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Sam's Engraving Equipment

I have a couple of fully equipped benches with more tools than I can list, but the ones showcased below are the main ones that get daily use.



I've been using GRS engraving tools exclusively since 1989. Today my tool of choice is the GRS GraverMach AT. Simply put, this is the most advanced engraving system in the world. Its stroke speeds range from 400 to 8000 strokes per minute, and it affords the user the ultimate in fine control. The GraverMach AT can reduce the engraving learning curve by 90% over hand-push methods, making it possible for anyone to cut designs after a short period of practice. The "AT" stands for Airtact, a feature which allows the user to engrave with palm actuation of the handpiece. With the flip of a switch you can easily toggle from foot pedal to palm in an instant. For my work this is an extremely valuable feature as I do most of my engraving in Airtact mode but switch to foot pedal when doing background stippling or sculpting. I've been using the Airtact feature for several years now and love it.

For years I suffered with noisy air compressors. I tried locating them to another part of my workshop and even put them in a different room and ran the air hose to my bench. While this helped, the other room was a large part of my workshop that wasn't air conditioned, and the build-up of moisture in the line was a constant problem as the warm air entered the cool room where I worked. To make a long story short, I purchased a SilentAir Val-Air silent air compressor and have never been happier. It will operate 2 GraverMachs without trouble, and is extremely quiet. About the only noise you hear is a click when it turns on. This is the perfect compressor for apartments or where noise is an issue. You can certainly use less expensive compressors if you can locate them to a place to minimize noise. If that's not possible, then the Val-Air is the solution. I have no regrets with this compressor other than I wish I had purchased one sooner. Mine has been in daily use for over 7 years without any problems whatsoever.

I'm using the Meiji EMZ-5 stereo zoom microscope. When equipped with the GRS Acrobat stand, you have a bright, clear, image with approximately 5x to 20x zoom range. The Meiji scope is made in Japan, and is a very high quality microscope that has become the standard of the industry for hand engravers.

I also have a Zeiss Stemi 2000 scope. They are great microscopes and deliver the quality of image and brightness you expect from one of the world's greatest optics makers. The down side is that they are extremely expensive, and probably tripple the price of the Meiji system.

I will caution you about one thing, and that is a microscope purchase is no place to cut corners. You wouldn't buy cheap eyeglasses that weren't clear and sharp in order to save money, and the same should be true with microscopes. The quality of the Chinese knock-offs is notoriously unpredictable and your eyes deserve better. Invest in a Meiji and you'll never regret it.


It all starts here. Without properly sharpened tools you get nowhere fast. The Dual Angle Sharpening System allows you to sharpen nearly ever conceivable graver geometry known to man. The PowerHone's slow RPM assures that gravers will not overheat and lose temper, and the diamond and ceramic laps sharpen with extreme precision. Simply dial-in the angles and sharpen. It's fast and easy. Check out my DVD on graver sharpening with this system.
The GRS 901 is my workhorse handpiece. I use this handpiece for probably 95% of my work. It has a broad power range and can do everything from light shading to heavy relief engraving or stone setting. The QuickChange tool holders make changing gravers very fast. The one illustrated here has the black rubber Airtact touch element for using palm actuation. It also comes in a non-Airtact version for those who use a foot pedal exclusively.