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Engraving Stone

Posted by Brian Stanford  
Engraving Stone
October 15, 2010 06:52AM
Hi:
I joined Mindat in July, 1st time posting.
I'm interested in learning to engrave stone. Word engraving on smaller stone.
I'd appreciate any info or guidance relative to methods, best tools, equipment and stone, links or other information sources.
Thank You:
Brian
avatar Re: Engraving Stone
October 21, 2010 12:36PM
Hi again

Much depends on the hardness of the material you intend to carve / engrave.

I would suggest that any Dremel hand held drill would suffice - you could use dental bits for softer stone and diamond bits for harder material.

Most major hardware stores or lapidary supply house would cater for this.

Cheers
Re: Engraving Stone
October 21, 2010 01:11PM
Brian...I use a Foredom with a foot control to carve stone which I think would work...the new ones are reversable in direction so always spining water and rock away from you...use diamond bits with water drip...also have seen polished items that have been masked off then sand blasted to remove rock and/or the polish...Good luck ...Mike
Re: Engraving Stone
October 22, 2010 06:30AM
Thanks Mike

Brian
Re: Engraving Stone
October 22, 2010 06:40AM
Hi Keith:

I do have a Dremel, but have had trouble locating any suitable letter templates and find it hard to get a start without running all over the stone, if that makes any sense. No doubt, I need some type of scribe or other tool to mark the stone deep enough to have something to follow???

Thanks Again
Take care:
Brian
Re: Engraving Stone
October 22, 2010 06:44AM
Hi Mike:
I forgot to ask what model your Foredom tool is? Did it come with a water drip or is it something you rigged on your own?

Thanks.
Take Care:
Brian
Re: Engraving Stone
October 22, 2010 07:05AM
Hi:
In terms of good, better, best, I'd appreciate any experiences anyone has had, or recommendations relative to rotary tools, air gravers, sand blasting, lasers or other stone engraving methods.

Also, if it's allowed to mention company names, does anyone have any tool supplier preferences or is eBay the way most folks go?

Thank You.

Take Care:
Brian
avatar Re: Engraving Stone
October 22, 2010 12:22PM
Brian
What stone/rock are you trying to engrave?
Re: Engraving Stone
October 22, 2010 01:38PM
I use a Dremel to carve anything and everything. I personally find letter engraving extremely difficult, as it is difficult to get the forms strictly correct and symmetrical. I don't use a template. When I have to do letters, I mark out the letter with a fine sharpie and work each letter one "leg" at a time. Diamond bits come in a large variety of shapes and sizes (I have maybe two dozen), and they work best if you use a diamond extender lubricant. Tungsten carbide bits don't come in as many shapes and and don't come as finely pointed, but they cut most everything, and do it faster and sharper than the diamond does. (They are coarser and have cut spiral teeth, instead of being just abrasive.) Starting off can be difficult - you have to use a light touch so that you don't chatter over the surface. I find it helpful to do a light polish of the surface afterwards. This usually sharpens up the carved image and removes any chatter slips. I often find it easier to carve around the letters and leave them in relief, as I can do sharper edges and forms that way.
Good luck.
k
Re: Engraving Stone
October 22, 2010 06:11PM
Hi Keith:

Mostly various pieces of petrified wood that I've ground flat on one side. Also have some agate slabs that I've bought here and there that I'd like to try something on. Perhaps I'm starting out with stone that is too hard ???

Thanks:
Brian
Re: Engraving Stone
October 22, 2010 06:15PM
Hi Ken:

Thanks for your reply. Is the diamond extender lubricant you mentioned available at most stores that handle diamond bits or do you go to a specialty store?

Take Care:
Brian
Re: Engraving Stone
October 22, 2010 06:45PM
I haven't seen it in regular stores.
Re: Engraving Stone
October 22, 2010 07:21PM
Brian..I use an IV bottle/bag with a screw on cap...has an an ajustable drip that way...also made a shield out of plexi glass and plywood..the light plexi from Lowes bends pretty easy...about 16" wide and 36" long...drill hole on top for water source...petrified wood and agate are about a 7 hardness which is tougher to cut but the edges should be better...also you can make templets from contact paper just make sure surface is clean and dry..just stick them on and they will generaly stay in plsce till your done....depending on how deep you wish to go they make diamond wheels that look like a saw blade I believe I Kingsly North has them..if your having problems with the bit traveling maybe spinning to slow to cut....most all of the foredoms will work I think diamond bits need to spin at about 14000 rpm...Mike
Re: Engraving Stone
October 23, 2010 05:21AM
Thanks Mike:
Great tips, much appreciated !
Take Care:
Brian
Re: Engraving Stone
October 23, 2010 05:24AM
Thanks Ken
avatar Re: Engraving Stone
October 24, 2010 11:37AM
Brian

Cutting letters into stone by hand is a slow process

You could try outlining the letters first - aluminium pencil - using a letter guide (same as used by architects and the like) then using a small circular diamond saw - carefully cut out the outline. You may need different size saws. Then use either a router type attachment to carve out the inner parts of the letters or use diamond tipped ball or square drill bits.
You could also use letraset as a means of setting out the letters. They will of course be destroyed once you start cutting

A router type attachment - with the drill fixed in a vertical mount will get a better result than by hand. But be warned, this is a slow process. You may need a good deal of diamond slurry to assst. If your material is flat like a slab - ensure that you place on a flat surface. If your material is rough on the other side then you need to ensure that it is flat by placing on a suitable base first. For this you could try a piece of thick packing foam - not affected by water or lubricant but is easy to cut out to mould to the back of your rock. Or simply place on wax as if you were cutting a cabochon and then affix the waxed side to a flat surface.
Good luck
Cheers
Re: Engraving Stone
October 25, 2010 06:24AM
Thanks Keith:

Appreciate the tips.

Take Care:
Brian
Re: Engraving Stone
June 18, 2012 02:23AM
I agree with the Foredom Tool suggested, you can get a large assortment of diamond tips, in a number of sizes and shapes from Harbor Freight. They are cheap and easy to use. I have purchased sets of 5, 20 and 50 assorted sizes. They also carry wheels and disks that are handy.
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