Diamond Tip Drag on Pewter?

Hi all, I am interested in using a springloaded diamond drag tip engraver on the pewter pieces I’ve made. Seems people have said that pewter/tin is too brittle to machine, but I haven’t seen any examples online of people using a diamond drag.

Just fishing for any insight before I spend on the bit. Anyone try this or can guess if it would work well?

Looking to getting a cheaper one first:

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If I had a tin plate on hand I would try that for you, but I am fairly confident that it would work perfectly anyway (I did copper, brass and silver with no issues). A diamond drag bit is basically just scratching the surface [of anything], no reason why it would not work on tin (unless someone has evidence otherwise). It comes at a price, and if I were you I would invest in a decent one from the start. All DDBs will work, but the key is how much/little lateral slop they have due to the spring mechanism.


Any particular brand you would recommend?

I bought mine locally (in Europe) so that wouldn’t help (that, and… I can’t remember where I bought it), but @MadHatter and @ClayJar are the kings of DDBs around here, check out this old thread or ask them?

I bought my DDE bit holder and original sets of bits (60, 75, 90, 120 degree) from a company that went under, and I have purchased some replacement bits from AliExpress, but have not put them through their paces yet. It is too cold in my shed and I am a baby and don’t want to be out there in 30-40F weather.

Sorry for all the words that amount to [shoulder shrug] but I don’t have a recommendation for a tool under $100.

I would recommend finding a tool that accepts 3mm or 1/8" (3.125mm) shank bits, because AliExpress has lots of DDE bits in those sizes under $10/ea. I think the ones I bought were ~$6.00 - $8.00 each. They just take 3 weeks to get here. My holder takes 1/8" shank bits, so I just cut the ones from AliExpress down to the correct length with a Dremel and put them in and hold them in place with a 1/8" cylindrical magnet in the holder instead of the shoulder the original ones had.

I think I might have posted about it. I know I took pics. Let me see what I can find.

I think I ordered mine from them on ebay a few years back… Super happy with it and for $50 its hard to complain. I think I have the 90° tip if I remember correctly.

As far as engraving on pewter, not sure but dont see why it wouldnt work like others have said.

@wearviral my DDB works on glass (which is pretty fragile) without any issues. I do tend to keep pressures low and opt for multiple passes rather than the “all-in-one-go” method. My best guess is that you should have Ø issues with pewter using normal caution.


@madhtter would it happen to be the Benchtop precision line you got? I saw it in the Winston Moy video, was bummed when I couldn’t find it anymore https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIp1zSIck9M

But I don’t mind going between 100-200 range for something that would work better.

@Winters636, is this the one you bought on ebay? RDZ brand seems to be the same as the one on Amazon I posted

I think that is the one, i bought mine a few years ago for $49 on ebay. Guessing its the same place. I remember it being made in US in a cnc shop like they describe

Pretty sure that’s the same one I have, works good. I’ve only ever used it on acrylic, but don’t see why it wouldn’t work on anything that’s not harder than diamonds :wink:



@wearviral, yes that is the one I have.

It loooks like a scaled down version of a tap spring center guide, with the center pin replaced with the DDE bit. If you could find a tap center guide with a 1/4" body, you might be able to use that.

I bought one from https://engravingbit.com. made in usa. I have used it on Acrylic and mild steel. And I believe it is under $100 and they sell different tips for use in the same shank.

I think the 3/8" shank eliminates a lot of people with the stock router and ER-11 collets, but a great deal if you can fit it on your machine.

BTW, what is the diameter of the diamond insert on yours?

Good point.

A 3/8" collet is available for the Makita (should also fit the Carbide Compact Router), see: https://www.makitatools.com/products/details/763619-3 [9] https://www.toolmarts.com/makita-763619-3-3-8-collet-for-3608b

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I’ve been shopping around. I only really saw 3-4 options on the market, most shared here.

There’s the really high end 2linc $349 or widgetworks $179 (didn’t see great reviews on this).

The RDZ one looks okay at $55, seems people have used it here.

The one I’m looking at now is the CNC-Aid.com that seems to have a nicer holder for $89. They only sell 120 degree diamond tip, but the holder appreantly fits any 1/8 inch. Anyone heard of them?

This is the one I have purchased on E-Bay and I have successfully engraved aluminum, granite, mirror glass and several other materials. The holder fits in the 1/4in collet and the bits are 1/8in.


The bit I purchased is a 1/4" shank with replaceable bits. A good question. I asked their tech support the same question and they said it was really dependent on the softness of the material and pressure put on the tip. Makes sense. But that did not really help me with entering settings. I will check when I get home and pass them along. I want to say in the engraving tool path In Vcarve pro I use .0002 with a step over of .0001. That tool path allows you to set the diameter and step over rather than use the tool database settings. I engraved an AR-15 ejection port cover for a friend and to my surprise, it did a nice job.

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Should work fine on pewter, but it would depend on the material. You may need a couple of passes if it is way soft.

Ok I got the decimal in the wrong place. Line width in the tool settings is .002 with .001 step over. The tool path is set to .002 with .002 step over and depth/pressure is set to .04. I forgot to answer the bit diameter. The diamond tip is fixed onto a 1/8th inch stem that fits into the 1/4 inch shank. There is no discern-able play. I run it at 50 ipm. You could go faster but might want to up the pressure to account for any deflection. I played with the line width a good bit and this is what I settled on. Hope that helps.

@luc.onthego - The listing for this bit says “IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE, THAT YOU SHOULD NOT RUN THE SPINDLE WHILE YOU ARE ENGRAVING.” Do you leave your spindle off and just drag to engrave?

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