What Are the Different Types of Engraving Equipment?

Jay Leone

Engraving is the process of cutting or incising letters and designs into workpieces. There are many types of engraving equipment available to consumers. Metal, gemstones, plastic, wood and stone can all be engraved with various types of engraving equipment. Laser engravers, mechanical engraving machines and photo engravers are just a few of the different types of engraving equipment.

Laser cutters can be used to engrave metal.
Laser cutters can be used to engrave metal.

Mechanical engraving machines play a large part in the printing process. They employ stencils or models to transfer designs onto a workpiece. The machine's cutting bits dig into a workpiece and follow these stencils, effectively engraving the desired shape into the workpiece. Desired letters or images can be engraved onto plates, which can be linked into printing press systems.

Engraving kiosks may be located in retail malls.
Engraving kiosks may be located in retail malls.

Laser engravers do not utilize cutting attachments to engrave a workpiece, they use lasers. These lasers burn designs onto objects. A laser engraver is a type of equipment that also employs computer programs for operation. Designs are created on a computer program and transferred to a workpiece. Laser engraving technology is capable of easily engraving very intricate design patterns and lettering on either flat or curved surfaces.

Solid carbide engraving attachments are useful for engraving softer metals like brass.
Solid carbide engraving attachments are useful for engraving softer metals like brass.

Jewelry engravers are specific types of laser engravers. These versatile machines are relatively small and can be fitted in smaller shops or kiosks. Pet tags, photo frames, rings, trophy plates and many other objects are often engraved using jewelry engravers. Photo engravers are another popular type of laser engraver. Laser photo engraving equipment also employs special computer software to create images or lettering on a workpiece.

Engraving hand tools are commonly made of carbon steel and hardened steel.
Engraving hand tools are commonly made of carbon steel and hardened steel.

Most engraving machines use engraving attachments that are made out of durable materials such as carbide or diamond. Solid carbide engraving attachments are great for many engraving applications. They offer superior strength and are ideal for engraving softer metals such as copper, aluminum and brass. Special hardened carbide attachments can cut through harder materials such as stainless steel, titanium and other hard metals.

A diamond-tipped cutting attachment is the most durable type of cutting attachment available; it can cut through any material. Diamond is the hardest material on Earth, and a diamond-tipped attachment can engrave hard materials such as ceramic and glass. They can easily engrave limestone, sandstone and other types of soft stone, as well as granite and other types of hard stone. Diamond-tipped attachments also can easily engrave soft and hard metals such as aluminum, stainless steel, copper, brass and titanium.

Engraving may be used to create designs on goblets and other metal tableware.
Engraving may be used to create designs on goblets and other metal tableware.

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