The method used to manufacture nail art stamping plates is called laser etching or sometimes laser engraving. Whereas traditional artists used acid and sharp tools, the laser etching machines use laser to create the images on the plates. I will not go into the details as Wikipedia has an excellent explanation about the process of laser etching for those of you who are really, really interested. Instead, I am about to talk about the details that affect the plate quality from nail art stamping point of view.
From that point of view, there are some big issues concerning the plates:
- Etching quality
- Image format
High quality stamping plates are made from stainless steel. As I told you in the previous post, copper is regarded as the best metal for transferring images. But as stainless steel is much harder metal, it is preferred for the nail art stamping plates. That way the plates will last for a lifetime, even if you will use the metal scraper.
Laser etching was originally invented for making markings in rubber and many of the machines do not do metal at all or the quality is not good. Other problems may arise from the laser line-width. Not all laser etching machines are good for high detail art work, remember that they were originally meant for marking machine parts.
As you may have noticed in our status messages, we are often not talking about drawing the images, but processing the images. That is because the laser etching machines do not accept normal bitmap images, they require vector graphics. Of course they can work with regular images too, but the picture below shows the difference in quality between different formats.
While the regular laser etching machines are capable of creating nail art stamping plates, the cost is humonguous compared to the regular Konad plates. There are also "nail art stamping plate machines" – specific laser etching machines created for that task. The bad thing is that those machines do not do single plates. When they are started, they spit out hundreds of plates. That is why we chose to create a new collection of plates instead of just printing one set of plates for ourselves.