How a Spark Engraver Works

Written by tammie painter Google
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How a Spark Engraver Works
Use spark engravers to write your name or make designs on metal. (Etched Metal Background image by K. Geijer from

Spark engravers are used in many aspects of metalworking. They work by generating a low-voltage charge on the metal so that when the engraver touches the metal, a mark is made. Spark engraving can be used to mark tools or to create art.

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A spark engraver consists of an electric engraving pen with a tip. The pen is attached to an adjustable transformer to change the mark from fine to heavy. The transformer plugs into an electrical socket.


Spark engravers work by attaching the metal you wish to engrave to the transformer. A cord plugs into the transformer and the other end of the cord clips onto the metal to give it a charge, or you can rest your metal onto a charging plate on the transformer. The engraving pen also receives an electrical charge from the transformer. As you write, the charge dissipation between your metal and the pen rapidly oxidises the metal and makes a mark.


Most metals can be spark engraved, including brass, carbide and steel. The mark created can only be removed with a grinding tool. Spark engravers are used for many aspects of metal working, such as etching a name, making cutting marks or creating designs on a metal surface.

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