September 1, 2021

Can you engrave with a Dremel? + Video Tutorials

Engraving with rotary tool

Yes, you can engrave with a Dremel. The rotary tool can be easily used on various materials such as glass and wood. Control the speed of the rotary tool, so you do not damage your material. Keep your material steady and be in control of your Dremel tool. Patience and perseverance are required when engraving because it takes time for you to get the design you want.

How to engrave metal with a Dremel

Engraving needs patience and confidence. The guide to engraving allows you to run through the whole process using suitable materials and Dremel accessories. Below are steps to follow when engraving using the Dremel tool.

Step 1

Choose the proper engraving accessories. High-speed cutters come with multiple accessories for engraving, shaping, and grooving. The engraving accessories include high-speed cutters, engraving cutters, and diamond wheel points. 

The engraving cutters are for detailed work. This is possible when the material is not hard. The cutters are ideal for soft materials such as wood and leather. These include wood and plastic, as well as brass. Diamond wheel points are also for fine detail work. The bits are inside the diamond particleboard, making them ideal for engraving more complex materials like glass. 

Step 2

Choose the right attachments for the project. The attachments refer to the parts that help the project run smoothly. There is a Flexible shift, and the 127mm cable gives your Dremel tool comfort and flexibility. That extends your working hours. 

The Dremel is a lightweight tool ideal for engraving wine glasses. The detailer’s grip fits in multiple Dremel tools with a threaded nose. The weight of the Dremel tool transfers to your hand, giving you balance and control. 

Step 3

Pick a material so that you start engraving. Choose soft material to make your project bearable. Soft material makes it easy to control the Dremel tool when in use, making it ideal for beginners. Brass and copper are soft metals; hard metals such as titanium need experience. 

Step 4

Pay attention to the shape of the choice you are making. Flat surfaces are easy to work on since they do not involve angles and are continuous. Focus on how the tool feels when in use. The performance has to be maintained. 

Step 5

Take proper safety measures. Gloves keep you safe from cuts and scrapes and are resistant to wear and tear. Goggles and a dust mask protect your eye from debris and dust. There are high possibilities of breathing in tiny glass from the material you are working on. Rusty materials are hazardous to your health and in that case, keep away from the material. 

Step 6

Prepare the material you want to cut. If it is glass, make sure it is clean and dry. Sand and wipe treated wood. Grease and washing liquid has to be removed, and you have more visibility of the material. 

Step 7

Transfer your pattern onto the material. Tracing over the material makes the process easy. If you are transferring your design onto metal, use carbon paper. Place the carbon paper onto the material, lay the pattern on top, and trace over using a pencil. 

Glass is easy to engrave. Unlike metal, place the pattern underneath the glass. That allows you to see through the pattern. Use it as your guiding mark. Stick it to the glass so that it does not move. Failure to do so compromises precision. Keep your eyes on your project to avoid missing the angles and the lines. 

Step 8

Use pencil grip, which comes with the Dremel tool, or a Flexible shift. These make you feel like you are holding a pencil and are easy to use. You have confidence in the work you are doing. Handling your engraving tool becomes comfortable. Be patient enough to produce good results. The process might not go your way but stick to the process, practice more and give yourself time to develop your engraving skills. 

Step 9

Use a clamp or vise to avoid slipping off the material. Clamp the material in place so that it does not move. A handheld clamp allows you to hold the clamp with one hand with a firm grip, although there are chances of getting cuts. A chisel or hammer requires two hands.

Step 10

Cut into the design using the tool of your choice. Turn the drawing into an engraving. Apply pressure on the point and keep the end of your Dremel tool at the same angle on your first cut. Engraving complex shapes, finish the straight position first. Move on to more complex positions. 

Can you engrave metal with a Dremel?

Yes, you can engrave metal using the Dremel tool. A firm grip with a loose wrist makes the project bearable. The Dremel allows you to move in intricate positions and make free-flowing shapes. When using higher settings, maintain the grip since the tool is running powerfully. 

A loose grip protects you from straining your hand. Be patient when using an electric engraver. It takes time to achieve the perfect look you are trying to copy, and experience is an added advantage. Build up to the depth you would like, and avoid taking more metal as you start. 

Tracing a design is not enough. Use a guide and remove the carbon paper when tracing—finish the detail of your design. Using a Dremel is straightforward. Mix up your textures and add cross-hatch lines for shading. Without experience, you will be engraving your metal-making styles and improving your skill level.

How to engrave wood with a Dremel

Engraving Wood is an easy process with rotary tools such as Dremel.  Use a high-speed rotary cutting head. Choose from multiple engraving cutters to the one that suits your needs. Easy-to-use tools are more convenient than complex ones. Engraving cutters come in different shapes and sizes, allowing you to customize your work. 

Step 1 

Transfer the pattern of your choice onto the wood using carbon paper and a pencil.

Step 2

Loosen the collet of the Dremel tool and attach the appropriate accessories to the collet. Tighten the collet using a wrench.

Step 3

Switch on the Dremel tool, and switch to the engraving speed. The speed depends on the hardness of the wood and the engraving cutter used. Refer to the manual when not sure. 

Step 4

Follow the traced pattern on the wood and change the cutting heads.

Step 5

Clean the dust using a damp cloth and clean the sawdust with a vacuum. 

Also, see our post on How to cut plexiglass with Dremel.

David D. Hughes

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