Before laser engravers, all engraving was done with a mechanical engraver that was basically a miniature router on an x y axis. After the 80’s these machines were almost always powered by some type of small computer. The operator would type in the words they wanted engraved, load the name plate and the machine would grind through the to layer revealing the normally white layer and creating permanent letters or graphics in the plate. The machine would also engrave metal tags which you have probably seen on trophies.
Today, mechanical engravers work basically the same way but with some really cool features. New computers and graphics programs can produce some amazing vector art which can then be engraved into almost anything. Any font, any graphic, etc.. Also, many engravers have a z axis meaning they can engrave at various depths creating artwork with depth to it.
It is rare for a shop to only have an engraver. This machine is normally combined with other graphics equipment such as vinyl cutters, printers, mug machines, etc.. Like most sign equipment an engraver can earn its owner upwards of $50 per hour.
The articles in this category cover several types of mechanical engravers. I hope you enjoy them.