Spring Loaded Engraving Tools?

I hope to use by X-Carve 1000x1000 to engrave precision sundials on bronze/aluminium sheet. My problem is that all metal sheet material differs slightly in thickness by a few thou and I do not want to pay to have the sheets professionally flattened. So I am considering using a spring loaded engraving tool from 2L inc. The smallest of these has a 1/4 inch shank and run at a max 3000 rpm. As far as I can see, the ER11 collet clamping screw used on the X-Carve can take a 1/4" collet, so it would fit.

So I have three questions.

  1. Has anyone used a 1/4" tool on a standard X-Carve ?
  2. Has anyone tried a spring loaded engraver ?
  3. Is a plate flattening run on hard bronze a realistic option on an X-Carve ?

p.s. I will install Ian Watkins’ anti-MDF board sag modification - which will reduce my problems…

Best regards

consider looking into what is called a “diamond drag” bit. This may be the tree you need to be barking up into.


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That’s a great idea. I will look into that.
But I think I will need tool rotation as well…
Many thanks

I’ve used 1/4" bit in my X-Carve and stock spindle. It went OK, although at the low RPM you’ll be going at it should be fine. The biggest issue I had was that the bit stuck out to far which caused run out (tons of vibration), but again I was running 14000 RPM.

I’m might give it another go though since I’ve really dialed in my machine setting, maybe I’ll get better results.

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Thanks, Rusty
That is a great help

No problem, hope you get it all sorted out!

Have you looked at CNC-Aid.com?
They sell a Complete CNC Engraving kit that can run very high RPM.
Maybe worth a look.

Thanks for that most useful advice. I have just ordered that. I had been looking at a much more expensive & bigger Spring loade device. This is more suitably sized for the XCarve and runs st higher speeds

Best wishes

@KevinKarney did you end up ordering this? I cam across this thread and it has me intrigued. I want one but thought I’d check with you to gauge your experience first. Thanks!

  • Matt

Can anyone inform me what setting to use for the CNC-Aid spring loaded engraver on the X-Carve? when it start I have it at 0.2mm deep on a 50.8mm by 25.4mm piece that is 1.5mm thick and it starts cutting in one spot until it is all the way through. I am just trying out these bit making some jug line tags before I try to engrave some more important stuff. Thanks in advance for any help.

My rather limited use of CNC Aid is that you have to adjust the depth of the engraving cut by varying the speed of x/y movement. Hence, the faster the tool moves across the workpiece the shallower the engraving. You have to deduce the appropriate speed by trial-and-error on a piece of scrap material. This is OK if you are just engraving straight lines, but the software actually moves the tool more slowly when negotiating tight curves, hence it engraves more deeply. I have not tried the tool enough to know how to get around this.
I bought the relatively cheap CNC Aid to avoid paying for the MUCH more expensive spring loaded tool from
This has a collar the allows depth control

Sorry not to be more positive

thank you for the info.