Where can I find the material to do this kind of carve?

Nearly got my X-carve assembled and the first carve I want do is to carve a memorial plaque for a friend who recently passed on. It’s going to end up in a public place and it needs to look like the bronze example in the photo below. So I’m wondering where I can find the right material for a carve such as this? The metals available from Inventables all seem to be intended for laser engraving and not rotary cutting.


Brass / Bronze signs such as this are often done by acid etching, or blasting. You could do this on a cnc machine, but the time would be fairly long to remove all the material. Brass is pretty soft, I’ve done a few tags using it. Depending on how thick you want the piece, I’d check around for “Plate Stock” in the material you want.

However, to give you an idea on time, I did a brass kick plate for a door. using single flute 1/8th inch bit at a DOC of .015. Dewalt set on 1 using WD-40 as coolant.

Hopefully someone else with far more metal experience can chime in with some advice as well.

I have seen people doing aced etching. Painting the metal and using the CNC to carve away the paint, then putting the plate in a chemical bath to etch the exposed metal.

Another option is to carve it in jewelers wax (wax made to be CNC carved) then taking that to a foundry to be cast in bronze. (I think that is how many of these plaques are made)

Or as an alternative, one user has had very good results carving marble tiles for pet memorials (should be a tread on her somewhere).

This looks like a project that you would carve a mold for and then pour in your molten metal.

Well I could achieve a pretty similar effect by laser engraving the letters on some of the materails sold by Inventables. But I couldn’t get raised letters that way. To get the raised letters it would appear that what I need is a plate of brass or bronze with a black substrate underneath it so that I could carve away the metal around the letters leaving them raised above the substrate surface.

Using acid etching or pouring molten metal are beyond my skills and means. And I don’t think there’s a foundry within 50 miles of here. Maybe Shapeways could do it for god-knows-how-many-$$$ but I’d still rather figure out a way to do it on my X-carve.

You can do this with precision foam (it’s a very high density machining foam) then just use black and a metallic gold paint. Depends on your finishing skills

Thanks for the suggestion, Brian, but I don’t think I can use paint. This piece needs to be of the same sort of actual metal as the other memorials and it needs to be resistant to the weather because it will be permanently outdoors.

I’m somewhat constrained by the requirements of the memorial park because they require that it be similar to what’s already there.

Get a brass/bronze plate and carve it down, carve the texture into it (assuming you want the texture and have software able to do it), paint, sand down the raised part to remove paint. Would that work? Haven’t tried anything like that before so I don’t know how well that would work.

I don’t care about the texture. Perhaps if I got a 1/4" thick brass plate and carved it out around the letters 1/8" deep. Then maybe put a resist coating of some sort over the letters and electroplate the rest of the plate with something like silver which would tarnish black?