Engraving Metal: How To Engrave Metal Without Errors
Perhaps, you are new to metal engraving or just fascinated about how texts or images are made on metallic materials. Then you’re at the right place. Thanks to the durable and malleable nature of metals, they are a perfect candidate for engraving.
Engraving is an old practice that can be traced far back to the first millennium. It wasn't until the middle ages that smiths started using engraving to make artistic and fancy impressions on metals. Apart from having artistic skills, here are a few tips on how to properly engrave metals without errors, especially if you are a newbie.
Know thy tools.
If you are particularly new to traditional engraving, one of the first things you want to get right in avoiding metal engraving errors is your engraving tools. Meaning, you should understand how the tools work and what kind of metals you can use the tools to manipulate. There are different types of malleable metal, such as copper, brass, and so on. Knowing the tools that can cut or easily shape them will go a long way in making impressive designs.
For example, one of the tools used in making engraving design on metals is the graver or burin. This tool is made of steel and other metal alloys, which are essentially tougher than the metal you want to engrave on. Burins are manufactured in varying sizes which determine the type and size of lines that will be impressed on your material. Depending on the sophistication of your design, you may need to combine different types of burns.
Before initiating any design on metallic material, you want to make sure your metal is soft enough. The texture of the metal you want to "play" with is one of the major causes of engraving errors as the burin can break if the metal texture is too strong. As soon as the burin breaks, even if it's microscopic damage, it becomes difficult to effectively control it on the metal surface. Altogether, there is a need for a high degree of competence to achieve metal engraving via traditional methods
Engraving by laser
The use of lasers are modern ways of engraving metal as they offer a higher degree of accuracy. Laser engraving involves the use of high laser beam temperature to vaporize or melt the surface of your chosen metallic material leaving a noticeable and touchable cavity or impression. It's easy once you have a concept and can create the design using CorelDraw Photoshop, or Autocad. Still, you can avoid errors the following ways.
- Calibrate your laser.
Regardless of the material, you want to test and calibrate your machine with different cutting speeds, cut depth, line thickness, and laser intensity. This way, you'll avoid unnecessary error and waste of material
- Smoke stain
While this is more common with wood, engraving with laser is generally a heat and smoke-generating process irrespective of the material, making the smoke stain a common source of error. To avoid this error, use masking tape to cover the surface of your metal. Don't worry, lasers will cut through the tape just fine and get a cleaner product devoid of smoke dust.
- Employ professional engraving service.
If you are a beginner and want something more exquisite than an amateur design, companies like "The Engraving People" can help you with your engraving needs. They work with different materials including metals.