INGENUITY AT WORK

Resources for Special Tips, Tools, and Articles to Conquer Precision.

With the right engraving tool in your hands, there are a number of fun projects that you can complete with precision and ease. Engraving is a great way to personalize and customize an otherwise generic item, and it can be an enjoyable project for the enthusiastic handyman. Whether you need an engraving tool simply to identify your own tools on a job site, or if you want it for more creative purposes, it is crucial that you know how to use it before getting started.

Before you rev up the engraving tool and sink it into your first project, consider the following 10 tips.

1. Apply Pressure

This is one of the first tips you will need in order to complete a successful engraving project. While you don't need to lean on the pen while using it - and you wouldn't want to it, either - it is important to provide enough pressure to actually make your mark on the object at hand. Of course, the amount of pressure that is required is going to depend largely on the material that you are engraving. Materials like plastic or glass often won't require too much pressure, where as you may need to use a little bit of elbow grease to make a mark on a metal tool.

2. Use a Template

When possible, consider printing out a paper template to guide your work. This is especially helpful at first, when you might not have the necessary confidence  to create something totally freehand. For example, if you are going to etch your name into some of your tools, try printing your name out on a appropriate scale and then use that print out as your guide when doing the engraving.

3. Practice First

To learn how to use your tool, try practicing various words and symbols on an extra piece of material that you can just toss out when finished. Even if you have plenty of great tips like those included in this article, it is still going to take some practice time before you are a confident and accomplished engraver. There is no better way to learn than to simply give it a try for yourself, so acquire a bit of extra material and start building up your skills.

4. Work with a Clean Surface

Before getting started, make sure you have thoroughly cleaned the surface that you are going to be working on. Some materials can be cleaned properly with just soap and water, while others will require more-specialized cleaning products. Research the exact type of material you are working with and then choose your cleaning methods appropriately.

5. Don't Overheat

You will be creating heat via friction while working on your project, so make sure to take intermittent breaks in order to allow the tip of the engraver to cool down sufficiently. It shouldn't take long for the tip to cool down to a reasonable level, so just try to take periodic short breaks while working through a big project.

6. Experiment with Depth

Engraving is not just a two-dimensional process, as you can introduce depth to your projects to involve the third dimension in the final product. While practicing, work on trying out different depths to get a feeling for what that does to the final look. You will likely need to vary the amount of pressure you use in order to reach different depths, so this is another part of the engraving process that is only going to be mastered through practice.

7. Secure the Material

Engraving is hard enough as it is, you don't want to have to try hitting a moving target. Before getting started with any project, make sure the material you are engraving isn't going to be moving around during the job. For something heavy, like a large wrench for example, you may not need to do anything other than set it on your workbench. Light objects, however, will need to be secured if the project is going to be a success.

8. Outline First

If you are going to do work that includes shading or filling, you will still want to complete the outline of your project first before going back for those finer details. Once you have a proper outline complete, it should be relatively simple to go back and give the project the final look that you desire.

9. Light!

Engraving in the dark is nobody's idea of a good time - and it certainly isn't safe of productive. Make sure there is plenty of light available in your workspace, and make sure that light is located above or in front of you so that your head and shoulders don't cast a shadow over the work.

10. Remove Dust

Make sure to prevent dust from collecting in the area where you are working by periodically wiping or blowing it away. Again, this comes down to the need to be able to see what you are doing. Clearing away dust will keep your working surface clean and it will ensure that you get a good look at the material throughout the engraving process.

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