Techniques and Tools for Rotary Engraving Glass

Leave your mark on glass with your rotary engraver

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.

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Julia Schroeder

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