There has to be clearance for the mirror and lens assembly as it travels back and forth without hitting other parts of the award. The laser process, while acceptable the majority of the time can disappoint occasionally. Its main attribute is that it is quick with much less set-up and preparation time resulting in a lower cost.
On the other hand, abrasive etching, also known as sandblasting of crystal awards is capable of producing great detail in logos and quality resolution can be held down to 4 point characters in lettering. This is especially important when etching smaller faceted designs found in our premium k9 clear crystal awards collection. The sand carving process can even be used to create images with a 50 dpi halftone screen. It is a photographic process and the quality of etching reflects this accuracy and detail.
To begin the preparations for sandblasting crystal a film positive is made. The film will have art reading correctly or backwards depending if the etching is going on the front or back of the crystal award. It is then inspected for opaqueness and that all lines are of a reproducible thickness. After this has been verified, the film is placed on an ultraviolet vacuum table exposure unit, a very thin mask which is basically a light sensitive diazo compound is placed above the UV lamp and film positive and a vacuum is applied to sandwich the film and mask together tightly. The UV lamp is turned on. After the exposure the mask is transferred to a washout machine which sprays heated water on the mask uniformly over the entire sheet. When the washout is complete there is a drying time before the mask can be handled.
After the drying time, the mask is ready to be adhered to the crystal or glass award. This step consists of placing the crystal on a grid so that the mask can be positioned squarely and centered on the award. Once positioned the mask is rubbed down to insure good contact to the glass surface. Now the rest of the award needs to be protected from the abrasive media by a combination of pressure sensitive tape and masking tape. A final inspection is now done to be sure there are no pin holes in the rubberized diazo mask and that the entire remaining areas of the glass are covered.
The next step has the crystal award being placed into the blast cabinet. At this time a trained and experienced craftsman will use the blast wand which when activated will shoot a stream of aluminum oxide blast media on to the award. Where the mask was not exposed by the ultraviolet light, the diazo washed away, leaving an area the blast media can contact the crystal surface. This is where the media being shot at high velocity hits and splinters on the crystal surface slowly etching it away.
The next step has the crystal trophy being placed in a large water tank to soften the mask for easy removal. The mask and tape are removed and the crystal award is dried and inspected. The final step is a thorough cleaning with glass cleaner and a final quality check for blast-offs, scratches or areas where the abrasive did not go through completely.
As you can see, the abrasive etching process is a much more time consuming process with many more steps and handling of the crystal trophies. However the end result is far superior to laser engraving glass or crystal. Understandably, the etching process is more costly but we feel well worth the investment to reward and motivate those people who deserve an award.
A vast collection of inspired Crystal Awards awaits. Recognition artworks designed using premium quality materials and innovative ideas crafted with precision. Shop and discover why some of the largest organizations in the world honor their top achievers with edco k9 crystals. Easy to purchase, edco awards always ship free anywhere in the USA with guaranteed delivery. Our design workshop also offers Custom Crystal Awards that will take your idea from concept and design to reality. There are no hidden fees, or set up charges and all engraving is always free. We offer endless possibilities limited only by imagination.