Top loading engraving tools, also called cutters, are generally marked on top of the brass collar (keep in mind that they are reverse thread) with letters and numbers. The letters signify what material or process they are for. The numbers are the width of the tip.
1) FLX is for flexible materiel – engraver’s plastic, wood, etc. (basically anything that is not metal, glass, or stone).
2) ACR is specifically for acrylic products.
3) BAL is for deep engraving brass and aluminum.
4) SSS is for deep engraving steel and stainless steel.
5) NRD (non-rotating diamond) is for diamond drag or “scratch engraving” on metal only. This is great for a permanent mark in metal but not much depth is needed. This is typically what is used for trophy plates.
6) RD (rotating diamond) is for engraving glass and crystal. The RDs are marked also on the shank near the tip so you can identify the tool when the brass collar is replaced with the EZ rider adapter.
7) BRN is for burnishing on metal only. Good for getting thru powder coating or needing just a little more depth and width than what diamond drag does.
8) CTBV is for cutter/beveler – cut through tool for engraver’s plastic that gives a straight down cut while rounding the top edge of the material (cutting out signs, tags, put mounting holes in tags and signs). These are not always marked with letters, sometimes they only have 1/16 and .060 on the brass collar—1/16 refers to the thickness of the material it can cut thru and .060 refers to the diameter of the tip of the tool. *** if the cutter/beveler doesn’t have CTBV or at least CB- you may want to mark it with CB using a fine tip Sharpie to make it easier to identify.***
9) PAR is for parallel cutter – cut through tool for engraver’s plastic that gives a straight cut edge (cutting out signs, tags, put mounting holes in tags and signs). Hopefully this helps, check back next month for another Quick Tip and check out our archives.