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CraftyPugs
05-06-2016, 04:46 PM
Hi

Looking for advice on the best beginners / entry level Jewellery engraver.

I've seen lots of YouTube videos of what seem expensive machines. Seen lot of ads for cheap Chinese machines. For clarity, I've nothing against Chinese things as I have a friend there and we do import other Chinese products.

I want to do jewellery and wedding gifts. Cufflinks, hip flasks, pens, bangles wedding favours, Cufflink boxes etc.

Not sure about round things like tankards or rings. Will depend on that extra costs.

I I guess it would be good to know which are the Cheaper machines I could look at versus which are the expensive ones I could wait to buy or but used ?

I knows there's no signal correct answer so very happy to look through all machines you recommend.

Many thans
Frank

lucan07
05-06-2016, 05:48 PM
Have a friend with a jewellry business and almost everything they do is either free hand or on a manual copy machine, only CNC they use is their fibre laser which was not an entry level item.

CraftyPugs
05-06-2016, 06:41 PM
Hi lucan07

Thanks for the reply.

By manual copy do you mean like a pantograph machine ?

ive been offered a Gravograph IM3 for a real good price.

I'd like to see the variety of engraving that it can achieve first but would get it.

I know it does scratch engraving but wonder if it can do a slightly deeper engrave? Also, the range of things I could engrave.

Any my help gratefully received.

Thanks
Frank

lucan07
05-06-2016, 08:52 PM
Yes that the type of thing they use they have circular disks of fonts etc they can load and dial in whatever is required or copy various templates scaling as required, and even work inside rings with one of them of them. Search YouTube I would imagine plenty of vid's showing capabilities of the machine on offer, but I would imagine some of the font templates etc are expensive to buy.

The problem with CNC is the set up time they can do the jobs freehand quicker than plugging it in.

magicniner
05-06-2016, 09:11 PM
I have an IM3, it has a motor and does excellent deep rotary cut/milled engraving, the IM3 is a current model, 450 would be a good price with one font.
I have 4 or 5 Gravograph fonts which amount to more investment than the machine itself.
The IM3 is a 2D pantograph, any cut engraving is fixed depth, using an adjustable nose on the spindle, if you have a spindle depth guide with a freely moving spherical nose it's possible to engrave fixed depth on uneven and curved surfaces.
My move to CNC was driven by the need to engrave fonts, symbols and graphics not available in off the shelf font template sets, I used the pantograph to generate custom templates based on laser printed A4 graphics glued to card and hand cut with reduction to create master templates.
For engraving jobs I'm now using a small CNC mill with a home-brewed speed increaser/engraving spindle/sprung Z-axis slide which allows me to do all the things the IM3 can do plus full 3D engraving paths for sharp corners on deep cut engraved fonts.
If you have any questions feel free to ask,
Regards,
Nick

magicniner
05-06-2016, 09:12 PM
Yes that the type of thing they use they have circular disks of fonts .

That's ring engravers, not the IM3.

magicniner
05-06-2016, 09:13 PM
and even work inside rings with one of them of them..

Scratch engraving ring engravers, not the IM3

lucan07
05-06-2016, 09:22 PM
Yes I know they have been in the business over 30 years and have all sorts they can do rings or plate withsame machine templates a pantograph type arm that also runs from exact same disks and you dial in and move along like an old pressure tape label makers only with drag or power engraver running on the arm or the micro tools on inside or outside of the rings which obviously rotate instead of moving.

m_c
05-06-2016, 09:59 PM
Frank,

have a look over on the CamBam forums, in the Members Projects board (http://www.cambam.co.uk/forum/index.php?board=9.0), for the watch threads (there's two that I know of) by Arie kabaalstra. I know his current machine is reasonably expensive, but that was an upgrade after he started producing watches commercially.
His posts give a good insight into fine work, which I'd think would give you a good insight into the process (design, work holding, tooling etc)

There was also a ring maker over on the mach support forums, however I can't remember his username, and it's been a few years since I noticed him post.

Regarding machines, it'll depend on if you want something turnkey, or to convert something your self. If you want turnkey, of the top of my head I'd suggest looking at a Seig KX1 (Arc Euro Trade sell them), or there's a Swiss company who do a good range of smaller milling machines including CNC options, but I've forgotten their name!

CraftyPugs
05-06-2016, 11:03 PM
I have an IM3, it has a motor and does excellent deep rotary cut/milled engraving, the IM3 is a current model, 450 would be a good price with one font.
I have 4 or 5 Gravograph fonts which amount to more investment than the machine itself.
The IM3 is a 2D pantograph, any cut engraving is fixed depth, using an adjustable nose on the spindle, if you have a spindle depth guide with a freely moving spherical nose it's possible to engrave fixed depth on uneven and curved surfaces.
My move to CNC was driven by the need to engrave fonts, symbols and graphics not available in off the shelf font template sets, I used the pantograph to generate custom templates based on laser printed A4 graphics glued to card and hand cut with reduction to create master templates.
For engraving jobs I'm now using a small CNC mill with a home-brewed speed increaser/engraving spindle/sprung Z-axis slide which allows me to do all the things the IM3 can do plus full 3D engraving paths for sharp corners on deep cut engraved fonts.
If you have any questions feel free to ask,
Regards,
Nick

Hi Nick

I can get the IM3 with Motor, 2 fonts and some blanks for a tad less than the above. I don't know about the depth guide but will ask.

I have seen the machine do scratch engraving on cufflinks, but would like to know the type of items and material for the deep rotary cut/milled engraving.

At the moment, everything is new to me, Metals, plating the machines etc. I assume that the deep engraving cannot be done on Plated metals ?

Which CNC machine do you now have ?

Many thanks for your help - its appreciated.

Cheers
Frank

magicniner
05-06-2016, 11:27 PM
yes i know they have been in the business over 30 years and have all sorts they can do rings or plate withsame machine templates a pantograph type arm that also runs from exact same disks and you dial in and move along like an old pressure tape label makers only with drag or power engraver running on the arm or the micro tools on inside or outside of the rings which obviously rotate instead of moving.

im3
doesn't use rotary font discs, that's the dedicated ring engravinbg machine.
At least Google if you're guessing when advising other users!
I own and use exactly the model which the OP requested information on and I'm not answering based on a guess or a Google search, I have actual physical experience using a Gravograph IM3 for diamond drag and rotary cut engraving!


- Nick

magicniner
05-06-2016, 11:41 PM
Covered Already!

magicniner
05-06-2016, 11:50 PM
The problem with CNC is the set up time they can do the jobs freehand quicker than plugging it in.

You've not done that then?
I have and I have to inform you that if 2D engraving with corners the diameter of your cutter at the set depth is acceptable that's fine, if you want deep engraving with sharp corners then the only way you get that is with a 3D tool path which lifts at the corners - a V-Carve type tool path - and that is CNC

;-)

CraftyPugs
06-06-2016, 12:53 AM
Hi Nick

I can get the IM3 with Motor, 2 fonts and some blanks for a tad less than the above. I don't know about the depth guide but will ask.

I have seen the machine do scratch engraving on cufflinks, but would like to know the type of items and material for the deep rotary cut/milled engraving ?

At the moment, everything is new to me, Metals, plating the machines etc. I assume that the deep engraving cannot be done on Plated metals ?

Which CNC machine do you now have ?

Many thanks for your help - its appreciated.

lucan07
06-06-2016, 08:36 AM
im3
doesn't use rotary font discs, that's the dedicated ring engravinbg machine.
At least Google if you're guessing when advising other users!
I own and use exactly the model which the OP requested information on and I'm not answering based on a guess or a Google search, I have actual physical experience using a Gravograph IM3 for diamond drag and rotary cut engraving!
- Nick

I answered question "like a pantographt" not about an IM3 I told him to google IM3 or search youtube.



You've not done that then?
I have and I have to inform you that if 2D engraving with corners the diameter of your cutter at the set depth is acceptable that's fine, if you want deep engraving with sharp corners then the only way you get that is with a 3D tool path which lifts at the corners - a V-Carve type tool path - and that is CNC
;-)

I have spoken to friends regarding tools used and why they do not use CNC engravers as they have a CNC fibre laser, their response was about the time and setup. The way to quality engraving is craftsmen with years of experience and professional equipment that will never be replaced by any hobbyists with V-Carve type tool paths.

magicniner
06-06-2016, 12:00 PM
I can get the IM3 with Motor, 2 fonts and some blanks for a tad less than the above. I don't know about the depth guide but will ask.

That sounds good and ought to get you going, you can buy a range of depth regulating noses to fit Gravograph spindles, the picture for depth noses on Gravograph's site is of a ball type - http://www.gravograph.co.uk/engraving-machines/accessories-engraving-machine.php



I have seen the machine do scratch engraving on cufflinks, but would like to know the type of items and material for the deep rotary cut/milled engraving ?

Using carbide cutters with 3 in one oil for lubricant I've engraved a variety of metals including Aluminium, cast Zinc, Steel and Titanium



At the moment, everything is new to me, Metals, plating the machines etc. I assume that the deep engraving cannot be done on Plated metals ?

If it's a plating that can lift if damaged then cutting through it is likely to cause peeling or flaking, I engrave parts prior to finishing whether that's blueing, painting or plating.



Which CNC machine do you now have ?

My benchtop CNC is a little ex-educational mill from Connect CNC, it's been retro-fitted for Mach3 and has very little left on it that's standard, the engraving spindle is mounted on a small spring loaded slide and is driven with a pulley which mounts in place of milling tooling giving speeds up to 30000rpm.

If you go CNC you are definitely best with a purpose made OEM system as the software will not require you to jump through the hoops that CAD/CAM/CNC will and the learning curve will be more like that for vinyl cutting than CNC.

There are engraving specific forum sites out there where you will get better answers from those already doing what you want to do than you could get from general CNC users,
Regards,
Nick

lucan07
07-06-2016, 01:06 PM
Came across this video that may be of interest to you, it appears simple but effective,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7e4wLLkFO4