When you need to fabricate a batch of products with the brand name or artwork with prints, the use of engraving is an efficient solution. Combing with the development of manufacturing machinery and equipment, here we are going to outline is CNC engraving. What is CNC engraving and what machines are used? Check out the engraving machine types and techniques applied.
Engraving is a cutting technique or process of carving a design into a hard surface, to decorate or label on the objects made of different materials, typically using a set of hand engraving tools in the past, but CNC engraving is also available now. CNC engraving uses computer-controlled machines, which often applies the milling paths generated by CAD-CAM software based on the design drawing. Compared to manual engraving machines, CNC engraving machines, which reduces errors and improves speed, have the capability to do various sophisticated precision engraving, whether for practical or artistic purposes.
Similar to CNC milling, CNC engraving also requires a Computer Numerical Control device and CAD, CAM software. Which engraving machine you should choose? Let’s take a look at the types of CNC engraving machines.
1. Laser Engraving Machine
A laser engraving machine usually consists of a laser, a controller, and a surface. The laser is a drawing tool to cut the material or mark it, the control determines the direction, intensity, speed of movement, and spread of the laser beam aimed at the surface. And the surface will match with the type of material to be engraved. Laser engravers can work in a more simple way than rotating cutting tools and a clamping device is not necessary. Common lasers including laser diodes, CO2 laser, fiber lasers, and crystal lasers. Laser engraving machines can work with wood, leather, plastic, and metal materials.
2. CNC Milling Engraving Machine
A CNC milling machine can also be used as a CNC engraving machine. But CNC engraving will have a requirement to the spindle speed of the mill, due to the small-sized engraving tools and soft materials need a higher spindle speed. CNC milling engraving can be performed on stainless steel, mild steel, aluminum, brass, wood, plastics, and more materials.
3. CNC Router Engraving Machine
CNC routers are also great options for engraving work. CNC router is a computer-controlled cutting machine that typically mounts a hand-held router as a spindle which is used for cutting different materials.
4. CNC Engraving Tools
Popular cutting tools for engraving are v-bits, small ball nose end mills, and drag engravers.
– Laser engraving: the most common engraving technology in modern society, using the hot laser produced by a laser beam to evaporate the excess material at the specific area. The laser head runs back and forth to produce clear cuts and very detailed engravings. The direction, speed, depth, and more details can be controlled.
– Electric engraving: involves electrical discharge machining and welding technologies. A metal pin acts as the anode and the material to be cut is the cathode. The current flowing between the cathode and anode burns the material at the point to be engraved. This type of engraving is only suitable for conductive materials.
– Hand engraving: the conventional engraving method, using hand tools like a curved tool with a sharp blade. This type of engraving is used when thinning letters in gravestones, etc., ideal for fine handwork.
– CNC rotary engraving: usually use a rotary tool to remove materials, ideal for indoor and outdoor signature, nameplates, 3D effects on wood and more. Computer-controlled tools can engrave a diversity of shapes and patterns.