Rotary Engraving Noses Part 1: Challenges

The solution to mark a substrate has its own set of challenges. Be on the lookout for part 2 and 3, which cover advantages and types of noses.

The main issue with rotary engraving is the combination of a new engraving system operator and inconsistent depth of engraving. A nose, with and without chip removal, attaches to the lower micrometer of the spindle and is held in by a collar nut. It is designed to ride on the engraving surface with a cutter extending slightly beyond the nose bottom to penetrate the engraving material. In theory, the nose is a perfect solution to accomplish consistent engraving. But in fact, it has its challenges.  

  • A major issue is shadowing or ghosting. This is the scratching of the material by the nose or the chips being cut/ground back into material by the nose. A new nose, lighter down pressure, using outdoor material, and a good chip removal system often solves these issues. 
  • Noses also interfere with clamps and edge rulers. The nose is typically Delrin (plastic), fiber, SST, or a polished steel.
  • A nose requires extending the cutter length, making it weaker, and produces more wear on the typical simple spindle in our industry.
  • Engraving wide multi-line letters may allow the nose to engrave a deep depth as it falls into the engraved cavity. I call this “nose dive.”
  • Noses are expensive, wear out, messy, and just cumbersome for some. 

-Fred Schwartz, Quality One Engravers

Fred Schwartz

Fred Schwartz is the project engineer at Quality One Engravers located in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Quality One Engravers has been in engraving industry for over 35 years and has a wealth of knowledge on old and newer engravers, as well as software, parts, service, tips, and tricks.

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