Engraving Aluminum

Hello,everyone I am looking to do engraving on aluminum. What bit can be recommended to do a decent job. Browsing online when I think that I have found a bit to purchase, the reviews aren’t positive,or should I purchased some bits and try out.

I have been using those 30° engraving bits that can be found on eBay. They look like half a cone. I have used them on aluminum, brass, marble, plastic, etc. They work real well for me, I don’t have a specific seller that I buy from. The titanium nitride coated versions are supposed to last longer. Anyway, they are very affordable and seem to work real well. I think I might have even used them on glass once.



I have had good luck with Lakeshore Carbide 20 deg. That is the only tool from them that I use, but it leaves a really nice finish. They have a couple versions of this tool, here is the specific tool I use. Part Number: 020ENG14-20DG-SE-BR Give it a try. Price isn’t too bad IMHO for the quality of the cut it produces. Some of the tools from precise bits.com are really good as well.


Do you guys use any cooling fluid on them, or just dry? Just curious if they clog up at all when used dry.

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I have an oil mist fogger spraying veg oil anytime I run aluminum but prior to that I just spritzed the tool with a spray bottle. The engraving depth and chip size are lite, but the actual surface speed on a .020" end is really low even at max RPM (I run around 12K) and chip welding can be an issue. The cut is so shallow is doesn’t ruin the tool but ruins the engraving edge resolution. Just my experience.

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In addition to the rotary tools, I have used a drag engraver with good results.

I forget his name off the top of my head, but he builds battle bots, has a 4x4 Avid set up for aluminum and I think he uses IPA (isopropyl alcohol). I’ll see if I can find the YouTube.

I think this is it. Robert Cowen.

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I liked Robert’s system, especially the idea of using IPA on a machine that you also do woodworking on because it works very well, and it evaporates completely so its mess free. I didn’t want to spend that much for the actual fogbuster brand though, so I made my own from parts off of Amazon for around $40. When using IPA, make sure you are using a dust collector or a fan to keep the fume density low enough to avoind a fire. IPA is fairly flammable if you let the fumes build up.