View Full Version : Puzzle no. 9

02-24-2014, 10:13 PM
OK, Wade, right back at ya. What's this?

24 hour rule.

Andy N1ORK
02-25-2014, 05:54 AM
Some sort of copying/cutting machine? You put something on the table and a blank in the vice, then you run the right handle over what is on the table. The blank is then cut to the same shape. Just a wild guess.

02-25-2014, 07:16 AM
I agree...it is a pantograph.


02-25-2014, 08:11 AM
Oooops. So much for the 24 hour rule! :eek:

I think Andy nailed it. I used a similar contraption to carve my name in the top of a Simpson 260. I filled in the letters with white paint and wiped off the excess with a solvent rag.

Turned out real nice. And my Boss loaned out my meter to another engineer who dropped it and busted it all to peices.

02-25-2014, 10:10 AM
It's not quite nailed yet. Just almost.

02-25-2014, 12:18 PM
A bowling ball inscriber?

02-25-2014, 03:10 PM
A nearly anything inscriber, actually. It's a New Hermes ITX engraving machine, also called Engravograph. Mount the thing to be engraved in the vise, clamp a template on the table at the right in the photo, set the pantograph ratio, set the depth-of-engraving controls, start the motor, and engrave by tracing the template with the stylus shown above the table.

The vise will hold anything less than 18 inches wide (any length). So you can, for instance, cut someone's initials into his snow skis. The vise can clamp as wide as 18 inches, has a jack for raising and lowering, and has screw-wheels for setting its position horizontally (fore and aft, left and right).

The templates that one mounts to the table can be anything with grooves for a stylus to follow. Usually they're letters and numbers, available in various sizes and typefaces. A typical alphabet will include, say, four As, 2 Bs, many Es (because E occurs very frequently and you need many of them), etc. But many other templates are available, or you can use the engraving machine to make your own. I own one of these machines, and for instance I made a template for the ARRL diamond logo. I also made @ templates so I could engrave e-mail addresses. These machines predate the Internet.

The actual engraving is done either by a rotating carbide cutter that turns about 15000 rpm (available in many sizes and shapes), or by a non-rotating diamond-pointed stylus. The first is called rotary engraving, and the latter is scratch engraving.

Trophies and such are usually done by scratch engraving, which can be very elegant. Plastic signs, skis, desk nameplates, bowling balls and such are usually done by rotary engraving. Yes, it'll do bowling balls, I think, though a bowling ball may actually be too big for the available vertical adjustment of the vise. I never tried one. I have made many polished brass callsign plaques with large letters cut about 1/32 inch deep. It will engrave almost anything. Plastic, metals (even stainless steel), and even (with special cutters) glass.

The pantograph can be set to any ratio from 2:1 to 7:1, so each set of letter templates (which slide into, and are clamped into, a long holder that is then clamped to the table) can be used for various sizes of engraving.

Unlike the machine in the photo, mine also has a duplicating arm so it can engrave at the same size as the template. This is useful for making more Z templates,. for example, if you need to include the word pizzazz in the text to be engraved.

Living now in a motor home, I have no place to set it up, so my engraving machine feels very lonely riding around in my largest under-floor cargo space, which it fills completely with about twenty different sets of templates tucked around.

These things appear on eBay from time to time. There's one right now, listed at about $9000 which is about 20 times what they usually go for these days, though originally (in the 1970s) they were about $17000 new. Nowadays, commercial engraving shops use CNC machines instead of pantograph machines. CNC machines are more versatile, faster to set up, and a little faster to use. They're also more expensive, and usually can't engrave anything longer than, say, a foot or so.