Engraving Metal?

How do you get a good handle on controlling the height for engraving? I seem to always plunge too deeply even at the minimum setting of .001. Right now I am just testing this on a piece of aluminum with simple shapes. I set the bit to the distance of the thickness of a piece of paper from the project surface and would then zero. There has got to be a more exact way to determine depth that I must be missing.

Thank you for the help in advance.


Sounds like you are using the V-Carving (I only use this for wood) function in carbide Create?

This is what I use on metal: You can also engrave using the contour CAM function. ,

Select the item geometry you want to engrave, select Contour, select your Vee tool, make the depth and depth changes (start off very small at first, and go from there. I hope you are using a tool similar to the second photo.


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Things I’d look at include:

is the material actually level and flat? If there is a point or section that is out of plane, then you will need to fish around for the appropriate surface.

Are you using a good gauging material? Paper is ok to a point, but for the level of precision needed for height control engraving, especially with a cutter with a point, it is likely too soft.

For setting height for this type of work, I usually use feeler stock (soft, not hardened) It is cheap and very, very accurate. I typically use 0.08mm stock, or thereabouts, because it is rigid enough to feel with, but flexible enough to lay to a surface.

The technique is: Set the tool above the work by eye the thickness of the feeler. Then check with the feeler for clearance. The feeler should slide under the tool with drag, but easily. The tip of the bit may lightly scratch the feeler. If there is no drag, bump the tool down 0.01mm. If it doesn’t slide in without hanging, up 0.01mm.

When the feeler is right, you know you are 0.20mm (or the thickness of your feeler) too high, so you can set the Z height.

Check several spots to insure that the surface is level.


@RichCournoyer I am using those exact bits, just coated, and I am using the contour option also. I just cant get a good handle on setting up the height so the bit just barely touches the surface of the material. Even with the minimum setting it goes too deep. Do I just zero it higher than the thickness of a piece of paper to get this to happen?



The material is level and flat. It is not a surface irregularity. Paper might be an issue, I will try the feeler gage and get back to you.


Well at 0.001" depth it can’t go too deep. Please double check to make sure that your Z is at the top of your material. Let me know.

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