Most models of sliding glass doors have various types of finish, some are frosted, some are matt and some are decorated with various patterns, but how do you get certain decorations?
The most commonly used method is sandblasting, a process that is achieved by launching sand particles at high speed to smooth a smooth surface, to engrave patterns on a surface, to clean certain metals, and when used with glass, sandblasting removes the clarity from the surface and makes it opaque.
How is sandblasting done?
The concept is quite simple, but what is the sandblasting process? Basically it involves the sand particles being pushed down a pipe on a high speed air stream. The sand shoots through a nozzle at the end of the pipe, hitting the glass and corroding the surface, leaving an opaque appearance. Different etching effects are achieved by varying the amount of sand used, the speed of the jet and the nozzle at the end of the pipe.
The incredible designs and details often seen in sandblasted glass are created simply by “masking” the areas of the glass that you don’t want to be affected by sand with an adhesive vinyl. The masked areas are not susceptible to sandblasting, so they remain crystal clear.
There are two main approaches to the operation of sandblasting: suction/siphoning and pressure. The suction method simply sucks the sand into the airflow at high speed, while the pressure system uses a pressurized container to pass the sand through the nozzle. Generally, pressure systems are more powerful and therefore produce results more quickly, but they also tend to be more expensive.
In addition, not only sand is used, there are many other abrasive materials that can be used for blasting, such as crushed nut or coconut shells, and in fact this is often preferable as silica sand (the traditional medium) can cause lung silicosis.
There are other ways of etching glass, which involve the use of acids and creams, but since these techniques involve extremely hazardous materials and do not offer the same range of technique or effect, sandblasting is still the most common approach.
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