Machine Mimics Hand Engravings

Oct. 13, 2009
Hand-Engraving Machine

A new machine developed by Artesà in Barcelona, Spain, is capable of mimicking the craftsmanship of hand-engraving on products ranging from jewelry to cell phones.

"The Artesà machine has the ability to reproduce a high-quality, hand-like engraving," says Leonardo Di Benedetto, the machine's developer. "In hand-engraving, the artisan performs a downward and upward movement with the chisel each time a cut is made in the surface of the object being engraved. The Artesà's engraved line has a curvilinear or open polygonal trajectory in the vertical plane achieved with non-rotating cutting tools, which give the brightness and beauty characteristic of these engravings."

The Artesà ( consists of a table with a bed frame that firmly holds the material to be engraved. Just above the table is the spindle-mounted, engraving tool head which includes a laser pointer and three carbide inserts with 35°, 90° and 135° corner-cutting edges. To control the complex and precise X, Y and Z movements of the Artesà tool head with carbide inserts, Di Benedetto specified a DMC-2143 four-axis Ethernet motion controller from Galil Motion Control, including the SDM-20240 for driving the four stepper motors. "With the help of the motion controller, it can reproduce engravings identically," he says.

In addition to the three degrees of freedom, the Galil controller also controls the critical PT (line depth) and SV (vector tracing) axes. The PT axis is designed to gradually move the cutting tool downward on a vertical plane so it can cut into the material to a desired depth doing the descending part of the curve and then upward to the material surface cutting the ascending part of the curve. The SV axis manages the 360º motion of the cutting tool, making sure the cutting edge always faces in the pre-programmed direction to effectively trace the vector being engraved and do so with a positioning accuracy of 0.1 mm/300 mm that is repeatable to 0.02 mm under no-load conditions.

View a video of the Artesà machine in action at