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Thread: Metal engraving with a Dremel Tool

  1. #41
    Boolit Master
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    When cheap German SA 22s came out in the 50s, my dad would get one and strip it and dip it it wax. Then he had little tool he made to “engrave” his art through wax. He dipped the parts in acid.
    Don’t know what it was but I think some type for batteries. Flushed with distilled water, also free in battery room at work. He then heated up guns to remove wax. He had a little jig to hold cylinders while he worked on them. He did quite a few and run them on tip boards at work. I tried it once on a beat up Buffalo Scout 22. My squirrel on branch looked like a rat on a outhouse plank.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drm50 View Post
    When cheap German SA 22s came out in the 50s, my dad would get one and strip it and dip it it wax. Then he had little tool he made to “engrave” his art through wax. He dipped the parts in acid.
    Don’t know what it was but I think some type for batteries. Flushed with distilled water, also free in battery room at work. He then heated up guns to remove wax. He had a little jig to hold cylinders while he worked on them. He did quite a few and run them on tip boards at work. I tried it once on a beat up Buffalo Scout 22. My squirrel on branch looked like a rat on a outhouse plank.
    Sounds like he was doing a type of acid etching. There are thousands of hours of videos about acid etching techniques on the internet. I just grabbed one of the simplest methods i could quickly find here. I have never done this. BUT I have purchased several used machine tools...mostly reamers that had been re-ground to smaller specs that had the new diameters crudely but visibly acid etched on them. I have been meaning to acid etch the dimensions on the swaging dies that I make...Just haven't gotten around to it yet. This video shows the crudest method which is good for things like numbers on tools ...Many folks make stencils with those cutting printers and do some nice work with them...same principle. I wouldn't do this to a gun but it is still WAY better than trying to do something with a dremel.

  3. #43
    Boolit Master Traffer's Avatar
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    I saw this video recently and thought of this thread. Steve uses a flex shaft but it is the same as a dremel tool, just easier to hold.
    This is the best engraving I have seen with one of these. It's not bad but I wouldn't consider it good enough for a gun.

  4. #44
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    I am ressurecting this old thread because it turns out that one of my youtube buddies is a professional engraver. He has made 5 videos on engraving metal with a dremel type handpiece with carbide burrs. I just got done modifying a cheap Harbor Freight hand piece with extra bearings for rigidity so I can try engraving steel with diamond bits. Should be pretty much the same process as doing softer metals with carbide. Here is the first of the five video tutorials:

  5. #45
    Boolit Master Handloader109's Avatar
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    That ain't a harbor freight dremel. Those shafts don't have any vibrations to speak of and are way easier to use then any dremel sort of tool.
    Find someone local who has a Fiber laser. They are getting to be fairly common and most folks that do work with them aren't very expensive as compared to a hand engrave, and even though this guy is pretty dang good, I wouldn't let him near my gun. Professional gun engravers might use a mechanical tool, but it ain't a rotary bit.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Handloader109 View Post
    That ain't a harbor freight dremel. Those shafts don't have any vibrations to speak of and are way easier to use then any dremel sort of tool.
    Find someone local who has a Fiber laser. They are getting to be fairly common and most folks that do work with them aren't very expensive as compared to a hand engrave, and even though this guy is pretty dang good, I wouldn't let him near my gun. Professional gun engravers might use a mechanical tool, but it ain't a rotary bit.
    I repent in dust and ashes.

  7. #47
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Getting the shading and blending lines to follow the engraving and give that even flow would be hard with the rotary tool. With engraving its not just the image but all the shading and flow that gives it its depth and eye pleasing appeal. The other issue will be how the tiny minute burrs from the rotary tool affect the image, I can see them giving a fuzzy look to it.

    I have a foredom flex shaft, dremil flex shaft, and several die grinders from 20,000 to 100,000 rpm, the only one I would consider is the foredom with the "hammer" hand piece. While I have never tried engraving with it It does a very good job stippling and setting pins. This hand piece is a straight line movement for setting stones and such.There is an engraving hand piece but its very expansive by itself.

  8. #48
    Boolit Buddy
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    Dremel & Gun should never be used in the same sentence!

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by slohunter View Post
    Dremel & Gun should never be used in the same sentence!
    Again, I repent in dust and ashes (although I never advocated the use of a dremel to engrave a gun)

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by slohunter View Post
    Dremel & Gun should never be used in the same sentence!
    They should never be closer than 50 feet to each other.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  11. #51
    Boolit Bub
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    A more appropriate power tool would be a GraverMax (grs.com). Another option is traditional manual gravers and a small hammer.

    The Firearms Engravers Guild of America website has books and other helpful information (fega.com).

    My father was an engraver but engraved western jewelry (belt buckles, bolos, money clips, pendants, silver dollar belts, etc.) not guns.

  12. #52
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    I don't engrave guns with dremels.
    However:
    I do Modify Bolts, sights, magazines, stocks, and just about every other part with dremels.
    Call me BUBBA. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH
    Maybe some day I will make a video of me butchering one so you can all watch and cringe,. HAHAHAHAHAHAH

  13. #53
    Boolit Buddy

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    I have a Gorton pantograph (model P1-2) for engraving numbers, etc in the shop. A Gorton, Deckel, Alexander, etc were industry standard before CNC and laser became common and "affordable".

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw1MyB7XgMI

    Decent overview on inlay work. He doesn't cover engraving.

  14. #54
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    All you need is a small hammer and a couple of chisels.
    A home-made engraving vise made from a bowling ball cut in half. A simple 2 jaw vise mounted on it and it sits in a shallow seat so it can be positioned at any angle. Weighted w/ lead shot to 40+ lbs.

    Hammer away.l











    ***Keep the Dremel for polishing the inside bow of trigger guards...
    That's about the only thing I've ever used it for

  15. #55
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    @2152HQ..WOW.. I fantastic work and a great idea with the bowling ball. Do you have a youtube channel? It would be great to see you work on this stuff. BTW I did build a handpiece for small burrs...I intend to use it primarily for engraving sizes on my home made dies and tools....

  16. #56
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    2152HQ,
    "home-made engraving vise made from a bowling ball cut in half. A simple 2 jaw vise mounted on it and it sits in a shallow seat so it can be positioned at any angle. Weighted w/ lead shot to 40+ lbs." That brings back memories. My neighbor at Fayetteville (Ft. Bragg) was a custom stock maker and engraver. He had a similar set up. Did beautiful work.

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