Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I purchased a Zeiss from ebay. The scope has a light on it, but no power supply. What light should I look for?
A: The only thing I use the internal bore light in the Zeiss OPMI1 scope for is looking into the bores of the AirGravers to aid in assembly. That light is not necessary for engraving. I use a 100watt bulb in a desk lamp approximately 8 inches from the work. It is placed on the opposite side of where my hand comes into the picture; about the 10:00 or 11:00 position, if you are right handed. I used to use two spot lights as well as a home-made ring incandescent light, and they work too, but it seems easier just to use the desk lamp with the 100 watt bulb.
Q: How is stipple dot or bulino engraving done?
A: When stippling scenes with the AirGraver, I don't use the foot throttle. Instead, use the needle valve that sets the idle by turning it up. In other words, keep your foot off the throttle, and use the needle valve for the throttle. Set the length of stroke ring on the handpiece so that approx 2/3 of the first exhaust hole is open and turn the idle up so it impacts continually and as hard as needed. I use the tool like this for the rougher areas of a scene. Try different combinations of the length of stroke setting on the handpiece and the air pressure to the tool from the needle valve for different dot settings. For the detail around the eyes of an animal, I place the dots in one at a time by hand without the AirGraver. I use a point sharpened like a needle, or a 90 degree square graver without any heel.
You can use the AirGraver for making larger dots for background work, or finer dots for scenes. To set the tool for larger dots, increase the stroke distance so more of the exhaust holes are exposed, and increase the air pressure to the tool with the needle valve, or by just using the foot pedal. Hold the punch loosely off the surface, and move it around quickly within a small area to produce the random dots. More info about bulino
Q: What do you use to get the black color in the engraving and background?
A: I'm using a product called "Background Antique" from the jewelry supply catalog, Gesswein.com Here is a link to it. It is a flat black lacquer paint. Paint it over the engraving with a brush, and while it is still wet, quickly wipe off the surface of the engraving with a paper with a texture like newspaper. I use this paint in the deeper cuts and background. For fine shading cuts use an oil base printers ink. Smear or dab this into the fine cuts with a finger, then wipe off the surface with the same type of paper. If the metal has a nice polish, wipe only in the direction of the final polish.