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  #1  
Old 10-03-2002, 03:25 PM
fitzo fitzo is offline
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Logo Etching Stencil Manufacturers

I am long overdue on getting this information out, and I apologize for the delays. I hope this may be of some benefit to those who do electrochemical marking of their logos.
That said, after an abysmal experience with Marking Methods, I undertook contacting several stencil manufacturers, and obtained sample stencils and pricing information to pass on to the forum members.
All of the folks I contacted were friendly and helpful. None hesitated to send me samples. A couple even offered to cut a sample from my artwork, which was above and beyond.
In subsequent posts, I will detail the information as I understand it regarding pricing, stencil description, etc. Pricing is difficult to compare as everyone seems to structure it differently. Manufacturers will be e-mailed this thread URL and be encouraged to comment as they feel necessary.

I cut sample stencils in the following manner:
A bar of ATS34 was surface ground to 120 grit then HT'd and tempered to Rc=58. The surface was then reground, then finished to 220 grit and oversanded with 400 grit paper to approximate a working handfinish.
Using a Marking Methods Mark Mark 300 unit with the power set to "3", and the standard large graphite electrode with MSC-1 electrolyte, a cleaned electrode and fresh application batting was used for each stencil. The DC/ deep etch was done for 13 strikes of 3 seconds each, with a 2-5 second interval between, followed by 5 strikes of 3 seconds on AC/ Normal etch to blacken. (note: some were less strikes due to the stencil, see below). The stencils were not tested for longevity. The etches were then checked with a magnifier for crispness of etch boundary.

I wish to gratefully thank the manufacturers for their kind willingness to supply information and stencil samples.
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  #2  
Old 10-03-2002, 03:55 PM
fitzo fitzo is offline
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Stencils, cont'd

ElectroChem-Etch
545 A West Lambert Road
Brea, CA 92821

ph. 714-671-7744

http://www.ecemmi.com/

Contact: Sy Haeri


Stencil supplied was a generic that said "YOUR NAME" curved over "CITY, STATE" in a green fabric with a shiny rubbery backing. Three sizes were supplied on one sheet, six stencils total, in a bold Arial-type font, ~ 3/16, 1/8, and 1/16" tall.
The letters cut deeply, evenly, and with very crisp edges to the letters. Cleaning by hand with a mild soap returned the stencil to nearly the original appearance.

Pricing: quoting Sy: " The cost of our green stencils for a 3x6" sheet is $12. Set up per logo is usually $30, unless it is something complicated. ... We attempt to fit as many images as possible depending on image size. Typically between 6 and 9 images, and they can be different sizes, too."

In addition to stencils, ElectroChem Etch markets the "Personalizer" and other etchers, and also a kit for making your own stencils.

Last edited by fitzo; 10-03-2002 at 04:22 PM.
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  #3  
Old 10-03-2002, 04:17 PM
fitzo fitzo is offline
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Stencils, cont'd

IMG-Electromark
P.O. Box 379
Utica, NY 13503

ph. 800-775-3824

http://www.img-electromark.com/

Contact: Patricia Bruno

Numerous stencils were supplied of typeface and small images of animals and fish. The material was a blue fabric with a shiny, nearly see-thru back. I found that this stencil is a bit more transparent to the current than some others and as such, heat became an issue. One needs less strikes (8-10) and must pay attention to the heat otherwise one would burn up the stencil. This is not a problem, but an observation regarding techique. 1/8" tall letters in a fine Arial-type font cut cleanly and deeply, with very crisp definition. 1/16" bolder Arial-type lettering cut very well, also, including the # sign that was in the type. ~5/8" tall images of an elk and a salmon cut very cleanly also, a good test of the mix of fine and bold portions of the image. Stencils seemed to clean up well, with some residue left in the finest portions of the elk image.

Pricing: per price sheet: "Artwork charges- one time only-For each new design....$35 Revision Charges..For Minor Revisions to existing Design.....$20. Stencils per sheet 2-1/2 x 7" $8.50; 3-3/4x7" $12.95; 5x7" $15.75." Pat said they are willing to mix sizes on one stencil sheet.

Pat was a joy to deal with and very helpful. They are very used to dealing with knifemakers, and are the supplier for the blank stencil material for making your own stencils, in addition to selling a full line of marking products and solutions.
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  #4  
Old 10-03-2002, 04:43 PM
fitzo fitzo is offline
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Stencils, cont'd

Lectroetch Co.
5342 Evergreen Parkway
Sheffield Village, OH 44054

ph. 440-934-1293

http://lectroetch.com/

Contact: Dave in Sales

Stencils were supplied on a dark green fabric. Lectroetch used my MS Word file to generate my logo as a sample. The logo is 13/16" long and about 1/2" tall, with lettering 3/16" to 1/16" in an oddball font called Maiaindra bold. This is apprently a difficult font to work with, because unretouched, the stencils cut well but with alot of lack of definition to the edges. All 5 stencils on the sheet were tried with various numbers of strikes and current, but the lack of definition persisted. Some letters were crystal clear and crisp while others were a bit fuzzy. When contacted, Lectroetch immediately sent me another two samples, one on a higher-threads-per-inch fabric (gold) and one with the font replaced by a bold Arial-style. My logo still cut poorly with the "best" material, but the Arial-type on the green cut crisp and clear with no complaints. Apparently my font selection is a bit difficult to reproduce directly from a computer file.....After cleaning, there appeared to be alot of metal residue in the stencil, but repeat etches were well done without loss of definition.

Pricing: per Dave Badt, Pres.: "our 2.5x7" stencil sheets cost $9.75 each, regardless of the quantity of images on the sheet. There is a $25 one time setup fee for each new artboard and plate we have to create.........I have mentioned my decision to waive our normal $25 minimum charge for the makers only... to better meet their smaller requirements."

This company went out of their way to be courteous and helpful. I apologize to them for giving artwork that was not readily ammenable to direct use. Marking Methods were correct that this font needed detailing by hand. Lectroetch is very willing to deal with the small requests of the individual maker, and their stencil made from their artwork was as good as any. They come highly recommended as the stencil source for a couple of the knifemaker's supply houses. Anecdotally, I was told that their stencils lasted so long one person went to a new stencil out of a sense of guilt...LOL. In addition to the stencils they carry a full array of equipment and supplies. Very prompt and professional, a joy for the small customer.

Last edited by fitzo; 10-03-2002 at 06:21 PM.
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  #5  
Old 10-03-2002, 04:54 PM
fitzo fitzo is offline
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Stencils, cont'd

Marking Methods, Inc.
301 South Raymond Ave.
Alhambra, CA 91803

ph. 626-282-8823

http://www.markingmethods.com/

Contact: Customer Service

My original post regarding my dealings with MM:
http://www.ckdforums.com/showthread....&threadid=7740
While I must say they aggravate me very much because of the way they conduct business, I am obligated to say they make a fine product. I have used my Mark 300 for nearly 17 years without problem and the stencils have always cut beautifully; despite having an apparently difficult font to reproduce, they did it by hand and the stencil cuts as crisp as anyone's.

Pricing: $12 per sheet for gold stencils..they wouldn't cut mine on the green stuff. $20 plate charge. $21.73 art charge per plate. I had my logo reproduced in three sizes, one sheet each, 5 per sheet. Cost was around $170 total.

Now, if only they "liked" the small customer.....
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  #6  
Old 10-03-2002, 05:15 PM
fitzo fitzo is offline
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Stencils, cont'd

Martronics Corp.
P.O. Box 200
Salkum, WA 98582

ph. 800-775-0797

http://www.martronics-corporation.com/

Contact: Shirley


Three stencils on three different materials were supplied. My small 5/8" logo was provide on a purple fabric. It seems someone may have been eating a snickers when they packaged it, as it arrived gooey and dirty, plus it had a crease in it. It cut terrible, with ill-defined and incomplete letters. A second stencil made from a green rubbery-backed fabric saying "SAMPLE MARK" in 1/4" tall bold Arial-type font cut very clean and crisp. The third stencil was a very large version of my logo, ~ 2", on a blue plastic film, which looked like someone had done a drum-beat on it with a butterknife edge.. there were creases all over it. Despite this, it cut very well.

Pricing: per e-mail from Lisa: I couldn't get a real good breakdown for pricing, perhaps I asked the questions wrong. I sent my artwork and asked for a quote for one sheet each in three sizes. Their response: "for one sheet of 5-6 stencils using the artwork that you e-mailed to me the cost would be right around $70 no more. For one sheet of 5-6 stencils and artwork that we had to create or do alot of work on the cost would be $70 for the stencils and $25-$50 for the art and plate." They are really expensive or really cheap, I can't quite figure out what they mean. Perhaps they'll clarify.

Martronics is the manufacturer of the "Etch-o-Matic" etcher and sells the appropriate supplies, also.

Last edited by fitzo; 10-03-2002 at 06:19 PM.
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  #7  
Old 10-03-2002, 05:31 PM
fitzo fitzo is offline
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Stencils. cont'd

Monode Marking Products, Inc.
7620 Tyler Blvd.
Mentor, OH 44060

ph. 440-975-8802

http://www.monode.com/

Contact: Karen Wagner, Sales Manager

The stencil supplied was on a purple fabric, and contained letters ranging from an artistic font italic "Monode" 3/8" tall to a phone number line in letters 1/16" in an Arial-type font. The stencil cut very cleanly and crisply across this broad range of sizes, with the only exception being a little bluriness on this really tiny "TM" after the "Monode".

Pricing: per telephone: Camera charge is $15. Art charge is $24, $15 for revisions such as a city change. Multiple sizes on the same sheet have a $32 art charge. 2-1/2x7" stencil sheets with 4-5 images per sheet are $10.90 each.

Monode carries an extensive line of etching devices and products, along with stamps, hot stamps, and stencil making equipment.
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  #8  
Old 10-03-2002, 05:50 PM
fitzo fitzo is offline
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Stencils, cont'd

TUS Technologies
537 State Road
N. Dartmouth, MA 02747

ph. 508-997-3200

http://users.rcn.com/tustech/

Contact: Juergen Hallemeier

Various stencil samples were supplied on a brown fabric, available in two weights. The first stencil was in a Times-Roman serif font about 1/4" tall, and cut very well. A second stencil in a handwritten-signature style with very bold letters 1/8-3/8" tall also cut excellently. The third stencil was multiple sizes of an Arial-type font ranging from ~3/8" tall bold "T.U.S." to 1/16" fine phone number. ALl of these sizes cut very crisp and cleanly also. These stencils also exhibited a high "transparency" to the current, cutting very fast, and generaing alot of heat at the conditions chosen. Care must be taken too avoid burning the stencils.

Pricing: per Juergen: "A typical sheet stencil 2-1/2"x7-1/2" with 5-6 impressions is $12.40 each. The setup charge is $20-for 4 impessions, $22-for five, and $24-for 6 impressions, using e-mailed art as you recently supplied." I make the assumption there would be an additional charge for TUS generating the artwork or retouching a supplied computer file.

TUS is very anxious to serve the knifemaking community and has contacted me by phone to see if I was satisfied. They carry an array of equipment and supplies.

Last edited by fitzo; 10-03-2002 at 08:08 PM.
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  #9  
Old 10-03-2002, 05:59 PM
fitzo fitzo is offline
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Stencils, finis

Well, there are my impressions and the information I obtained. I made no attempt to be comprehensive in searching out suppliers, and am sure there are others.
All of the companies seem to provide a good product, although Martronics could have been a bit more professional about the way it was supplied with attached goo and creases.
All the companies had very nice, courteous response to my requests, and were anxious to help us as knifemakers, with the exception of the folks at Marking Methods, who leave something to be desired in that respect, although they make a great product.
I would add the caveat that the quality of artwork and whether they rework it is going to have alot to do with the quality of your stencils; I would gladly pay an additional art charge again after seeing the effect of direct use from my MS Word file.
As stated earlier, I will forward this thread URL to the manufactureres and invite them to provide any additional commentary they feel necessary.
Hope this helps a bit on your stencil-maker selections in the future.
Best regards to all....
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  #10  
Old 10-03-2002, 06:50 PM
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Mike Hull Mike Hull is offline
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Very nice Mike. I know you have gone to a lot of trouble, and spent a lot of time on this. All so that other knifemakers may benefit. Thank you very much.
My hat is off to you.


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Last edited by Mike Hull; 10-03-2002 at 06:59 PM.
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  #11  
Old 10-03-2002, 07:23 PM
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Bob Warner Bob Warner is offline
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Great research.

So, who are you going to buy from?


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Old 10-03-2002, 08:06 PM
fitzo fitzo is offline
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thanks

Thanks, Mike and Bob, for the kind words. I'm sorry it took so long.

Bob, economically, since I've already paid for the art, it would be wisest for me to go back to Marking Methods for repeats of the same stencils. I have no qualms saying they are a benchmark in quality. That is, of course, if they'd sell to me; after bashing them a bit I might be on their "list".
Otherwise, I would feel comfortable going to any of the companies (Martronics would have to keep the candy-bar off the stencils, of course), and will if I require different stencils from what I have now. My experience has taught me though that one must be very careful of the artwork and how it is rendered. Many art submissions are going to have to be redone just to get the best quality etch. Buyers should be very certain of what the seller is offering in quality from buyer-prepared art; a sample may not be a bad request, even if it's adulterated with a purposely added mark to prevent knife use.
An unanswered question here would be expectations of longevity. I toss my stencils after 2-3 uses, so did not address that issue.
I'm sorry I won't give a better answer of who I'd use; I'd feel uncomfortable doing that at this time, so soon after these write-ups.

I know for a fact that the people who have dealt with Lectroetch and IMG are very happy with the results and performance. The others I have no direct knowledge from any maker. Perhaps they'll chime in here.
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  #13  
Old 10-03-2002, 08:49 PM
StevePryor StevePryor is offline
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"Overdue" is right...man what a bum!! Bet ya been trompin round the hills of MO. or something. Good report for a bum though.:cool:


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Old 10-03-2002, 10:24 PM
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Bob Warner Bob Warner is offline
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I buy the enexposed material (Blue) from IMG. Pat is very kind and has assisted me with samples and unexposed material when I was looking around. I will stay with them for now.


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Old 10-04-2002, 06:43 AM
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Thanks, Mike- Great review!


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