Engraving - thin lines

What is the finest engraving any of you have accomplished so far?

I got a set of small 1/8" V-bits with 10 - 45 deg. angles. Would be interesting to see what the finest/narrowest line art is you could reliably carve into i.e. a black coated piece of MDF without breaking the bit or missing the surface.

What settings would you use? I.e. 30Deg. Vbit at 1mm depth creates nn mm wide line.

This starts sounding dirty when I think it out before typing. Size doesn’t matter in this case. Accuracy is the key. How accurately you can repeatably plunge.

Is like eating a bowl of cereal with a baby spoon. You’re taking small bites but you still have to get the spoon in the bowl.

If your Z depth is off your V carves will go badly.

Horrible pun but, proof is in the pudding!

Give it a whirl and tell us what you get.

Hopefully small wood chips.

Thank you

Haha, I’ll give it a try this weekend.

It’s a bit like shooting sparrows with a cannon.

Just wondering if anybody has done this before?

I dug this out for you -

Thanks, Bee. I’ve done several v carvings with the maslow and 90Deg and 60Deg V-bits, and it’s worked ok.
This new question is not about the chiseled look and variable Z axis depth, but how thin of a line I could make with these very pointy tools.
Does not look like that’s been done already on a maslow.
I’ll run a series of test cuts, i.e. 10deg .1mm, .2mm, .3mm; 20deg .1mm, .2mm, …
What I’d like to see is the actual line thickness of the groove I’m cutting.
Hope to get some results this weekend.

In the end i’d like to make a bunch of small pendants with small writing (think dog tags), so I’d like to see what tool can do that sort of engraving on the maslow, rather than buy a laser cutter.

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I’ve used 1/8" shank engravers to a good level of success. SO far, I’ve liked what I’ve been able to achieve with 60* tools. The top two Maslow logos in the picture below were cut with one:

I hadn’t quite figured out my Fusion 360 workflow for engraving yet, so I’m not entirely sure what my baseline DoC was. I think that it was 0.125" (3.175mm), but I’m not 100% certain on that.


Thanks, Maynard, that’s the kind of thing I’m looking for.

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for other viewers I’ll link here:

I believe this is what we are talking about?

Thank you


@Bee: Yes, I used that style of bit for the top two engravings in that picture. Specifically, I used these bits and they’ve worked well for me. I bought a variety of tip angles to test out, and so far I’ve liked the 60 degree the most myself. It really depends on what you’re going for, though.


Can you link us to the bits you are going to Test?

Thank you

These are the bits I’m going to use:


I use a 1/16" ball carbide endmill with 1/8" shaft for all my engraving. Done at least 2,000 parts, and it hasn’t broken yet. You can set the depth at .004" to get a nice Only .007" wide line.20190728_154826


Wow beautiful piece of work! Can you post a picture of the Maslow engraving it?

Thanks! Just sharing some experience I have had with engraving. I am here because I made a spindle mount for a Maslow user using a bigger machine I have in my garage… a Mori Seiki TV-30.


That looks great! Unfortunately, that seems a bit beyond my Maslow abilities. Even at .5mm it is not super reliably connecting with the workpiece. Might be also an issue of the sled or Work surface being less than 100% flat

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You could give it a try. The bits are less than $10 on Ebay. My junior college teacher was surprised it worked. You could get an HSS bit if you are just cutting wood, but they are probably the same price. Though, HSS tends to have a sharper edge. I use 3 flute, but 2 flute might be better for wood. I only cut Aluminum and acrylic.

I broke several pointed engraving bits before I tried a ball end mill.


So I ran a test with those 4 V Bits, And the main result is that:

  • none of the bits broke, even carving 2mm into the MDF
  • make sure the work surface is flat, no burs, screws or anything that can get between the sled and the carving surface
  • it’s difficult to zero a bit to within a tenth of a millimeter, will have to look into using a probe to zero out electronically. I only used the paper method. For fine engraving, the machine is capable of. 0.04mm, but the only way to tune it is by making test lines by manually jogging the machine.
  • I used Fusion 360 and did 2D traces of single line fonts with an axial offset for 1 mm, 1.5 mm and 2 mm
    Unfortunately the offset also impacts the retract height, so I ended up connecting the letters with a really thin .04mm line.

Anyway here are the results:


Originally, I had wanted to carve .1mm, .5mm and 1mm, so that’s why you see the lowest two lines for 30Deg with different numbers. But it failed for. 5mm already, so I stopped it and switched the rest of the test to 1/1.5/2mm. Sorry for the confusion.

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Amazing! Much better than i thought it could be. Thanks!

awesome test!