High Speed Carving & Engraving Tools

Written by lauren vork
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High Speed Carving & Engraving Tools
Engraving with a power engraver. (engraver image by Chris Lofty from Fotolia.com)

There can be little doubt that the advent of power hand tools has revolutionised the centuries-old practices of carving and engraving. Power tools make the process of cutting even very hard materials as easy as writing or cutting through butter. If you want to get started with doing your own engraving and carving, it's good to know what sorts of tools are available and their best uses.

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Power Engravers

Power carving/engraving tools are about the size and shape of a large pen with a high-speed spinning metal blade attachment used for carving, engraving and etching. These machines are powered by a motor stored in a larger power unit, rather than inside the handle. Power carvers are artisan tools used almost exclusively for artistic purposes. Because they are the size and shape of a writing utensil, they're just as easy to control and their use is similar. These tools are designed for work with fine lines and detail and are capable of great precision. They are ideal for etching and engraving, but can also be used for light carving.

Oscillating Cutter

Another commonly used carving and graving power tool is the oscillating power cutter. Power rotary cutters are most commonly known by the brand name of a leading manufacturer of these tools, Dremel, though Dremel also makes power carver/engravers. Other leading makers of power rotary cutters include Bosch, Fein, and Rockwell.

Oscillating cutters work on a similar principle as power carving and engraving tools, but they are larger and more powerful. They are also more versatile, as bit attachments can be switched to transform them into grinders, sanders, cutting wheels, and polishers. A popular choice for crafters who want an all-purpose tool, oscillating cutters are powered by motors inside the hand-held unit, which is usually about the shape of a glass beverage bottle. With the wide selection of shaping bits available, these cutters are excellent tools for larger, three-dimensional carving projects such as sculptures.

Large Power Grinders

Though not of any use in engraving and etching, a drill press with a grinding attachment is a great tool for removing large portions of material prior to more detailed carving. Grinders are ideal for carving large pieces of wood or metal into rough shapes for carved sculpture.

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