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Techniques and Tools for Rotary Engraving Glass

Leave your mark on glass with your rotary engraver

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When marking glass with a rotary engraver, you can achieve several appearances based on cutter selection. It is always advisable to use a lubricant when marking glass. Some rotary engraving systems include a reservoir and fluid pump to circulate lubricant over the glass as it is marked. If your engraver doesn’t have a fluid pump, you can rub a little GravoLube, or a similar lubricant, on the glass and proceed. The lubricant dramatically extends cutter life and reduces heat buildup in the glass, allowing for a more consistent etch.

It is important to use a swivel nose cone to control depth and only expose .001 to .002 cutter depth in the glass. Feed rates on the X- and Y-axis should be relatively slow for a smooth etch, as fast feed rates cause breakout and a rough texture along the cut line.

The most common fonts for marking glass with a rotary engraver are the optimized multi-stroke traditional fonts (Balmoral, Roman 3L, Script 2L, and Circle Monogram). True “type fonts” are typically not used because they require filled tool paths that greatly increase the engraving time.

Anthony Harris, Gravotech

Anthony Harris

Anthony Harris is the director of government sales and applications at Gravotech. He has over 16 years of experience consulting with clients and partners in the marking materials, engraving routers, and laser processing industry.

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