Relief design or inscription on metal in 5 minutes


Today's equipment and technical equipment helps to create aesthetic and versatile paintings both with your own hands and with the help of special devices. In the article we will analyze what metal engraving is, how and with what it is done, types, techniques and methods of applying drawings. This method transforms an everyday item into a striking and original creation that makes an excellent gift or keepsake.

What is the procedure

Engraving is one of the ancient methods of finishing metal surfaces. Initially, it was used to add sophistication to household items, after which things were passed on from generation to generation. Despite the fact that this is an ancient art, today it is actively used for both personal and public purposes (decorating streets, city monuments, etc.).

Previously, painting was carried out exclusively by hand, without the help of special equipment. Now, for this purpose, various devices and devices are used that make it possible to create any pattern, inscription or picture. Depending on what is used to engrave on metal and how exactly to engrave (choice of technique), different results are obtained. Therefore, it is worth familiarizing yourself with the available methods, since each of them has its own characteristics.

Caring for engraving equipment and tools

In order for an engraver or drill used at home or in a well-equipped workshop to last as long as possible, it is necessary to properly care for it. First of all, you need to monitor the condition of the tools that are used in conjunction with such equipment: there should be no cracks or other defects on their working surface. Defective instruments may only be replaced with burs of the same design and type. You should also make it a rule to clean the engraver's ventilation openings from dust accumulating in them after each working session.

Proper care of the engraver will not only keep such equipment in working condition for a long time, but also perform processing with its help as efficiently as possible.

Description of technologies

The rapid development of this craft has led to the fact that there are several different ways of applying an image to a metal surface. If initially only the hands of a master and simple improvised means were used to realize fantasies, today engraving machines and even lasers are used for this.


This type is often called artistic, since it is extremely difficult to engrave metal by hand. This is a labor-intensive and time-consuming process that requires the master to have special skills, knowledge and patience. To create the required design or inscription, only a cutting steel tool is used - a graver. This is a special cutter for drawing lines and points of various indentations, which are later turned into a picture. Such work is considered exclusive, and therefore is of particular value to people who want to get a unique thing of its kind or a creation by a famous master.


Mechanical engraving on metal is popular because it is particularly durable - it is almost impossible to remove or erase the design. It is realized with a sharply sharpened rotating cutter by cutting material that has an exclusively flat surface. The cutter is located inside the engraving machine, which allows you to obtain three-dimensional and relief designs. The result depends on the depth of penetration of the drill, the use of various cliches (taking into account the characteristics of the cutter) and the skill of the person. The main advantages of this type are:

  • Guarantee of high accuracy and obtaining the desired result while achieving the desired realism.
  • Long service life. The created drawings do not lose their original appearance even after several decades and under unfavorable external conditions.
  • Ability to create three-dimensional images.

A subtype of the mechanical method is the diamond method, which has some differences. In it, the cutter performs striking movements on the surface, as a result of which a certain ornament is formed. After pressing the diamond needle, microscopic dots are formed, due to which the resulting product receives a specific shine. A diamond cutter can cope with even complex tasks, but a perfectly flat surface is a prerequisite.


This type has another name - abrasive processing. Engraved inscriptions or other images on metal are applied by etching the top layer of the product with sand or other abrasive powdery substances. They are sprayed with a powerful air flow, resulting in a matting effect. The use of special stencils allows you to obtain not only patterns, drawings or inscriptions, but even photographs.

This type of image application requires sandblasting systems, a mask and an air compressor. Most professionals prefer medium-sized closed units because they filter dust. Also, implementing this technology will require a lot of free space, since engraving on metal using the sandblasting method is only possible with an air compressor, which takes up a lot of space and makes a lot of noise.

Laser sublimation

This type involves the use of a color printer, special cartridges, sublimation paper and a heat press for coloring metal materials. To get the desired image, first of all, you need to print it. The resulting transfer is placed on top of the product, after which the latter is exposed to high temperatures, which promote coloring and the transition of substances from a solid to a gaseous state.

Deep laser engraving on metal is characterized by productivity and practicality, which is especially important for business, for example, for souvenirs when applying photographs. It simultaneously combines high speed, mass production, accuracy, low cost and excellent quality. This technique involves the use of a focused laser beam. It allows you to adjust the laser power, which gives the image a different tonality and relief. In addition, the resulting pattern is preserved for many years and does not deform under the influence of water or moisture.

Different laser powers for metal engraving allow you to create sophisticated and complex patterns that have the required depth. Laser engraving involves removing the outer layer of the metal surface, which is important to consider during the work process. Laser contour engraving stands out separately, implying the drawing of exclusively contours. In most cases, this technique is used for processing coins, awards and other souvenirs. The main advantages of the laser are:

  • Ability to work on finished products.
  • Unlimited number of processed copies.
  • Low price of service and excellent quality.
  • There is no need to install supports and foundations.
  • The ability to apply sketches even to hard-to-reach parts of the product.
  • High precision, thanks to which the products are distinguished by realism and excellent reproduction of even small patterns.

Features of certain types of decoration by engraver

Nowadays, do-it-yourself keyboard engraving is very popular. The thing is that most high-quality imported computer devices do not have a Russian font. This is what is most often applied using a thin needle and drill. With some experience, you can easily make your keyboard special and individual.

Also, using a Dremel and a wood bit, you can make an elegant personalized engraving on a gun, or rather on its butt. This will help you not only make your weapon beautiful, but also recognizable (which will be very useful if it is lost or stolen).

This type of decoration, such as engraving, is used to apply memorable inscriptions to gifts and other significant items.

Engraving is most often done for memorable dates, anniversaries and weddings. What engraving to do on wedding rings is a question that worries many newlyweds. After all, such decor solves two very important problems at once - it makes a standard ring individual and seals the young union with a meaningful phrase (or just a date). However, it is worth remembering that you can only engrave the inside of the ring and only after you have decided on the exact size.

For a friend (or girlfriend), you can make a beautiful engraving on a diary or notepad. This is possible provided that the cover is made of genuine leather - only on it, with the help of thin blades, you will get a real work of art. You can also do laser engraving, where instead of a knife, thin lines are made with a laser. Working with such an installation is quite simple, but requires special skills (and the device is quite expensive). Therefore, if you do not want to do this professionally, use simpler tools.

Colored engraving on metal

The transfer of images of different colors occurs using a glassograph made in the form of a pencil or ink. After engraving, the workpiece is coated with colorless varnish in order to preserve the resulting effect in its original form for a long time. To ensure clarity, oil-based paints are used on the metal product. To achieve a rich black shade, you don’t have to resort to professional equipment. For this purpose, you can use a mixture of potassium carbonate and sulfur in a 1:2 ratio. These substances are heated over low heat with constant stirring. After the composition has noticeably blackened, it is removed from the heat and the mixture is ground in a mortar. How to engrave on black metal:

  1. Mix the composition with water in a ratio of 1:9.
  2. Place the desired item into a previously prepared container.
  3. Heat the parts until black (you should get the desired color shade).


When choosing a power tool, you need to take into account the characteristics that affect the performance of the equipment:

  1. Electric motor power. When performing one-time work, choose a 200 W tool. If the engraver will be used constantly, choose a model with a power of 250 W or more. The optimal number of revolutions when working with metal workpieces is 30,000.
  2. Dimensions. Performance depends on the weight and size of the tool. If it is heavy or bulky, it becomes inconvenient to work and you have to take constant breaks. When choosing, hold the engraver in your hands to understand whether it is comfortable or not.

General technology

The main engraving techniques are manual and mechanical, which are also divided into volumetric and line type. Since it is impossible to engrave metal with 3D designs without the use of special equipment, surface treatment is carried out using a three-dimensional method. Line technology is used when performing surface actions. The work is carried out in several successive stages: drawing contour processing lines and removing a section of the metal surface with line movements.

For further manipulations, good sharpening of the stichel is required. To ensure high quality, the working apparatus is ground with a fine-grained sharpening stone and then rubbed with a piece of leather. When working with small parts, prepare a special pillow. It is made in the following way: blanks of the same size are sewn together, and the resulting cover is filled with sand. During work, when changing the direction of the pattern, the pillow, together with the workpiece, turns in the required direction, which ensures the convenience of applying the pattern.

Image application methods

Laser engraving easily adapts to automatic control. Working according to the program algorithm eliminates the possibility of subjective errors. When engraving by hand, the human factor does not eliminate the risk of making a mistake.

The image is applied according to control programs and is carried out using two methods - raster and vector.


With the raster method, the laser head moves discretely in one direction of the engraving area, and then moves down/up/down in the smallest possible increments. By sequentially processing the surface with such points, we obtain the required image. In this way, images such as photographs and pictures are engraved.

Interesting: Review of laser machines for metal cutting


With the vector method, the laser moves along the direction of certain lines. This method is usually used to engrave inscriptions and other images in the form of lines. This method is much more productive than the raster method, but if you need to change the thickness of the lines, you cannot do without raster engraving.

How to engrave metal using CNC machines

CNC milling machines are actively used to create memorable metal souvenirs. They make it possible to significantly increase productivity and speed up the workflow. Stainless steel is especially popular because it is durable, aesthetically pleasing, affordable, resistant to corrosion and temporary wear. The machines used have special fastening systems for workpieces of non-standard dimensions.

Today, metal engraving on CNC machines is in high demand in the restaurant business. The presence of a logo on cutlery gives status and leaves a pleasant impression on guests of the establishment. The process of applying an image on a milling machine occurs in several stages:

  1. Preparing a drawing in a special program.
  2. Drawing up a route for the cutter. At this stage, you need to pay special attention to the selection of the cutter and its rotation frequency. They also select the area on which the sketch of the future painting or inscription will be located.
  3. Fixing the workpiece on the machine. If necessary, a special lubricant is applied on top to ensure better results.
  4. Fastening the cutter in the spindle using a collet having the required diameter.
  5. Checking the fluid level in the mechanism.
  6. Loading the machine control program and completing automated work.

There are many ways to apply images to souvenirs and gift products. However, metal engraving has enjoyed success for many years.

In addition to creating such masterpieces with the hands of a master, you can use high-tech devices that provide high accuracy and excellent quality of the printed image. They are able to create any inscriptions and even real artistic paintings that are beyond the control of human skills. The automated system independently sets the correct depth and also determines what laser power is needed for engraving metal and applying photos (using the laser technique).

To get an original, high-quality drawing, contact. Our specialists will create a unique product for you in the shortest possible time using a laser engraving machine in exact accordance with your wishes.

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