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Commonly Asked Engraving Questions

Can it be engraved?

Many metals, plastics, and wood items can be engraved. Objects you thought couldn't be engraved, really can be, such as hammers, iPads, toasters, crowbars, wooden coat racks, and laptop computers. The list goes on and on. We can also engrave corporate logos and phone numbers on iPads and laptops. Most of these items can be personalized in one or two business days. To inquire if we can engrave your personal item, contact us.

Can you engrave a calculator or camera for ID purposes?

Yes, usually on these pieces, only an indent is done on the surface of the item. Typically, the engraving has no contrast with the surface material but it is permanently in the metal, which is what you want.

I can't see the engraving on the surface of the metal, why?

Engraving is when the metal is either plowed to each side using a diamond drag engraving tool or rotating carbide cutter to cut into the surface. No color is used to fill in the letters to give contrast. Some people expect engraving to be like printing - very visible. Engraving is more subtle in appearance as light reflects differently off of engraved surfaces. Silver items are the hardest to see the engraving because of the highly reflective nature of silver or chrome metals. Also, the harder the metal, the less depth to the engraving, thus less contrast. Gold surfaces show the engraving best.

Can you engrave cylindrical objects like cups and pewter tankards?

Yes, many engraving operations can only engrave on flat surfaces. We have specialized engraving equipment to handle cylindrical objects up to 20" in diameter.

I have a Maglite. Can it be engraved?

We use an etching or engraving process for Maglites. Most Maglites are black, and when we engrave into it, the contracting aluminum comes through with excellent results. Company logos and names can easily be engraved on Maglites as well as most flashlights.

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Maglite Engraving

My wedding band has a slight curve on the inside, can it be engraved?

Yes, our equipment allows for some variation in the ring thickness. We also can engrave symbols as well as lettering. Most engravers have just two font choices. We have tons to choose from. Maybe you have a specific font you are using for your wedding. If it's a True Type Font, we can convert it so we can engrave your wedding band.

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Wedding Band Engraving

Can photographs be engraved?

In the past, the answer was no. Today, some laser engravers have the technology to engrave photographs. Photos with high contrast give the best results. Also, some engraving surfaces work better than others.

I have a logo with a halftone in it. How well can I expect something like that to turn out?

Many halftones don't work well and have to be modified to work with engraving. Today, more and more halftones can be made to work.

Can you engrave glass?

Yes, but in recent years we have switched to etching because you get better smooth lettering, and there is less chance of breakage. We can etch crystal frames, toasting flutes, and more!

Can you have engraved letters on an arc?

Yes, we use arc engraving, usually on the backs of watches where the manufacturer's markings are right in the center. Once in a while, we arc letters on a plaque to highlight the award's name.

I have a custom-made charm and the back is not finished. Can you engrave the back?

The back must be buffed and smoothed out, only then will the engraving be visible.

Can puffed hearts be engraved?

Yes, but at high risk. Puffed hearts are hollow, and to keep the price down, jewelers make the gold as thin as possible. The engraver has to engrave very lightly to not break through the thin gold. At best, the engraving is light with no dimples where the gold was too thin. Rather than engrave puffed hearts, we etch them. This way, we avoid dimples.

How small can you engrave?

To the point where you can't read it with the naked eye. Some engraving surfaces may be too rough to allow engraving to go that small.

Can a wood picture frame be engraved?

Yes, we suggest lighter color woods for the best results. Maple and cherry frames laser engrave great. Some oak frames may be too grainy and can possibly conflict with the laser engraving.

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Laser Engraving Wood Frames

Can wine bottles be engraved?

Yes, we can etch wine bottles and then add a gold fill to the lettering to give it contrast. We suggest using wine bottles that are darker in color for best results. If the label has silver in it, we can color fill the lettering with silver too. Etched wine bottles make a great anniversary gift or retirement gift.

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Wine Bottle Etching

Can ball-shaped items be engraved?

Yes, but we are limited in what we can do. The biggest problem is holding the item and not having it move during the engraving process. From small ornaments like the Reed & Barton round Christmas bell to bowling balls, we can do it! Contact us to determine if your round item can be engraved.

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We can even engrave a bowling ball.

Can vinyl portfolios be engraved?

No, but brass name plates can be attached, or gold lettering can be put on using a hot stamping machine. With hot stamping, you run the risk of melting the vinyl. Brass plates require a rigid cover to stay attached.

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Engraving Plates

I've seen acrylic awards and I can't feel the engraving, why?

Most acrylic awards are reversed engraved from the backside. This gives a 3-D effect and enhances the appearance of the acrylic award.

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Acrylic Awards

I took a silver plated baby cup to an engraver and the plating flaked up around the engraving. What happened?

A lot of inexpensive silver-plated baby gifts come from the Pacific rim countries. Many of these products do not have suitable quality control in the silver-plating process. What happens is the base metal is prepared for the silver-plating process. If any oils or impurities are not properly cleaned before plating, the silver will not properly bond to the base metal. As the engraving tool passes over a bad area, the plating flakes up. To look at the cup, it is impossible for the engraver or you, to spot this defect. The responsible party is the store that bought it and the original manufacturer. We suggest brand name suppliers like Reed & Barton for baby cup engraving.

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Reed & Barton Baby Cup Engraving

Do you engrave swords?

Yes, we can engrave swords. Most of the time, we engrave on the blade. You usually find space down from the guard that is made for engraving. U.S. military swords have this spot. We also engrave medieval swords. These are often a lower quality sword made of softer metals and we can engrave deeper. Most guards are not a good location for engraving. Remember, most swords are tempered steel, which means they are very hard metal, making the engraving somewhat light. We usually etch swords. It gives a better look, and we can get a better image of hardened steel. Typically, we engrave about 35 or more swords a year.

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Sword Engraving

How do I send a corporate logo?

What we are looking for is camera-ready artwork. You can email your logo/artwork as an attachment to etched@engravecon.com. We suggest sending your artwork in several export formats: tiff, jpeg, eps, etc. This way, we can pick the highest quality logo to be used for your engraving job.