Hand - There are many different ways of engraving. However, what comes to everyone's mind is the guy bent over chipping away with an assortment of tools in his hand.
"The “push graver” method of hand engraving had a heyday that lasted roughly from the 1700s to the 1950s. It had evolved from cave writing into an art form — in the 18th and 19th centuries, many engravers focused on the rich, who could afford to have decorative silver pieces created for their enjoyment.
Many of these engravers referred to their profession as “precious metal engraving” because much of the work was an adjunct to silversmithing and the engraving of precious metal jewelry. Paul Revere was a famous silversmith, and he and others of his time engraved beautiful silver and pewter pieces whose function was largely to show off the owner’s wealth.
Common engravings of this time included family crests, coats of arms, monogrammed
silverware, teapots and other household items."
For much of history engraving was done by hand, usually one stroke at a time. However nowadays if someone is hand engraving they would be using a hand electric engraver.
Stamp - Stamp engraving involves indenting the letters directly onto the surface. It is really the middle ground between hand and CNC engraving.
If I had to engrave without electricity this would be my choice as there is no need for electricity to operate however you still need some sweat and labour, just not nearly as much as doing it by hand.
Schimdt Stamp Engraver.
What is CNC?
Computer numerical control. This basically means it is controlled by a computer.
Generally, most engraving now a days is computerized. This allows for a more accurate engraving as well as less time involved, which has massively brought down the price of engraving compared to the pre-1940s.
CNC Rotary Engraving
Rotary engraving involves a sharp engraving bit that is shaped for extruding material as it rotates (very fast) along the path. Generally rotary engraving is used on plastics, acrylic, glass, wood, ceramic, and stone. You could try rotary engraving on other materials such as soft metal, however it is dangerous. I have done it, please don't do it. Highly do not recommend. That said if engraving on soft material it is easy, just make sure to have a vacuum available as it can be messy.
Caution on sound.
CNC Diamond Drag Engraving
Diamond tipped engraving bits are used to etch into harder materials that the rotary engravers carbide tips would not be able to. Can be used on all of the same materials as well as brass, aluminum, and steel. However, engraving on steel adds a lot of wear on your diamond bit and can even dislodge the diamond so caution is advised if you want to keep your bit in good condition.
CNC Laser Engraving
Super cool, laser engraving is both accurate and fast. However, you would not want to accidentally look into the laser as you can go blind. Laser engraving is used on wood, plastic, metal, stone and glass. Do not expect it to cut deeply into anything.
S zillayali 20 June 2012 is licensed under creative commons attribution-share Alike 3.0
In the next post I talk about the four fonts that I commonly use to engrave.