I need to engrave some brass...what bits to get?

I have some crosse that I hand carve from time to time and would like to start putting an engraved brass plate on the back with my name plus other tidbits.

What bits should I get? I’m not doing anything fancy, mainly text.

Hi Lonnie, you could achieve what you want to with a diamond tipped drag engraving bit. Usually available as 120, 90 and 60° bits. Often provided on a 1/4" shank and used without turning on the router. I have successfully engraved slate, ceramics, glass, aluminium, brass and stainless steel with such bits.

One tip I suggest is to lubricate the bit end with a little oil (light machine oil) so that it slides along the workpiece with less friction. This will prevent any binding as the bit engages the workpieces. Another important issues is to work from the image area. If you bring the bit in position from the side of the workpiece, it is possible to snap the diamond out of its mounting.

Set the bit into the collet and adjust it like you are touching off in order to get the appropriate Z height. Note the number and then set the absolute Z height 0.1mm (0.004") slightly lower. This will allow the spring-loaded bit to remain in constant contact with the surface to be engraved when it is engraving. One advantage to drag engraving is the lack of noise because the router is not rotating.

The link below is to a short video of me engraving float glass with a 90 degree drag bit. The completed image you see (just before you click on the video) shows a technical drawing of a helical cut in metal. It was also dimensioned so that I could understand what was thinnest the engraved lines could potentially be.

note: clicking on the image once (before the second click to play the video) will show you just how sharp the image was


@Swinly I have gotten good results engraving on brass with the 30° V bits from Sienci.

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Thank you both for the info

@alanan are you referring to these?

I have a few of these and if I can avoid buying anything new right now then I’m all for it.

@Swinly Sorry for the long delay in replying. Life got in the way.

Yes, those are the bits that I was referring to.

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