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Engraving small text (steel and or aluminum): Stroke 100mil tall by 20 mil wide on a CNC mill

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slow-poke

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I just discovered the text wizard in Mach3 and made a few practice runs in aluminium that were somewhat successful.

I don't have an appropriate cutting tool, so for the first test I used a 1/8" end mill and that was okay for text 0.5" tall. I would like to add some much smaller text to a project I'm considering, so using a small pointy diamond cutting tool designed for a Dremel tool, I managed to engrave some fairly legible text 1/8" tall. No idea how long the Dremel bit will last.

I did this with fairly low turning speed, about 1000 RPM, the fastest I can go without changing the belts, and 0.005 depth for the first test and 0.010 depth for the second test. Looking for suggestions for a suitable cutting bit and any hints to optimize results.

Thanks
 

Glenn Goodlett

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I can't get the text wizard to work on my machine. I wonder why.

I have used a spring loaded engraving tool which came with some software to make the g code with good results from 2L Inc. (2Linc.com). But not cheap.
 
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RJSakowski

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dlane

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I can't get the text wizard to work on my machine. I wonder why.

Is it Chinese
 

Glenn Goodlett

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I can't get the text wizard to work on my machine. I wonder why.

Is it Chinese
I got it going. Turns out it was the fat round eye behind the keyboard. I wish I had someone else to blame.
 

dlane

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In today’s world 2 eyes don’t always work sometimes
 

benmychree

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Most engraving is done with a single lip D type cutter, either HSS or carbide; for very small characters, a 3 or 4 sided faceted bit can be used; I have engraved characters as small as .013 tall, but the Gorton company "took the cake", they engraved the Lord's prayer within a circle .005" in diameter back in the 1930s; the characters were only 2 1/2 tenths of a thousandth tall and engraved a few millionths of an inch deep. The commonly used engraving cutter has a 60 degree included angle and is used for most engraving work, sometimes used as sharpened to a fine point, and sometimes is "tipped off" with a flat ground on its end with cutting clearance in both directions, this results in a more bold character. I use 45 degree included angle cutters for making steel stamps on my Gorton 3-U engraver
 

slow-poke

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RJ,

Super job!

I ordered the same set, thanks
 

RJSakowski

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Most engraving is done with a single lip D type cutter, either HSS or carbide; for very small characters, a 3 or 4 sided faceted bit can be used; I have engraved characters as small as .013 tall, but the Gorton company "took the cake", they engraved the Lord's prayer within a circle .005" in diameter back in the 1930s; the characters were only 2 1/2 tenths of a thousandth tall and engraved a few millionths of an inch deep. The commonly used engraving cutter has a 60 degree included angle and is used for most engraving work, sometimes used as sharpened to a fine point, and sometimes is "tipped off" with a flat ground on its end with cutting clearance in both directions, this results in a more bold character. I use 45 degree included angle cutters for making steel stamps on my Gorton 3-U engraver
John, thank's for the memory. I recall hearing about this engraving feat many years ago. What makes it so spectacular is that it was done by human hands without the aid of CNC. In this day of CNC laser engraving, it seems like a trivial endeavor, the high tech equipment require not withstanding. But to put it in perspective, 2 microinches of engraving depth is about one tenth the wavelength of visible light. Optics are typically polished to 1/4 wavelength or better. In order for the engraving to stand out, the surface finish would have had to been much smoother.
Here is a link to the whole story.
http://lordsprayerpin.com/history/
 

Richard King 2

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I have seen people use a lathe center drill in CNC mills to engrave letters in my parts. Cheap too
 

slow-poke

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The engraving bits arrived. First attempt in steel is far from perfect but functional, what I learned:
1) Go slow.
2) Starting with a rusty piece of steel is not a great idea ;-)
3) Good thing this is a hobby, I could have purchased one of these for about $20, so my $/hr just set a new record low.;-)

Now I need to purchase some fine thread metric taps, I only have coarse thread at the moment.

This is a fun hobby!
DC.jpg
 
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P. Waller

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#12
Use an engraving cutter which are readily available from such sources as MSC. Choose one that fits your requirements for width and depth of cut.
Simple as can be.
 
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