Engraving Machine Uses: Deep Engraving in Stainless Steel
A heavy duty engraving machine produces accurate, repeatable, cost-effective work in considerably less time than it takes to do the same work by hand. An engraving machine can handle applications such as milling, drilling, contouring, routing and engraving, and is capable of cutting out 2' x 4' sheets of plastic, metal, and more. Applications include: signs and particle board masters, cutout letters, 3D geometric designs, inlays, control panels, and routing of wood, acrylic, Plexiglas, Corian, sign foam and plastics.
Deep Engraving in Stainless Steel
Deep engraving in stainless steel can be a challenging and slow process. However, it is also highly profitable for those who have the right heavy-duty engraving machines and accessories. Here is a quick, step-by-step example of how to deep-engrave a stainless steel electrical plate using an engraving machine. We also used a paint-fill after engraving to enhance the look of the letters and numbers.
For this project, we used our engraving machine and software and a tool path with a depth of .016' and four passes (we engraved four times to get the proper look and depth and to get maximum tool life) on the material. The cutting tool used was a 2 Flute Ball Nose End Mill with a .030' tip. It was bottom-loaded into a split-collet spindle.
Step 1: Clamp the part securely to the table. The part cannot move at all during engraving or the quality will be poor and the cutting tool can easily break. The area to be engraved by the engraving machine should also be completely flat or the engraving depth will be inconsistent.
Step 2: For this example, we set the Home position in the center of the area to be engraved by the engraving machine to minimize potential variances in depth. We then set the surface of the tool on the material.
Step 3: When deep-engraving into hard metals, always use a coolant. Here, we used a few drops of cutting oil and smeared it over the area to be engraved. Another great option is to use a lubrication system, which applies a steady amount of a vegetable-based coolant onto the surface.
Step 4: Send the job to the engraving machine. Use a very slow feed rate and high RPMs when deep-engraving into stainless steel. Here, we used an XY and Z feed rate of .1 inches per second and a spindle speed of 18,000 RPMs. Clean debris off the material using a brush, vacuum, or compressed air.
Step 5 To enhance the text and increase contrast, you can flood the engraved area with paint and let dry for a minute. Put a dab of alcohol on a cloth. Wrap the cloth around something with a rigid edge (such as a piece of scrap metal or plastic) and wipe back and forth removing any excess paint.
Deep engraving in stainless steel can be a relatively challenging and slow process. However, by implementing a heavy duty engraving machine it can also be highly profitable. Following these steps will allow you to more easily deep-engrave stainless steel using an engraving machine.