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Engraving machine questions


Hi all,

I’m going to need an engraving machine for a line I’m putting into
production, and as I’ve never used one myself I need some tips. I
dug through all the archives but couldn’t really get a grasp on what
to look for or avoid…

First of all I’d like to spend under (well under, if possible!!)
$700 - would prefer to hover at or below the $500 range, but don’t
want to end up with crappy equipment.

How tough is the pantograph style of machine to use? I am assuming
I’ll end up with one of these (rather than an old computerized one).
Should I just grab a New Hermes model off eBay? Does anyone out there
have one they’d like to unload?

I’d like a relatively portable one - i.e. a smaller, tabletop model.
I’m going to be engraving small ID tag-sized pieces - what sorts of
jigs are needed to hold small stuff in place? I’m hoping it’s all a
lot more basic than I fear…

Any advice, recommendations, and warnings would be much appreciated.

Thank you!
Jessica, sweating out the heat wave in SF



The pantograph engraving machine is not difficult to learn to use.
Basically it is a matter of coordination between both hands - the
one guiding the stylus in your copy, and the one exerting the
pressure needed to drag/scratch (or mill) the workpiece. Kinda hard
to describe, much easier to explain when you have one in front of
you. Most machines are set up for right handers. Right hand on the
stylus, left on the cutter.

I doubt you’ll find an old computerized model in the price range you
are mentioning, but there is nothing wrong with using a New Hermes,
Kantograph, or other older model designed for the work you need to
do. It just takes longer…

Yes, they can be found for $500, sometimes even less… I got an old
functioning Hermes industrisl model for $50 not long ago! Cleaned it
up, and had it working the same afternoon. Still have it. Could’ve
bought another one last year in Mexico City for $150, but right
after 911, I just didn’t want to got through the hassle.

Finding good used copy (the letters & numbers) is another matter.
The best of the brass copy is getting hard to find. New plastic copy
is cheaper, but doesn’t last as long. If you are just lettering, get
a couple styles of copy - one block, and one script to start

I have some clients that need the same logo or monogram/crest year
after year. You can make plastic “masters” with a hand graver for
repetitive use.

Find a machine first, then I’ll walk you through the rest if you’d

Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts


Jessica Pantograph machines have been very popular and the prices are

1. Make sure the price includes the set of letters with the machine.
2. Block letters and Script letters are most popular.

There are complete sets available machine with both the letter types
for $ 495.00

Shipping charges will be $ 28.00. If you would like to order this
let me know.

Kenneth Singh