Here at Stylus Engravers we have years of experience in the engraving industry, so we know exactly what we’re doing when we receive your requests. However, we often get customers asking us how we do it, intrigued as to the process that goes on to achieve the engraved message or picture they have requested.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a short guide to the different methods and different engraving tools that we use. We have three different processes that are used to produce a range of different effects.1. Our ‘Top Secret’ Hand Engraving Tools
A lot of the work we do is produced using the traditional method of hand engraving. The equipment that we use is highly specialised and produces a fantastic finish, so we don’t want to give too much away!
However, we can tell you that we use interchangeable nibs and highly talented staff to produce hand-crafted designs. The only limitation is that the designs are one dimensional and it is difficult to deliver depth of field.What The Process Is Used For: Calligraphy handwriting and freehand designs.
2. Sandblasting & Computerised Negatives
We do a lot of work for corporate customers who require the engraving to be of the highest standard, with a precise, formal finish. For that process we use a form of sandblasting (you can see the step-by-step process here).
We create a computerised negative image and apply it to the item to be engraved with a sticky film, acting as a stencil. Although the process is called sandblasting, we actually use a fine aluminium oxide powder with a handheld tool.What The Process Is Used For: High quality engraving on products such as glass tankards.
3. Rotary Engraving Machine
Used for metal, plastics and laminate engraving, the rotary machine uses either diamond tips or carbide nibs to engrave the design.
Diamond tips are largely used for metal engraving, in a process that is known as ‘diamond drag engraving’. This involves the tip actually being dragged across the surface of the metal to achieve a slight depth.
Carbide nibs can be used for a number of flat products and various materials, including brass, aluminium and laminate. The nibs are sharpened to different widths, enabling us to create different sizes of lettering and graphics.What The Process Is Used For: Diamond tips are used for everything from metal photo frames to trinket boxes. Carbide nibs can be used for plaques, signs and trophies.
- Laminates are 2 ply – the surface material is the background colour and the material underneath is the colour of the text or graphics.
- We use 0.9mm brass and engrave it to a suitable depth for a black colour fill. This creates a lovely contrast between the engraving and the metal.
- We can engrave gold and aluminium with a diamond drag engraving process that is suited to small signage and trophies. Smaller aluminium plates can be engraved for trophies and awards.