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Models for Computerized engraving



I am doing a mid-lifecareer change and I am very excited about
producing a line of jewelry with 3-D engraving on silver rings,
braclets and pendants.

I have reseaarched engraving machines and I believe that I
understand them well enough to do the computerized engraving

I am confused, however, by the best way to proceed in terms of
actually manufacturing the pieces.

I read some descriptions that say I can get wax blanks and make
pieces from those and that hose blanks can be machined, carved and
computer engraved. On the other hand, I have read that casting
companies prefer to get original metal models.

Also, with rings, is a different original or wax model needed for
each size of ring if the engraving circles most of the ring?

Any assistance in the form of advice, referral to
books, videos or mentors would be appreciated.

Mike Buckner


Hi Michael You may be a little surprised at the length of time it
takes to produce a good 3D engraving into metal, vs. the time it
takes to engrave into a wax blank. The problem is the fragile cutter
tip, and the way certain soft metals like gold, silver and aluminum
extrude (proper cutting fluids help drastically). I can engrave wax
at the full speed of the engraving machine, while I use the absolute
slowest cutting speed when carving (or milling, engraving, or
cutting) metal with finely tipped off cutters.

One more point to consider is the acquisition of a good quality
cutter grinder. While a cutter will stay sharp indefinitely when
cutting wax, the point either dulls, chips or breaks rather quickly
when milling metals. You want to have the facility to immediately
resharpen your cutters, or to grind that special cutter for straight
vertical cuts, dove tail cuts, very low angles, etc…

One of the services I have offered for the last 10 years is that of
engraving metal molds for plastic injection, and injecting low
density polythene (for investment casting). You can cast and finish a
good number of jewelry pieces far faster than you can engrave them,
as least where fine 3D detail is concerned.

Maybe I don’t understand exactly what you mean by 3D. Care to
expound a little?

Jeffrey Everett