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Engraving on titanium


#1

Was: Setting gap between metal and stone

In fact unless you have a burning desire to learn engraving, a GRS
or Lindsay air powered handpiece is really overkill. 

It is quite possibly an urge that will pass, but I have a bee in my
bonnet…

As many of you know, I like to create imagery on anodized titanium.
A student of mine at Bead & Button (from Sweden) has gotten me
thinking about how much finer detail I might be able to create with
a lindsay or GRS. I currently use steel ball burs in the flexshaft,
which are not always easy to control. Tiny ones are harder to
control than big ones.

I cannot go out and buy one of these simply to find out whether it
would be a good tool for me… it isn’t really even clear that I can
buy one if it is definately a good fit for me. I’d need an extended
period (at least a few days) to get used to it to tell whether I
liked it-- not two minutes at somebody’s booth as I might have the
opportunity to do as SNAG or the like.

Not sure what I’m asking here. I have no time really to think, let
alone try something new, before at least mid-July, so this is not an
urgent thought, but if somebody has input that addresses this “bee”,
I’d be pleased to hear it.

Maybe I’ll need to sign up for an engraving workshop somewhere that
has the equipment, with a tolerant instructor who’ll let me do my
own thing on titanium. Anyone know who/where that might be?

Noel


#2

Hi Noel,

Steve Lindsay has a 45 day trial return policy on his equipment (a
policy that’s very seldom used, I understand). I recommend you
contact him about a trial usage of equipment. You won’t be
disappointed (and you probably won’t return the tools either!). Last
I checked, other engraving tool manufacturers do not offer a similar
trial period.

GRS has workshops for engraving several times a year, and from what
I’ve heard they are very good. There are several private instructors
and small schools all around the country that will give you the
opportunity to try your hand at engraving, as well as let you try out
different equipment. Go to airgraver.com. There is a link there that
will help you find a school and/or an instructor, info on Steve
Lindsay’s tools (if you are a confirmed tool junkie, beware!) and his
company. You will also find a link to engravingforum.com, a forum for
discussing all things engraving related, with an emphasis on using
the Lindsay tools, as well as many threads concerning different
schools and instructors.

Another forum highly worth exploring is The Engraver’s Cafe,
administered by Sam Alfano. Sam is a GRS instructor from time to time
as well as a private instructor and an extraordinary engraver. Both
of these forums are absolutely loaded with great
tutorials, commentary, inspiring artwork and engraving chit-chat.
They are both frequented by some of the finest engravers of this
generation. You will find that the engraving community is just as
forthcoming with help and inspiration for both the neophyte and
expert engraver as Orchidians are for metalsmiths. Standard
disclaimer.

Good luck, but let me warn you, if you let that engraving bee sting
you and you start making chips, you’ll never be able to stop!

Dave


#3

See Brian Marshall’s Stockton Jewelry Arts. He teaches a 5 day
beginning class that allows you to use different kinds of engravers
from both GRS and Lindsay.


#4

Hello Noel,

I’ve been otherwise occupied so if this is a repeat, accept my
apologies. You said:

Maybe I'll need to sign up for an engraving workshop somewhere
that has the equipment, with a tolerant instructor who'll let me do
my own thing on titanium. Anyone know who/where that might be? 

I can’t speak about the Lindsay tools, although I hear nothing but
good reports. I’d like to try their tools too. GRS is in Emporia KS.
The company offers several workshops using their tools. It’s a good
way to try them out and learn how to operate them. Here’s the company
website with training info Emporia is a modest-sized town and
lodging/meals would not be expensive.

Judy in Kansas, who is done with the tree-trimming. Amazing how a
couple of broken limbs turn into 3 trailer loads!


#5
Maybe I'll need to sign up for an engraving workshop somewhere that
has the equipment, with a tolerant instructor who'll let me do my
own thing on titanium. Anyone know who/where that might be? 

I know who & where that might be if you’re willing to pay the cost.

But first, what is your own thing if you don’t know how to engrave?
Or do you have engraving experience?

I’ve been on the road for the past few weeks and haven’t read the
original post; perhaps from Noel. If it is Noel; you teach classes,
workshops do you let your students ‘do their own thing’ ? Is there
time enough for each to do his/her own thing?

I know that’s not going to happen at GRS’s Training Center and I
doubt that it would anywhere else.

There are possibilities: if you want to do the research there are
lots of engraving web sites where you can post questions as well as
go through the archives. Such as, does titanium post any special
problems. Perhaps a particular lubricant for cutting.

Finally, there are people who can teach you about your particular
interest in engraving if you’re willing to pay for individual
instruction.

If you formulate a particular focused question I may be able to
help. I do have some experience in this area; but not enough to
consider myself an engraver. I’m a student of that particular art.

KPK


#6
You're more than welcome to play with it if you ever get out to my
side of the pond.

As far as I am aware, the only person asking about this was me–
Noel-- and of course we’re on the same side of the pond, though not
otherwise exactly neighbors.

My interest in engraving on titanium isn’t exactly engraving on
titanium, at least in the traditional sense. I’m interested in
removing parts of the (adodized) surface layer for re-coloring to
create imagery in a more detailed and controlled way than I
currently can with ball burs. That (Kevin) is what I meant by “doing
my thing”. I have no interest in engraving in traditional style. Not
that I don’t admire and respect it, it’s just not my style.

Or maybe I would engrave, color, then sand the surface and add more
color. Don’t know unless I try it.

I’m surprised to hear you describe titanium as “gummy”, Brian. Now,
niobium, that’s gummy. But in the ways I work, there’s no sense of
gumminess in titaium. I agree it dulls tools very quickly.
Fortunately, I actually prefer dull ball burs for removing the
surface relatively smoothly.

Well, it’s very interesting. Please let me know how it goes with
your new GRS!

Noel


#7

Noel,

I'm interested in removing parts of the (adodized) surface layer
for re-coloring to create imagery in a more detailed and controlled
way than I currently can with ball burs. 

Sounds like what you want to do is scrimshaw type of work. In the
past, I regularly engraved this type of work with a gravermax, in oil
and air hardening steel (before heat-treatment). I still do when
needed and I just have to be more careful about bit selection and get
used to progress at a slower rate. The gravermax has worked well for
me for many years; my impression is that it can develop more power
than a GRS. Others on the list should know more.

I recommend trying it with carbide bits first and if successful to
your satisfaction you could get custom made boron or diamond bits
for the finer details.

If you are ever close to LA contact me and you can try my unit.

Dan


#8

Hi Noel

I'm interested in removing parts of the (adodized) surface layer
for re-coloring to create imagery in a more detailed and controlled
way than I currently can with ball burs. 

Well your response makes it somewhat clear what you want to
accomplish. You would probably be better off getting someone to give
you one on one instruction.

Although a beginning class in engraving could be very helpful. A
beginning class should teach you to be comfortable with gravers. For
starters, you have to know how to sharpen a graver. And most
importantly, you have to learn control. It’s similar to going back to
grade school and learning how to write all over again which can be
very frustrating as an adult.

A properly sharpened is critical. This requires a sharpening
fixture, diamonds laps etc.

I don’t know the qualities of titanium ( as in how it cuts ); which
would determine what graver is required. There are HS Steel gravers,
tungsten carbide gravers, etc.

A flat graver with a heel might help. A rotary tool like the NSK
with a .5 mm round bur may be useful.

To accomplish what you want to accomplish may cost much more in time
and money than you want to invest. But it can be done.

You could spend time on some of the engraving forums asking
questions before you spend money on tools.

Hope this sheds some light on your question.

KPK


#9
The gravermax has worked well for me for many years; my impression
is that it can develop more power than a GRS. Others on the list
should know more. [snip] If you are ever close to LA contact me
and you can try my unit. 

Thanks, Dan! I don’t currently have plans to be there, but my eldest
daughter lives there, so I’m bound to turn up sooner or later.

Noel


#10

I know nothing about the topic - I could guess, but that’s pretty
useless. If there’s a better engraving forum than
handengravingforum.com Which is Steve Lindsay’s site, I’d like to
know about it, though…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#11
If there's a better engraving forum than handengravingforum.com
Which is Steve Lindsay's site, I'd like to know about it, though.. 

Not to say it’s better, but there is igraver.com Sam Alfano’s site. I
consult both.

KPK


#12
If there's a better engraving forum than handengravingforum.com
Which is Steve Lindsay's site, I'd like to know about it, though.. 

Check out igraver.com and click on the Engravers Cafe link. Share
with over 1,700 engravers from around the world. There is
a wealth of here, including tutorials. It’s free.

Sam Alfano, who is an outrageously talented engraver, and a fabulous
teacher, started the forum. To see his work go to
www.masterengraver.com

Thank you Sam!
Kate Wolf, in Portland, Maine hosting wicked good workshops by the bay.
www.katewolfdesigns.com