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.
The Roland EGX-20 Compact Desktop Engraver is great for small shops, hobbyists, mall kiosks and small gift engravers. It has an 8″ x 6″ x 1.25″ work area and will engrave in 2d and a type of 3d. This amazing little machine can engrave plastic, wood, brass, wax, foam, and other light materials. Normally included with the Roland EGX-20 package is the Roland Dr. Engrave Software, the Roland 3D Engrave Software package and the Roland Virtual Modela Software package. The little machines run a little over $2,000. All you need to add is a computer and some items to engrave.
With the Roland EGX-20 Desktop Engraver and a little practice, anyone can produce beautiful, professional engravings of text and graphics right from their computer. The EGX-20 is designed by Roland to be very easy to operate, even for beginner engravers.
The EGX-20 is powerful enough to handle a variety of engraving jobs, including awards, product serial numbers, trophy plates, personalized items and more. It is at the same time, small enough to fit comfortably on your desktop.
One of the coolest features of the EGX-20 is its Automatic Surface Tracking System or AST. This amazing system automatically tracks the height of the material that you are engraving to ensure a consistent cut depth. It even works on bowed or non-uniform surfaces. The Automatic Surface Tracking system makes setting the origin point and cutting depth very easy resulting in beautiful results with less learning time and less waste.
The Roland EGX-20 comes with a 15,000 rpm motor giving it the power to engrave more materials than comparable machines. The Dr. Roland engraving software is your basic program for cutting fonts and graphics. The Roland 3d program works with the Dr. Roland software and converts your designs to 3d reliefs. The Virtual Modela lets you view your work on the computer prior to sending the job to the engraver.
EGX-20 Desktop Engraver Specifications
Maximum Work Area
8″ X 6″ X 1.25″
Table Load Weight
Maximum 1 Kg
Carriage Cutting Range
203.2 (X-Axis) X 152.4 (Y-Axis) X 31.8 (Z-Axis) mm
The Roland EGX 30A compact desktop engraver is a larger version of the 20A engraver. It has a 12 x 8 work area. It engraves in 2d and comes with Dr. Engrave software from Roland.
With a little practice you can begin creating all types of basic engraved items from trophy plates to industrial machine name tags. This model is a workhorse type machine and will crank out production with no complaints.
The EGX-30A makes engraving an easy task. To operate the machine simply use the bundled Dr. Engrave software to design your badge, nameplate or plaque and let it generate an engraving path for the project. Then simply send the job and the desktop engraver automatically detects the material’s thickness and begins the job. While engraving, you can easily adjust the feed rate and rpm of the machine by simply turning the knob located on the control panel.
The specifications on the EGX-30A are as follows.
12 x 8 1/16th in (305 x 205 mm)
Maximum operation area
12 x 8 1/16th in (305 x 205 mm)
1 15/16th in/sec. (50mm/sec.)
0.000394 in/step (0.01mm/step), 0.0000492 in/step (0.00125mm/step) using micro step control.
0.000394 in/step (0.01mm/step)
0.000394 in/step (+/-0.1mm) or +/-0.5% of moving distance, Whichever is greater.
+/-0.000394in (12 1/16” in), +/-1mm (305mm)
Brushless DC motor, maximum 27 Watt
5,000 to 10,000 revolutions per minute
Engraving tool mounting diameter
Acceptable engraving materials
Plastics, various light materials and Brass and Aluminum for Scribing
Speed of tool up / down movement
1 per sec.
USB 1.1 (compliant with Universal Serial Bus Specification Rev. 1.1), Serial (RS-232C compliant)
↑,↓,←,→, SET SURFACE/TEST, PAUSE/VIEW, ORIGIN POINT/SET ORIGIN POINT, SELECT
Dedicated AC Adapter: AC 100 to 240V +/- 10% 50/60 Hz
Machine: DC 24V, 0.7A
Acoustic noise level
Operation Mode: 70 dB (A) or less, Standby mode: 40dB (A) or less
(According to ISO 7779)
20-1/4 in. (W) x 19-3/8 in. (D) x 8-9/16 in. (H)
513 mm (W) x 491 mm (D) x 217 mm (H)
13.2 kg (29.1 lb.)
34 in. (W) x 24 in. (D) x 12 in. (H)
863.6 mm (W) x 609.6 mm (D) x 304.8 mm (H)
41 to 104°F
35 to 80% do not operate in an area with condensation
AC Adapter, Power cord, USB Cable, Dust collector hose and duct, Character cutter, Engraving-tool holder, Diamond scribe adapter, Hexagonal screw driver, Spanner, Hexagonal wrench, Test material, Adhesive sheet for securing material, Roland Software package CD-ROM, User’s manual