Interested in making name necklace

I tried to search there’s like only one post is a Nomad 3 and name necklace…

I already own a CNC a Shapeoko 3 XXL a Fiber Laser and three 3-D printers…so I have some experience.

But I see name necklaces, in colors like rose gold, gold but I’m not sure what they’re making them out of like what type of metal… maybe stainless steel? colored brass I’m not sure?

Is nomad 3 capable of cutting stainless steel for name necklaces or even truss rod covers on a guitar like a fiber laser can do?

I ordered a nomad 3 yesterday but now I’m questioning it of course so be kind… everybody’s been out of them except one place and I got the last one… apparently till the end of September…

Material list doesn’t list anything other than aluminum and sterling silver…

For steel see:


for steel and other materials see:

All the parts you describe have been cut on Nomads, so please don’t fret on that account.

There was a bit of discussion on this specific topic at:

(but unfortunately no images of finished work)

Here was one design done in brass:

and another:

If you have an example in mind I’d be willing to try it out. I’ve got a pretty well stocked tool and material library so a quick test shouldn’t be an issue.

As for the materials that a lot of those super cheap tags are made out of, I’d guess they’re just laser etched and then plated.

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This is what I am thinking of Simple Sterling Silver Necklace Ideas on a CNC - #MaterialMonday - YouTube

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The Nomad is for cutting fine stuff. It is not designed for stainless but people cut on stainless. The key to cutting hard materials is light cuts and you can get through. If you are going to go into production on stainless the Nomad would not work as well as some others. Your Shapeoko can cut just about as well as the Nomad but the Nomad is for intricate work and many jewelers use them. Sterling silver is relatively soft. Brass is soft but even if you cover it with lacquer it will turn skin green. Brass is great for other things but not so much for jewelry. The real drawback for a Nomad is the cutting area. So if you are only going to cut small things they are great. The Shapeoko standard is much bigger cutting area than a Nomad. So with both you get the best of both worlds.

I thought the Shapeoko 3 XXL was not good for such small item such as a name necklace… Simple Sterling Silver Necklace Ideas on a CNC - #MaterialMonday - YouTube

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Ive been making some text necklaces with my pro xl and they’re turning out pretty well. These have been made from alumnuim, wanted test a few ideas before trying them out with more expensive material. Dont let anyone tell you the shapeoko isnt capable of small scale work :slight_smile:


This little keychain tag was made on my SO3 XXL. The XXL can do small stuff, you just have to go light to keep belt stretch to a minimum.


Wow that is awesome! how thick was that aluminum? and what bit did you use? can you give me the speed and feed doc rates? Well it turned out that my Nomad 3 i had on order was not in stock so i got a refund1 now that i know i can do it on my XXL…thanks to you this is great!

Thats impressive! what do you mean by Go Light, easy and slow? what type of metal was that? did it do teh engraving also on that piece? Thanks!

The material was 6061 aluminum. I used an 0.0100" or 0.0120" (I can’t remember) end mill to cut the lettering. Here’s an 0.0118" that would work as well. I went (comparatively) really slow, like 8 or 10 IPM, and took 2 passes at 0.0075" DOC at 18K RPM. I used 99% IPA for lubricant, and just used this bottle to spray the IPA on the work piece periodically. It has a very fine stream and blasts away cuttings, but doesn’t use a lot of fluid to do it.

What you want to do is absolutely doable with the shapeoko. I used the 1/32’ bit from C3D at 10000 rpm, .004 doc and 10 ipm feed rate. That’s pretty conservative and in all likely hood i could push those numbers a bit further but since I found it to be working well, i didn’t mess around too much. What made all the difference for me in terms of cut quality was to cut using offset geometry. Basically you select your design then create an outside offset of your endmill diameter plus 10%. So for the 1/32 you’re looking at creating an out side off set of .03125 + .003125 = offset of .034375. Sounds a little confusing but it’s really simple. Then you select everything and apply a pocket tool path down to tab depth or there abouts. Then for your final cut out, select your original design geometry and apply a outside contour tool path. I ran my aluminum necklace pieces through a rotary tumbler with some stainless steel shot for a couple of hours to make them really shiny, it’s amazing how close they end up looking like sterling silver. Hope that helps!

did you use lubricant?

Yeah, I added a couple of drops of wd40 after every couple of passes. I also used a little compressed air just to make sure I keep the cut channels as clear of chips as possible.

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can you send me pics of one done when its shiny show how? I’m really on the fence about the nomad 3 now seems like i am duplicating it when i already have a shapeoko 3 XXL

do you also own a Nomad 3?

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The few examples i posted were polished in a rotary tumbler with a couple of tbs of dish soap and a couple of pounds of stainless steel shot. Check out this video, it should give you an idea of how it works.

Art Jewelry - Using a Tumbler to Polish Metal - YouTube

If you haven’t already seen it, have a look at this video doing a small engraving job with both the shapeoko pro and nomad. I know you have the S3 but im sure with the right feeds/speeds you could achieve similar results.

NOMAD v Shapeoko - Drag Engraving Smackdown - YouTube


If you plan on doing work this small more than occasionally, I would get the Nomad. When I did that keychain medallion for a friend, it was more of a challenge to do it than a smart business opportunity (I didn’t charge for it, and had to redo it because I dorked it the first time).

Yes, I was able to do it with my XXL, but no, I would never want to do it more than once or twice a year. I even found out I had extra play in my X belt when cutting it. If you look at the letters where the red arrows are pointing (and other places), you can see where the letters are wider than they should be.

The top of the “C” is messed up because I tried using the blue poly tape (made for masking powdercoat), and apparently, the CA glue did not fully set like it usually does when I use blue painters tape, and the IPA I was hosing everywhere got under there and the piece broke free right at the end of the cutting, which was the “C”, so the medallion started wandering around the bit on that last part. My friend said it looked fine, and to not make another one (this was the second time with issues on the second side of the two sided medallion).

He wanted it to have a matte / satin finish, so I buffed it a bit, then hit it with steel wool and then used a Markal Lacquer Stik to blacken the engraving. This pic does not have the lacquer filled in, this is just before I did that.

So, short answer, yes the XXL can do it, but it can do it like my Toyota Corolla can do 100MPH (160KPH). It can do it, but there are better options when I need to go fast.

Don’t get me wrong - I love my XXL, but the things I do with it are 70% cribbage boards, 18% other game boards, 10% 16" x 16" MDF molds for stepping stones and 2% off the wall stuff like this - just to see if I can do it…


Yeah, I’ve only ever used the Nomad 3 to be completely honest.
Most of the work I do is relatively small and in various types of metal. (Copper is a nightmare but aluminum, brass, zinc are all quick and easy enough)
I also use a fair amount of wax for prototyping, no jewelry wax yet but plenty of other folks have.
Unfortunately I can’t speak to materials like stainless…yet.

My cutters range in size from ~0.5mm to 1.5mm. The relatively high rpm (24000) is greatly appreciated when using tooling this small.

Any of the larger work i do would likely be better served by your shapeoko. (1/4" tooling through acrylic for example)

The workflow for the nomad with the integrated tool length probe and the well lit enclosure is really quite good. Especially once I’ve got a jig made for a project I’m going to repeat a number of times. It’s just a pleasure to use, which is one of the highest compliments I can give a tool.

I can say fairly confidently that the Nomad 3 was, and still is, the best purchase for me given all of the options.
I really want a fiber laser as well but that’s mostly for deeper etching of very fine text. Most of the work would be done on the Nomad before finishing on a laser.

For you it’s hard to say. Many of the items you’ve mentioned might be better served by a little fiber laser cutter and a tumbler to finish.
If you’re looking to do more than 2 dimensional geometry in fine detail, the Nomad sounds like a good choice to me.

As for the shapeoko vs nomad debate, it comes down to time, patience, and experience.
I’ve seen folks do incredible things with their shapeoko. I’ve done incredible things with my Nomad.
The difference is that they’ve usually got a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience backing them. Conversely, I’m just a hobbyist in my garage with YouTube and a subscription to provencut to guide me.
Having a tool form fit for the task at hand has not just made some of the work I want to do easier… in many cases it’s made it possible (for someone of my experience) :slightly_smiling_face:

I know that feeling you’ve got right now, deciding what tool to add next. Weighing the value of the capabilities it brings to the table compared to what you can already do. I don’t envy that feeling but hopefully in this wall of text you can find some insight to make that decision easier, one way or another.