The kind of work I do entails that I either label my tools, or keep buying replacements for the ones ending up in other guys tool boxes all the time. most guys have their initials engraved freehand and it looks like their 4 year old did it for them... left handed... while drunk. I wanted to figure out a way to do it nice and this is what I came up with:
This instructable will show how to engrave something and make it look really nice with very little extra effort or skill required.
mailing labels or any other printable sticker material.
engraving pen- I got mine for $12.00 from Canadian Tire
something you need to engrave. (you might want to do a practice one first, don't start on your wife's wedding band just yet)
Please check out my other instructables and I also have a diy podcast called mechanicalmashup.tv
Step 1: Image
Use your favorite imaging software to create your name in just about any font you want to use. Just remember that you are going to use an outline (at least in the beginning) I tried a fill once and found it very time consuming and hard to make it look good.
You can dress it up with some fancy art around the name but since that is probably a good way to get myself beat up at work, I'll just make it plain here. You have to be careful not to go too fine into the details because some of the paper gets damaged while you are engraving, you will see what I mean when you try it, just trust me for now.
Print out your image onto mailing labels or sticker paper. I try to do most of a sheet and I print it out a few different sizes to have some extras around and to be able to fit it the best possible way.
Trim the label if you have to and stick it to the tool where you want to engrave your name. Push it down good because we don't want it to slide when we start. Also the better it is stuck down, the less the paper seems to get damaged.
Step 2: Engrave It
Very carefully trace the lines in your image with the engraver. I like to try to keep the tip as perpendicular as possible, longer straight lines could be helped with a straight edge if you felt the need. You need to make sure you press hard enough to cut through the paper, you can hear and feel the difference I find. Take your time because this is the final product and I didn't see any engraving erasers beside the engravers. (although a grinder would work) Another tip is to try and stay at the same travel speed for the tip, if you dwell too long on a point, you will notice it on the final product.
For the center punch I made in trade school, I filed a flat spot into the knurling to give myself a nice spot to engrave.
I once did a really nice one for a birthday present for a friend. I have no picture but I engraved my friends name in a really funky font onto a rock climbing carabiner. (disclaimer- engraving onto a structural part may weaken the carabiner) I engraved the locking barrel which bears no weight. You would hate to give someone a birthday present that kills them, no matter how cool it looks.
Experiment, enjoy, and hang on to your tools!