FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions for the Spring Loaded Engraving Tools™

Engrave Flat, Curved and Uneven Surfaces Faster Using a CNC Machine

Standard Spring Loaded Engraving Tools

Standard Spring Loaded Engraving Tools™

3/4″ & 20mm Diameter Spring Loaded Engraving Tools
For High Volume, High Speed Production Engraving 

3/4″ Dia. – Most Popular Size!
Mini Spring Loaded Engraving Tools

Mini Spring Loaded Engraving Tools™

1/2″, 3/8″, & 1/4″ Diameter Mini Spring Loaded Engraving Tools
Designed for Smaller CNC Machines
* The 2L Spring Loaded Engraving Tool is covered by U.S. Patents 6,834,434, 7,093,368, and 7,607,871.
What are the main differences between the "STANDARD" and "MINI" Spring Loaded Engraving Tools?
RPM and Machines:

  • The Standard Spring Loaded Engraving Tools are used for higher volume production engraving. They have larger diameter shafts and can be run at higher RPM than the Mini Spring Loaded Engraving Tools (see below recommended RPM per Tool).
  • The Mini Spring Loaded Engraving Tools have lower recommended RPM and are typically used on smaller CNC machines.

Tool Bit Sizes & Collets:

  • The Mini Spring Loaded Engraving Tools hold only 3/16″ diameter engraving tool bits (held by set screw).
  • The Standard Spring Loaded Engraving Tools have an integrated ER11 collet for holding tool bits.
    • Each 3/4″ and 20 mm Standard Spring Loaded Engraving Tool includes a 3/16″ Collet for holding 3/16″ Engraving Tool Bits.
    • Additional Collets can be purchased separately (1/4″, 1/8″, 4 mm & 6 mm) which can hold these diameter tool bits in the Standard Spring Loaded Engraving Toolholders.  These Collets are custom Collets, designed for the Spring Loaded Engraving Tools.
Which diameter Spring Loaded Engraving Tool should I use?
  • Spring Loaded Engraving Tools are available in 5 different diameter shafts. This variety of sizes allows you to use a Spring Loaded Engraving Tool in virtually any cnc machine.
  • We typically suggest that you use the largest diameter Spring Loaded Engraving Tool your cnc machine can accommodate.
  • It is important to operate the Spring Loaded Engraving Tools within their recommended RPM ranges. RPM ranges are listed below.
  • Review each tools maximum recommended RPM speeds, tool dimensions and other specifications when selecting a Spring Loaded Engraving Tool to be used on your cnc machine and your specific application.

 

Choose the Largest Diameter Spring Loaded Engraving Tool Your Machine Can Accommodate
Spring Loaded Engraving Tools™
(5 Sizes Available)
Engraving Tool Bit Sizes Max RPM
3/4″ Diameter
Standard Spring Loaded Engraving Tool
(Most Popular Size)
Fits in 3/4″ Collet or End Mill Holder

Integrated Collet is included.

The Collet holds 3/16″ diameter cutters.

Other size collets (1/8″, 1/4″, 4 mm & 6 mm) to hold other diameter cutters are available. 10,000 RPM Max.
20mm Diameter
Standard Spring Loaded Engraving Tool
Fits in 20mm Collet or End Mill Holder

Integrated Collet is included.

The Collet holds 3/16″ diameter cutters.

Other size collets (1/8″, 1/4″, 4 mm & 6 mm) to hold other diameter cutters are available. 10,000 RPM Max.
1/2″ Diameter
Mini Spring Loaded Engraving
Fits in a 1/2″ Collet or End Mill Holder Holds 3/16″ diameter tool bit via set screw. Holds only 3/16″ diameter cutters. 7500 RPM Max.
3/8″ Diameter
Mini Spring Loaded Engraving
Fits in a 3/8″ Collet or End Mill Holder Holds 3/16″ diameter tool bit via set screw. Holds only 3/16″ diameter cutters. 6000 RPM Max.
1/4″ Diameter
Mini Spring Loaded Engraving
Fits in a 1/4″ Collet or End Mill Holder Holds 3/16″ diameter tool bit via set screw. Holds only 3/16″ diameter cutters. 3000 RPM Max.
What are the recommended speeds and feeds when using a Spring Loaded Engraving Tool?
  • View speeds and feeds and general operating instructions/hints here.
How much travel does a Spring Loaded Engraving Tool have?
  • Each Spring Loaded Engraving Tool has 0.40″ of travel.
What size letters and depth can I engrave using a Spring Loaded Engraving Tool?
The Spring Loaded Engraving tool can be used to engrave a wide range of letter heights, from very small letters, to very large for signs.

Engrave extremely small letters .030″ – .080″ letter height:

  • 2L has successfully engraved letters 0.030″ (0.50 mm) tall with a Spring Loaded Engraving Tool.
  • Use a Carbide Point Engraving Tool in combination with a Spring Loaded Engraving Tool with a Heavy Spring on both steel and aluminum.
  • The below example shows engraved lines were approximately 0.005″ (0.127 mm) wide and 0.003″ (0.076 mm) deep.
  • The engraving depth can be controlled by changing the feed rate or the spindle speed.
  • For engraving letters from .030″ – .080″ we suggest using the above items to engrave.


 
Typical engraving of text height of 10 pts. (.085″) and larger:

  • Use a wide range of Engraving Tool Styles and tip sizes to engrave text height of .085″ and larger.
  • When engraving letters with height of .085″ – .125″ using a Spring Loaded Engraving Tool, we recommend an Engraving Tool with 60 degree angle and .010″ or .015″ tip width.
  • When engraving letters larger than .125″ we recommend a 60 degree angle and tip widths of .020″ and greater.
  • Typical depths of engraving that can be attained range from .002″ – .015″ per pass.
  • The depth of engraving that can be attained varies and is dependent on the hardness of the material being engraved, strength of the Spring used, Engraving Tool Bit Style, and speeds and feeds.
  • Stronger tension Springs springs are available for more or less spring pressure than the standard light spring included in the kit.
  • 2L produces many style and size Engraving Tool Bits for practically any application and material.

Feel free to Contact Us for assistance in selecting the optimum Engraving Tool Bit for your application.

How deep will the engraving be?
  • The engraving depth and appearance obtained depends greatly on the tool bit used.
  • 2L produces many Engraving Tool Bit styles for many materials to be engraved for both shallow and deeper engraving.
  • When engraving Aluminum with a Standard Conical Engraving Tool and a Light spring, approximately 0.005″ – 0.010″ per pass is attained.
  • When engraving Steel, Stainless Steel, and harder materials – approximately 0.003″ – 0.005″ per pass is attained using a Tough Tip Engraving Tool.
  • Greater depths per pass can also be obtained with stronger springs.

View our many style Engraving Tools here.

How do I get deeper engraving using a Spring Loaded Engraving Tool?
  • Use a stronger tension spring (stronger springs may wear tools more quickly and therefore reduce tool life).
  • Slow down the feedrate. Slower feedrates give the tool more time to cut and produces deeper engraving.
  • Or increase the spindle speed if the machine is capable – this has the same effect and won’t alter the cycle time.
  • Use a sharper tool bit (Sharper tool bits are available for digging deeper in Steels and Aluminums).
  • Make a second pass (remember: engraving with a Spring Loaded Engraving Tool is much faster than with a rigid tool holder, so making multiple passes is still faster than using a rigid tool).

View Engraving Tools here.

View the Springs for the Standard Spring Loaded Tool here.

View the Springs for the Mini Spring Loaded Tool here.

What Engraving Tool Bit should be used?
  • 2L designs, tests, and manufactures our Solid Carbide Engraving Tools in house.
  • You can use many different types of engraving tools for your application.
  • The type of engraving tool, angle and tip width used will affect the appearance of the engraved line.
  • We have listed in order of preference a few of our popular tool bits with the materials each tool is most typically is used to engrave.
  • These tables are for general reference to get you started.
  • Determining the best tool bit for your application can require trying a few different Engraving Tools.
  • Listed below are the most commonly used Engraving Tools with a Spring Loaded Tool and general recommendations.
  • To see a complete list of our Engraving Tools and material uses go here.

 

Most Commonly Used Engraving Tools With A Spring Loaded Engraving Tool
Hard Materials Tough Tip Engraving Tool for Steels/Hard Materials Standard Conical for Harder Materials Single Flute Conical Ballnose 2 Flute Conical Ballnose
Stainless Steel 1 2 3 4
Carbon Steel 1 2 3 4
Tool Steels 1 2 3 4
Gun Steels 1 2 3 4
Cold Rolled Steel 1 2 3 4
Woods (Hard Woods) ——– 1 3 4
Inconel 1 2 3 4
Hastelloy 1 2 3 4
Soft Materials Tough Tip Engraving Tool for Aluminum Standard Conical for Softer Materials Single Flute Conical Ballnose 2 Flute Conical Ballnose
Aluminum 1 2 3 4
Aluminum – Standard Anodized 2 1 3 4
Aluminum – Hard Coat Anodized 2 1 3 4
Acrylic – Engraving, 3D Engraving & Reverse
Engraving
——– 2 1 3
Brass 2 1 3 4
Plastics – Generic 3 1 2 4
Copper 3 1 2 4
Small Engraving (under .100″ Tall Letters) Diamond Tip Engraving Tool Carbide Point Engraving Tool
All Materials Use in a Spring Loaded Engraving Tool
with a Heavy Spring.
Which Spring To Use?
  • Springs provide force against the tool bit.
  • Stronger Springs apply greater force to the Tool Bit tip.  The additional force increases depth of cut but may reduce tool life.
  • A Light Tension Spring is included with each Spring Loaded Engraving Tool and is typically used for general engraving of Plastic, Brass, Aluminum, and mild Steels.
  • An Extra Light Spring can be used to apply less force when engraving very soft Plastics.
  • A Medium, Heavy, Extra-Heavy, or Extra-Extra Heavy Spring can be used to obtain greater depth of cut on Steels, Stainless Steel, Tool Steels, and many other hard materials.

Feel free to contact us for assistance in Spring selection for your application.

 

Springs Material Being Engraved
Extra Light Very soft gummy materials (ie. Plastic)
Light (included with tool) General purpose engraving (Plastic, Brass, Aluminum, shallow engraving on Steel, etc.)
Medium Steel, Stainless Steel, Cast Irons, Titanium, Anodized and Hard Anodized Aluminum
Heavy

Steel and harder materials for greater depth of cut

Engraving with Carbide Point Tools and Diamond Tools

Extra Heavy Steel and harder materials for greater depth of cut
Extra-Extra Heavy Steel and harder materials for greater depth of cut
Copyright © 2021, 2L inc., www.2Linc.com
When do I need to consider using a Depth Control Nosepiece?
  • Typically only when engraving very soft materials, such as plastics, or if you require very precise engraving depths.
  • A Depth Control Nosepiece allows you control engraving depth in 0.001″ increments.

View Depth Control Nosepiece Systems for the Standard Spring Loaded Engraving Tool here.

View Depth Control Nosepiece Systems for the Mini Spring Loaded Engraving Tool here.

What do I set my Z at?
  • Set the Z0 plane at the top surface of the workpiece.
  • Set the plunge depth to Z-0.030″ (z-.76mm) for normal engraving on relatively flat workpieces.
  • Set the plunge depth deeper if the workpiece tolerances are greater.  We do not recommend trying to compensate for surface variations greater than 0.375″ (9.525mm).
  • Do NOT set the Z plunge depth equal to the desired engraving depth.  The spring should be loaded with pressure when the tool is plunged and engraving.

How do I set the tool length?
  • Set the tool length the same way you set any standard rigid tool.
  • The spring pressure is usually strong enough to prevent compression when using a standard Tool Setting Probe commonly found on cnc machine tools.
  • Do not compress the spring when setting the tool length.
Why do I rapid into the part instead of feeding slowly like a rigid tool holder?
  • Feeding slowly into the workpiece will cause the tool bit to drill down into the material.
  • This may cause the tip of the tool bit to break prematurely.
  • We recommend plunging at a feedrate of 200 ipm (5080 mm/min) or more but anything greater than 90 ipm (2286 mm/min) produces good results.
  • Plunging the tool rapidly into the workpiece instead of feeding slow reduces the overall cycle time of the engraving job and increases the life of the engraving tool bit.

 

How do I control the engraving depth?
  • By adjusting the spindle speed and feedrate (speeds and feeds).
  • The faster the feedrate, the less deep the tool will engrave.
  • The slower the feedrate, the deeper the engraving.
  • Spring Loaded Engraving Tool Feedrates are approximately 3 – 5x faster than using a rigid tool.

View speeds and feeds here.

When Precise Engraving Depth is Required:

  • If exact engraving depth is required, use the optional Depth Control Engraving System.
  • Depth Control Engraving System can control engraving depth in 0.001″ increments.
  • The Nosepiece System is typically used and very effective when engraving very soft materials such as Plastics when using a Spring Loaded Engraving Tool.

View Depth Control Nosepiece Systems for the Standard Spring Loaded Engraving Tool here.

View Depth Control Nosepiece Systems for the Mini Spring Loaded Engraving Tool here.

Can I engrave Stainless Steel using a Spring Loaded Engraving Tool?

Absolutely, Yes.

When engraving Stainless Steel, Inconel, Hastelloy, Steels, Tool Steels, Hard Steels and many other hard materials use the Tough Tip Engraving Tool with the Spring Loaded Engraving Tool for maximum performance.

The Tough Tip Engraving Tool was specifically designed to engrave Stainless Steel and other hard materials and to last longer than other tool bit styles.

The below example shows a Stainless Steel Plate engraved using a Spring Loaded Engraving Tool (Part No. 10870) with the patented 2L Tough Tip Engraving Tool ® Bit (Part No. T-1875×2.0-60-.020), and a Medium Spring (Part No. 10046).

2L Spring Loaded Engraving Tools™ allow you to engrave flat, curved and irregular surfaces while using your CNC milling machine. It can dramatically reduce your engraving set up and cycle times.

 

What about marking Glass, Deburring, and Polishing using a Spring Loaded Engraving Tool?
Deburring, Polishing and Buffing with a Spring Loaded Tool

Deburring and Polishing

Use brushes for deburring or buffing and polishing wheels for polishing unusual surfaces.

Glass Engraving and Scribing with a Spring Loaded Tool

Example of Glass Engraving

Material: Glass
Spring Loaded Engraving Tool
Light Spring
Diamond Engraving Tool
Spindle Rotating at 3000 rpm
Feedrate: 18 ipm

 

The floating action of the Spring Loaded Engraving Tool allows for numerous types of tools to be used for almost unlimited uses.

Interchangeable collets allow easy changes from one diameter tool to another.

Different springs are available which provide various amounts of pressure to the finishing tool. Light spring pressure can be used for very delicate or extremely fine finishing results or heavy spring pressure can be used for removing rough scale with large finishing brushes.

Engrave and mark glass, stone, ceramic, granite and other hard and brittle materials without chipping or breaking the work-piece.

  • As the engraving tool dulls or wears, it floats over the work-piece and produces less of a mark without causing damage.
  • For harder materials such as glass, use Diamond Engraving Tools or Rotating Diamond Coated Burs.

Polish and buff molds or other components right on the CNC Machine using felt or other polishing wheels in the Spring Loaded Engraving Tool.

  • Place the polishing wheel in the collet and plunge it into rouge or other polishing compound on the CNC Machine table and then buff the work-piece.
  • Polishing wheel wear is compensated for by the spring in the Spring Loaded Engraving Tool. Polishing of molds by hand can be reduced or eliminated by using the Spring Loaded Engraving Tool with a polishing wheel in the CNC Machine during manufacture.

Deburr or break the edges of metal and plastic components with nylon brushes, wire brushes, or carbide burs held in the collet of the Spring Loaded Engraving Tool.

  • The floating action allows deburring irregular edges and creates consistent results.
  • Wear of the brushes is compensated for by the floating action of the Spring Loaded Engraving Tool.
  • Deburr manufactured parts on the CNC Machine by passing the Spring Loaded Engraving Tool over the surface of the part with any type of finishing wheel can greatly improve the productivity of your machining operations.
Scribe, Etch and Drag Engrave With a Spring Loaded Engraving Tool, Diamond Tip Tools and Carbide Point Scribe Tools

Scribe, Etch and Drag Engrave With a Spring Loaded Engraving Tool, Diamond Tip Engraving Tools, and Carbide Point Scribe Tools.

2L Spring Loaded Engraving Tools are used for rotary engraving, as well as drag engraving (also know as scratch engraving or scribing).

Most often drag or scratch engraving applications use a Diamond Tip Engraving Tool Bit, or a Carbide Point Engraving Tool Bit. Both of these tools will produce a shallow, thin, fine line on practically any material. Use of these tool bits are especially effective for fine and delicate engraving, and engraving of small letters.

The Diamond Tip Engraving Tool and the Carbide Point Tool can both be dragged as well as rotated in the Spring Loaded Engraving Tool. Dragging or rotating produce slightly different aesthetic engraving results.

 

drag, scratch, scribing with a spring loaded engraving tool

 

This engraving sample shown above and enlarged below is on a 5″ x 2″ (127mm x 50mm) workpiece Anodized Aluminum using a 2L Spring Loaded Engraving Tool and the following tool bits:

The US Flag on the right was engraved using a Diamond Tip Tool Bit, Part No. 10392.
The Data Matrix Barcode was engraved using a Data Matrix Tool Bit, Part No. DM-1875×2.0-120.
The text and logo on the left were engraved using a Conical Ballnose Engraving Tool Bit, Part No. B-1875×2.0-60-.010. The text height of “ENGRAVED WITH A…” is .125″ tall. The text height of “RAPID THE TOOL…” is .85″ tall.

 

 

drag, scratch, scribing with a spring loaded engraving tool