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  1. #11
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    This is my first post here I think. I am floored by the magnitude of response in such a short time, and by so many "famous" names (to me). From what I gather so far, many have rotarys but not many prefer them to the safety of hand power particular to background removal in gun engraving. I have heard of the technique Beathard uses in creating a safety zone around the perimeter with a flat before proceeding with a rotary. I will withhold a rotary purchase until I have had a chance to try one out. Even at a few hundred dollar at the bottom of the scale, they seem an unnecessary expense at my level of expertise presently.

    A question came to mind, if not preferred for background removal in guns, what other uses (besides hardened metal removal mentioned) does the rotary have in gun engraving. It seems all of you have them. They must have many uses?

    On another note. I joined FEGA yesterday and look forward to gaining access to the member area. I've attended two shows in Reno in the past few years and really enjoyed them.

  2. #12
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    Were engravers axeman. I'm sure we all have a lot of tools that we hardly ever use. :-)

    I do use mine occasionally for making punches and such but I really don't use it much at all for engraving. Buying one would be on the bottom of my list. There are a lot of other things that would take priority to me. Good lighting, optics, a good sharpening system, a good solid vise, etc etc.

    Ray
    School of Fine Art Engraving
    rcoverengraving.com
    cover@sbcglobal.net
    My projects blog
    http://raycover.blogspot.com/

  3. #13
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    I bought mine on the chance that it would come in handy at some point. I really don't use it very often (about once every 6 months or so). I mostly use it as stated, for hard metal background removal. Usually this is when the metal work hardens when I cut it the first time, because when I remove it with the rotary the metal doesn't harden until I stipple it.

  4. #14
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    Nov 2006
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    I think you will find that those with a jewelery background can excavate background more quickly with the rotary. We are use to using them. Te issue of speed has do with keeping your tool sharp This can be accomplished by using the correct speed and having good torque . I would not use a turbine you will quickly dull burs. The speed is just too high for this kind of work and the sizes of burs.

    I would go with a micromotor and Ray is correct you don't need to buy the most expensive one. The proper speed is determined by the size of the bur the material it's made from and the number of teeth. I use mostly carbide for background removal. anywhere from 0.2mm to 0.5mm. The larger the bur you can use the better and more rapid it will go. I would reccomend using a cutting speed of around 12 to 15,000 rpm and not faster. In the beginning if you use a faster speed with these small burs It will seem like it is going faster but they will dull and you will start to remove more slowly.

    The key is to cut away material cleanly there shouldn't be any material build up in front of the bur or you have a bur that is dulling or going faster than the bur can cut. Most people make the mistake of thinking that if it cuts fast with this speed then faster will be better. Simply not true. With any kind of machining which is what this is hand machining. There are optimum speeds and feeds.

    Chris
    Innovate don't Imitate !
    http://engraversstudio.com/

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  6. #15
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    Good info on the speeds Chris. Thanks for that. Its common sense just hadn't thought about it that way.
    School of Fine Art Engraving
    rcoverengraving.com
    cover@sbcglobal.net
    My projects blog
    http://raycover.blogspot.com/

  7. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    Default Rotary question

    Thanks peoples. I am humbled and quite floored by all the helpfulness. I am trying to figure out how to post pictures on this sight now for future show and tell. It seems that there are more gun engravers here than on another sight i frequent. I also look forward to interacting on the FEGA sight, which seems in it's infancy right now. I will heed all the advice. I do love all the engraving tools though and will start knocking out everything on my want list in priority. Rotary will be low Ray, thanks for he advise. The advise on the speeds and tools is great too.

    I have the information I need. Just to synopsize:

    The question pertained to rotary tools used in gun engravings only.

    Most gun engravers responding from two forums stated they have a rotary or two. Most prefer hand excavation and stippling the background for guns. Rotarys have their place in removing material from hardened gun parts as well as sculpting and tool making. More than one respondent who used rotarys for background removal used a flat to excavate a "safety zone" around the perimeter before proceeding with the rotary. if one type of rotary is preferred over another for gun engraving, it is the micro motor because of its torque at lower speeds. although many had both air and micro motor. Tool geometry and speed plays a big part in tool control, the lack of which is scarey and can cause unintended consequences. because of this, speed, tool and bit selection is an important part of the equation in using rotarys for gun engraving.

    I hope this answers the question concerning rotary tools for gun engraving for others who might have that same question. Jewelry or knife engravers might have a different opinion. Thank you everyone for your input.
    Last edited by axeman11; 09-13-2012 at 10:24 PM. Reason: Additional

  8. #17
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    As being a goldsmith myself I have just a small addition to make to the speed-uses issue. The high speeds can be used to polish metal with the right polishing bits. It especially works nice on hard materials like stainless steels but also works on silver and gold. But . . . even here practis and experience is key. You easily mess up any work or value! From my own experience it takes real time before you can handle this kind of tools with garanteed and expected results. Please be carefull before you use it on any commercial items and value the advices made earlier in this thread.

    To all contributers of this thread; This is one very good piece of text all together, thanks!

  9. #18
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    There is one issue about removing metal with a rotary grinder that I don't think has been mentioned. I believe that everyone who uses a rotary for background removal also uses a microscope for magnification. Those areas between leaves of scrollwork are really tiny and you need magnification to excavate them without running into the foreground which seems more critical with a rotary than a graver. Also, If you are grinding away using only an optivisor, you run the risk of getting debris in your eyes because your eyes are much closer to the work than when you are looking through a scope.

    I'm interested to know if anyone out there uses a rotary for background removal without a scope.

    RB
    C. Roger Bleile
    Author of American Engravers and American Engravers-The 21st Century
    http://www.engravingglossary.com/
    FEGA Historian
    NRA Benefactor Life Member


    Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind. Johannes Brahms

  10. #19
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    Jun 2011
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    I use it with scope and optivisor. When I use the optivisor I also use safety glasses. I've just been paranoid about metal fragments. I had one in an eye several years ago and it was painful.

  11. #20
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    Nov 2007
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    Well I took Ray Covers (and many others) advise above and searched for a micro motor. I found one on eBay for $129 including shipping....from China. I ordered this one 09/17/12 and surprisingly received it today, 09/22/12. USPS knocked on my door and handed it over in exchange for my signature. That was FAST. It is a brush type unit similar to the one Ray recommended. For the price it was worth the chance to me. This model is made in Korea which has higher manufacturing standards for electronics than China.

    The unit model is a "Strong 90". It comes with a 35,000 rpm hand piece, U.S. power adapter, and a foot control. it has forward and reverse features and a friction lock collet system. The housing is made from thick metal and the unit has a heft and quality feel to it. The hand piece also has a feel of quality. I plugging it in, i noted that it operated quietly and smoothly with no vibration. In pinching the smooth shaft between my fingers, it appears to have good torque. The hand piece was smaller than i anticipated and the more slender tip if this unit allowed holding it like a pencil. I am ordering some of the round carbide burs on Monday. Any recommendations on other burs commonly used for gun engraving?

    Here are some pics of the unboxing. Performance review to follow.
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