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Thursday 19 September 2019
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CNC Engraving

History

CNC machines have a multitude of uses – one of these is engraving. Engraving involves etching a pattern or design into the surface of the chosen solid material. The earliest recorded engravings were found on ostrich eggshells which were used to hold water in around 60,000 BC. For a long time, engravings were made using handheld tools which would take a great amount of skill and learning. Engraving jobs would be saved for the most talented artisans: carpenters or goldsmiths who had experience in manipulating hard materials to a high degree of precision and quality. The work would take time to complete even for the most talented craftsman, not to mention the less adept manufacturers and the possibility of human error.

Fortunately, CNC engraving machines are now able to create extremely detailed and precise designs in a fraction of the time, with the only room for human error being in the programming or neglecting machine maintenance. CNC machines have become a method which means we no longer have to sacrifice speed for condition. Despite the character and craftsmanship of a handmade piece being largely romanticised, if you are looking for quality AND quantity – CNC machines are the tool for you.

Materials

Engraving can be carried out on various materials. Some examples of materials used for engraving are:

  • Leather
  • Coated materials/laminates
  • Marble
  • Stone
  • Glass
  • Brass
  • Wood
  • Plastic
  • Steel
  • Bronze
  • Aluminium

Machines

There is also more than one type of CNC machine which can be used for engraving. Usually, engravings will be produced by CNC routers, laser machines or milling machines. CNC routers and milling machines work very similarly and are both effective engraving machines. The benefits of each depend on the job in hand, for example, milling machines tend to have slower spindle speeds, making it more durable for hard surfaces, however, routers usually have a larger working space and have an advantage for creating sharp, angular edges. Both have their own advantages, depending on the size and material of the engraving job at hand.

Laser CNC machines are extremely effective engraving machines. Lasers can be used to engrave through cutting the material, or discolouring/burning the engraving in. Common laser types include laser diodes, CO2 Gas lasers, crystal lasers and fibre lasers. With so many options for CNC engraving machines and materials, be sure to contact a professional CNC company to find out which type of CNC machine is best for your job.