Engraving is an art form that has been practiced for centuries. A historically important incising technique, it aided the revolution of printing, coining, and cartography. Today, engraving is used for labeling and making decorative elements. It can be performed on virtually all kinds of hard material, including metal, stone, and wood, among which metal is the most commonly used because it is workable and doesn’t easily break or chip. Plus, metal has a luster that exudes a classic and elegant feel not found in other materials.
One of the most popular metals used for engraving is brass. Besides having a gold-like appearance, this metal also boasts of softness and ductility suitable for cutting grooves. However, not all types of brass are excellent for engraving. Some are harder and less yielding than others. Those that contain just the right amount of zinc, particularly from the alpha-beta class, are the best option.
Tools Used for Engraving Brass
Advances in technology have greatly transformed the practice of engraving brass. The emergence of pneumatic tools and laser cutters has significantly sped up the process and increased its accuracy. These new tools though are only commonly used for mass productions and for engraving extremely elaborate and symmetrical patterns. Many craftsmen still rely on handheld tools for creating original designs. If you are looking to engrave on brass by hand, here are some of the basic tools you should consider using.
- Graver or Burin. This is the general term for the different types of hardened steel tools used for cutting designs into a metal surface. It comes in a variety of shapes and sizes that produce different lines, which is particularly essential for making intricate patterns. A graver may have a conical or sharp tip depending on what type of line and how deep they want to cut. The graver’s tip must have the right geometry to ensure that the lines are uniform on all sections of the design.
- Rotating Vice. For more precise lines and patterns, use a rotating vice to guide the graver as it cuts furrows on the brass plate. This device is used to hold the metal plate and rotate it continuously at a controlled speed. As the metal plate rotates, you can feed the graver onto the device until it makes contact with the metal and starts creating your desired lines. Just be careful not to push the graver too hard to avoid puncturing the plate or worse breaking your device.
- Dremel. Professional engravers that accept commission work often use power tools to expedite the process and produce more output. One of the power tools they use is a dremel. It’s a kind of automated graver that has a replaceable tip. It usually comes with a set of special engraving bits, which are available in different shapes and sizes.
To make the most out of these engraving tools, it helps to invest in high-quality engraving brass. Not only will a nice metal plate be easy to cut but the finished product will look distinctly beautiful as well. Get your metal from a leading supplier such as Rotax Metals. Consult with their metal experts so that you can find the right type of brass for your project.
About Rotax Metals: If you are looking for the right brass for your engraving project, turn to Rotax Metals. We have guaranteed high-quality brass plates that will surely exceed your expectations. Our company has been a leader in metal supply for over seven decades. We specialize in copper, brass, and bronze plates, sheets, tubes, and bars, catering to manufacturers, metal suppliers, craftsmen, and architects across North America.
How to Engrave Metal at Home
Engraving Tools, Cutters, Tool Bits and Diamond Tip Engraving Tools