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Engraving using High Speed Tools?

What’s the big deal about Engraving using High Speed?

NSK Presto High Speed Dental HandpieceWhen we talk about Engraving using High Speed, or High Speed Engraving, we are referring to ultra high speed air driven engraving tools. Air driven tools, also referred to as pneumatic tools are able to rotate much quicker than electric tools. However, they require the use of a compressor and filter/regulator where electric tools do not.

High Speed Engravers

High Speed handpieces such as the NSK Presto II rotate at speeds over 300,000 rpm – That’s about 6 times faster than the fastest electric rotary tools!  They use 1/16″ friction grip burs, the same burs dentists use. They also require the use of a compressor and filter/regulator.

High Speed tools are used in dental labs to make crowns, bridges, etc. They are also used by glass engravers, wood carvers, egg artists, pistol grip carvers, knife engravers, leather carvers and so on. The possibilities are endless to what you can personalize with these tools.

They operate on SPEED, not torque. The high speed is what gives you the control and unparalleled precision.

Electric Rotary Tools

Electric rotary tools, such as Dremel, Foredom, etc. typically turn between 25,000 and 40,000 rpm. Some others, such as the RAM OZ Plus, will get up to 50,000 rpm. (still much slower than air driven, high speed engravers). They are high torque, but lower speed. You can dig them into wood and remove a bunch of material in a hurry. However, because they are slower speed, if you try to engrave on a hard surface or add detail to hard wood, they tend to “run”. If you’ve ever tried to engrave using a vibrating engraver, you know what I mean. They pull your hand around and it’s hard to control. You will not get this with High Speed Engravers.

Which Tool is Best for Me?

This depends on what you are trying to do. High speed engraving tools are not meant to replace electric engravers or carvers. Each has a purpose.

  • Electric tools are better for removing large amounts of material in less time. They have more torque and less speed. On the contrary, high speed tools are designed for precision and detail. They operate at way higher speeds giving you more control but have lower torque than electric tools.  If you are removing material, use an electric tool (or even a chain saw depending on how big we’re talking).
  • High Speed tools are for adding detail to an engraving or carving when you need maximum control. It’s basically like writing on paper with a pen. There is no comparison to high speed engraving tools when it comes to adding detail. The speed allows you to control he tool and the bits will not “run” on you like slower tools do.

RAM Oz Plus MicromotorSummary

I always tell people to use whatever tool gets them to their end result. When it comes to engraving and carving, there is no “one size fits all” tool. That’s like having one wrench in your mechanics tool box. Our customer use all kinds of tools from chain saws, electric grinders, electric micromotors, and all the way down to high speed pneumatic tools. Don’t expect to purchase a high speed engraving tool to replace another you already have for every project.

It’s all about getting to the end result in reasonable time without wearing out your tools in the process. Don’t remove the background of a large wood carving (such as Dyke Roskelley’s) with an NSK Presto. Use a larger tool that will accommodate much larger, more aggressive burs such as Saburr Tooth Burs. If you’re looking to perfect the eyeball of an animal in a detailed carving, a high speed tool will greatly simply this task and the end result will most likely be much better.

Use the right tool for the job.

If you have any questions, please Contact High Speed Engraving.com.