Among the many uses for which a Dremel oscillating cutter is suited, engraving is made possible by means of small metal bits designed for work on materials ranging in hardness from wood to granite. To get the best results from your efforts to engrave with a Dremel, follow a few simple tips and procedures.
Sketch on the Material
To ensure you get your design properly shaped and positioned on the object to engrave, sketch out the design beforehand, which also serves as a guide for the Dremel tip during the engraving itself. For porous materials, use pencil or chalk that you can erase or wash away if you make mistakes (or if traces remain after the engraving). With nonporous materials, use a grease pencil, makeup pencil or permanent marker; remove the ink using nail polish remover.
Choose your bit based on the size and shape of engraving groove you want to cut. While dedicated Dremel engraving bits are shaped like tiny, bladed or abrasive balls on the end of thin cylinders, you might also choose to engrave using an all-purpose carving/engraving bit shaped like a needle or cylinder with a fine point. Ball-tipped engraving bits will give you a consistent, deep groove as wide as the widest point of the ball while the finer-tipped points allow you more control over the shape and depth of the groove and allow you to make thinner lines.
Set the Speed
When starting to engrave, keep the Dremel set to one of its lowest speeds as higher speeds will usually cause the bit to skip over the material rather than settle in and cut the groove. Generally a setting of 2 or 3 on a 10-speed tool is ideal for engraving hard materials.
Start to Cut
When beginning a new engraving, start the tool spinning before you touch it to the material. Run the spinning bit lightly across the lines of your design to create a light scratch in the shape of the engraving, and run the bit back over the scratch line repeatedly to make the full engraving, which will get you better results than trying to engrave the lines in a single run because you gain more control over the line.
Create Consistent Depth
To create a consistent depth throughout your engraving, count the number of times you run the tool over each area line while keeping your speed as consistent as possible.
- "The Dremel Guide to Compact Power Tools"; Len Hilts; 1981
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