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How-To label /etching/engraving HSS Tooling

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9t8z28

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#1
I have many HSS lathe turning tools that I picked up at a local swap meet. Most of them have been ground for a particular use on the lathe and since they have job names and numbers labeled on them I assume they were used in a production setting. My question is how do you label the shanks of high speed steel tool blanks ? I posted a picture of a few that have been labeled and I want to know how to do it. I have a hand held electric engraver and obviously it will not touch HSS. I am not sure if you need a carbide tip for the engraver? Please take a look at the picture and tell me how they etched or engraved them. The lettering appears to be black in color and somewhat raised. I have tried to sand it off and it seems like it is deep into the surface.

image.jpg
 

RJSakowski

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#2
Nowadays, most marking is done with a high power laser. Previously marking of the sort you are referring to would be done with an electrochemical etch. There used to be battery operated marking pens which used a conductive solution and a fine felt tip with a voltage applied between the part and the tip. I haven't seen one for several decades though. An acid etch could be done by applying a wax coating and scratching the pattern through to bare metal. A strong acid is applied with a swab to create a shallow etch. Engraving with an electrical engraving tool should probably not be used on the shanks of tools like end mills and drills as it would raise a small burr. It would be OK for lathe tools though. A diamond sylus could be used for manual engraving.

Those in the photo look like an electrochemical etch.
 

benmychree

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#3
Spark engraving is another method, a copper tip does the work; one time I saw a outfit that clamped two flat pieces in a bandsaw blade welder with insulated wires attached, a ground clamp on one, and a wood handled copper stylus on the other.
Also, along that line, Gorton made a spark engraving attachment for their line of engraving machines, it uses a tungsten electrode held in a carrier that fits in place of the machine spindle and has an electric vibrator to jiggle the electrode up and down while the copy is being traced. I am the proud owner of one, but rarely use it.
 

derf

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#4
Those were marked with an "Arc-o-graph", electric pen.
 

Bi11Hudson

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#5
I have to dig really deep in my memory... ... Waayyy back in the '70s, when I was working maintenance at the pipe shop(a foundry), I had occasion to use a device in the tool room to mark some electrical tools. The device operated sorta like a light duty welder,,, consisted of a very large transformer and a live probe in a wood handle and a ground(?) wire. Sorry I don't remember more, it was a loonnngggg time back. I still have a few wrenches that I marked, the text lines were fairly thin but held up for better than 40 years.

Bill Hudson​
 

9t8z28

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#8
Nowadays, most marking is done with a high power laser. Previously marking of the sort you are referring to would be done with an electrochemical etch. There used to be battery operated marking pens which used a conductive solution and a fine felt tip with a voltage applied between the part and the tip. I haven't seen one for several decades though. An acid etch could be done by applying a wax coating and scratching the pattern through to bare metal. A strong acid is applied with a swab to create a shallow etch. Engraving with an electrical engraving tool should probably not be used on the shanks of tools like end mills and drills as it would raise a small burr. It would be OK for lathe tools though. A diamond sylus could be used for manual engraving.

Those in the photo look like an electrochemical etch.
Is the diamond stylus similar to a drag engraver ? I’m wondering if there is a way for me too use a diamond on the tip of my engraver
 

9t8z28

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#10
Does anyone know of a cheaper way of engraving my HSS lathe tools?
 

RJSakowski

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Downunder Bob

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#13
You can use a fine diamond tip in a dremel type tool, you can also use electric spark engraving, bought machines can be a bit pricey but you can make one out of an old battery charger. I've even seen a car battery used, but you need to find a way to limit the current. Google spark engraving.
 

9t8z28

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#14
Thanks guys. Ill look into them. I am especially interested in the spark engraver Using a car battery
 
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