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Posted: 4/5/2011 1:58:24 AM EDT
Just wondering if anyone has done the engraving for their Form 1 SBR with a dremel, punches, etc?  If so, please post some pics and details on how you engraved the lower.
Link Posted: 4/5/2011 2:40:43 AM EDT
I used an engraving pen then covered it in black sticker type tape. Looks like crap but I shoot my guns they are not show pieces.
Link Posted: 4/5/2011 3:53:35 AM EDT


i've done 6 AR's, a couple shotguns, a few AK's, and a random bunch of other guns, all with the little dremel vibratory engraver. in fact, i've only paid to have one firearm engraved. the early ones, and the ones i didn't care much about, all came out looking like i scratched my info in with an old nail. the later ones and the stuff i took my time on came out good enough where, if you aren't looking for it, you wouldn't know it wasn't factory info.

here are a few things i've learned about engraving with a vibratory tool:

1) get a little scrap piece of metal and practice, practice, practice before you do it on the gun. you'll be surprised how much better it looks after doing it a few times, even if you've engraved firearms before. practicing on a scrap piece helps you get aquainted, or reaquainted, with the "feel".

2) lay out the engraving on the firearm in pencil or something first. that way you can adjust the size and spacing to what you want before actually starting, and it's easy to just trace over what you've penciled in with the tool. i've done a couple by the seat of my pants, and it's easy to misjudge the spacing and run out of room...

3) parkerized steel parts, like a barrel or a shotgun receiver, seem fairly easy to engrave since the feel is consistent. anodized aluminum is a distant second, which brings me to my next point...

4) the anodizing is fairly hard, but the aluminum under it is soft. this makes for a "grabby" and inconsistent feel. the one trick i've found that helps mitigate this is to dull the tool prior to use. the moderately dull tool seems to "hammer" the letters in from the surface, which makes rounding corners or changing directions (like the letter "S" for example) much easier. the sharp tool cuts through the surface and digs in and tends to hate being forced in certain directions.

5) try to get your depth right the first time. the engraving doesn't need to be all that deep by law. in fact, if you are engraving an AR receiver, if you can see bare aluminum where you've engraved, you are probably already plenty deep. it's not difficult to get deep enough, but i found i was being hesitant on the first ones i did, and some of the letters were barely scratched on to the surface. the issue here is that it is VERY difficult to retrace your letters. if you have to go over the same one a few times, it's easy to end up with a jumbled mess...

6) make sure you actually have access [with the tool] to the area you intend to engrave. it sucks to get 1/2 way in and find out that the little tabs for the trigger guard are blocking you, making you do several letters from a funny angle...

7) have a good fine stone handy for deburring after the fact. the engraving kicks up burred edges around the letters which will need to be taken off. the easiest way i've found to do this is by gently rubbing over the engraving with a really fine stone. you may find something that works better. i suspect a light rub with a scotchbrite pad would work just fine as well.

lastly, keep in mind you can always letter stamp too. a stamp set is cheap and available, but stamping has its' own drawbacks as well. the material being stamped needs to be supported from the back, it's difficult to get the letters spaced and aligned correctly as your view of the area is blocked when you put the stamp down, letters usually come out different depths, and you may not be able to get stamps into certain areas you can engrave. if done carefully either method can and will yield really good results. if you rush and don't pay any mind, either method will yield total shit.

Link Posted: 4/5/2011 9:26:01 AM EDT
We have a dot-peening machine where I work.  I did my first SBR engraving myself.  I practiced on scrap metal to set size, depth, etc.  When it came time to do the lower, I didn't have a good method to clamp the lower in place, so I held it.  The engraving looks like dookie because it moved while I was holding it.  I had to re-engrave over the old one, as it was too light and crooked to the point the peener walked off the edge of the lower.  I re-blackened with Birchwood Casey's Aluma Black.  Sorry, no close up pictures.  The rifle shoots fantastic, and I will probably never sell it because I love it, and I'm sure someone would have something to say about the engraving.

For my second SBR, I sent my lower to Orion Arms.  I'm hoping for better results.  My advice - pay the $50 - $80 and have a professional do it.  YMMV
Link Posted: 4/5/2011 10:35:48 AM EDT



Quoted:




For my second SBR, I sent my lower to Orion Arms.  I'm hoping for better results.  My advice - pay the $50 - $80 and have a professional do it.  YMMV


The cost is not an issue.  I am thinking more along the lines that I will never sell it since it will have my name on it.  So, I would like to make it truly my SBR.  I do not have the tools nor the skill to complete an 80% lower so this is the next best for me.......



 
Link Posted: 4/5/2011 1:35:46 PM EDT
I'll try to get some pics up for you, but I just used a Craftsman engraving pen from Sears for like $30.  I just typed what I need and got the spacing right the taped it over the spot and traced through the letters.  It turned out pretty well.  I also filled it in with a grease pencil to get the black coloring and smooth the look out a little bit.

I agree with wanting to do it yourself.  Since I had built the rest of the rifle I thought it would be cool to do the engraving as well.
Link Posted: 4/5/2011 2:30:42 PM EDT
A buddy of mine self engraved his cav arms lower - It looks like a 4 year old did it.  I rag him every time I see him over it.  Had all 5 of my SBRs engraved by a guy who specializes in NFA stuff.  I knew if I tried it that it would end up looking like a 3 year old did it.
Link Posted: 4/5/2011 3:27:08 PM EDT
does anyone have a pic of a self engraved SBR to share?
Link Posted: 4/6/2011 7:50:23 AM EDT
Quoted:
does anyone have a pic of a self engraved SBR to share?


i haven't been able to afford a camera since i got into NFA.


Link Posted: 4/6/2011 2:52:53 PM EDT
Im curiouse as to how the punchs work to because I have access to a full set at work. Pics would be great to see if anyone has any.

ETA: Im a little woried about how the anodizing will act to that much force though.
Link Posted: 4/7/2011 3:37:01 AM EDT
Quoted:
Im curiouse as to how the punchs work to because I have access to a full set at work. Pics would be great to see if anyone has any.

ETA: Im a little woried about how the anodizing will act to that much force though.


the punches work well, but it is CRITICAL that the material being stamped is supported. if not you can end up bending or cracking your receiver.

once supported correctly, the issues with letter stamps are that the letters are difficult to align and space evenly as the punch itself obscures your view of what you are doing. you end up with funny distances between letters, twisted letters, or letters that are higher or lower than adjacent letters. as with engraving thought, when you've done it a few times, you can get pretty good at it.

a while back i had looked into getting a custom letter stamp made. there are quite a few companies out there that will make you a stamp that'll say exactly what you want, in the font and style you want, in the size and layout you want, all contained in one piece. seemed like a good idea to me, except they were a little pricey (between 200 and 300 dollars), and i was thinking about moving at that time. if you have access to a press and aren't planning on changing your city or state anytime soon, and you think you might do more than a few guns, this becomes a very good option.

as far as how the anodizing will react... tough to tell. i've stamped aluminum parts with correct type III anodizing parts in the past with no problems. i've read about others getting their lowers stamped (or engraved too) and having th anodizing chip around the letters.


Link Posted: 4/7/2011 3:41:31 PM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
Im curiouse as to how the punchs work to because I have access to a full set at work. Pics would be great to see if anyone has any.

ETA: Im a little woried about how the anodizing will act to that much force though.


the punches work well, but it is CRITICAL that the material being stamped is supported. if not you can end up bending or cracking your receiver.

once supported correctly, the issues with letter stamps are that the letters are difficult to align and space evenly as the punch itself obscures your view of what you are doing. you end up with funny distances between letters, twisted letters, or letters that are higher or lower than adjacent letters. as with engraving thought, when you've done it a few times, you can get pretty good at it.

a while back i had looked into getting a custom letter stamp made. there are quite a few companies out there that will make you a stamp that'll say exactly what you want, in the font and style you want, in the size and layout you want, all contained in one piece. seemed like a good idea to me, except they were a little pricey (between 200 and 300 dollars), and i was thinking about moving at that time. if you have access to a press and aren't planning on changing your city or state anytime soon, and you think you might do more than a few guns, this becomes a very good option.

as far as how the anodizing will react... tough to tell. i've stamped aluminum parts with correct type III anodizing parts in the past with no problems. i've read about others getting their lowers stamped (or engraved too) and having th anodizing chip around the letters.




Thats what I was woried about. I would hate to have the finish come off in big chips around the letters. Realy, its not going to be a problem anyways. I looked at the puches this morning and they are huge. I measured them at 5/16" tall and something like .035" deep. Theye are so big that I dont even have enough room on the reciever to do what I need to, so that kind of rules out that idea.
Link Posted: 4/8/2011 9:51:58 AM EDT



you can buy a 1/16" letter stamp kit from someone like MSC or mcmaster for reasonably cheap.


Link Posted: 4/8/2011 11:31:19 AM EDT
I will have to look into that. I would rather do it myself but if I have to send it to someone I will.
Link Posted: 4/10/2011 7:23:48 AM EDT
Harbor Freight usually has the 1/16" stamp set for less than $10.  you can use masking tape, piece of wood, or other straight edge clamped to the receiver to help ensure the letters are straight.

advntrjnky
Link Posted: 4/10/2011 8:02:17 AM EDT
I've never done it with stamps or a dremel, here's what I use.

Link Posted: 4/10/2011 1:30:56 PM EDT
That's the same tool I used. The set up took a lot longer than the engraving process.
Link Posted: 4/19/2011 5:46:24 AM EDT
Quoted:
Harbor Freight usually has the 1/16" stamp set for less than $10.  you can use masking tape, piece of wood, or other straight edge clamped to the receiver to help ensure the letters are straight.

advntrjnky


Has anyone actuall used the stamp method? I have the stamp sets, but I'd hate to trash my lower if it cracked when striking the stamp. Maybe a press to apply the force need to get the depth right, the first time. Any pics?
Link Posted: 4/19/2011 11:19:55 AM EDT
Quoted:
Quoted:
Harbor Freight usually has the 1/16" stamp set for less than $10.  you can use masking tape, piece of wood, or other straight edge clamped to the receiver to help ensure the letters are straight.

advntrjnky


Has anyone actuall used the stamp method? I have the stamp sets, but I'd hate to trash my lower if it cracked when striking the stamp. Maybe a press to apply the force need to get the depth right, the first time. Any pics?


what makes stamping difficult is that the letters have different surface areas, and the surface area of the letter will dictate how much force is necessary to hit a certain depth. in other words, 50# is going to drive a "W" a fraction of the depth it will drive a "I". there is a device that can be used to get all the letters a specific depth, but i forget what the hell it's called...

regarding cracking a lower, it should be a non-issue if the material being stamped is backed properly.


Link Posted: 4/19/2011 5:02:37 PM EDT
I haven't stamped a lower yet, but plan on when i finally get around to sending in a form1.  I have, however, stamp many many things at work.  from heavy jack hammers to small engines to tools...etc.  with a little practice and taking time to line them up you can get a pretty good outcome.  will it be perfect factory looking....probably not, but i have seen numerous stamp jobs done by gunsmiths that look nice.  I am building my SBR to shoot.....as long as it meets the legal definition I'm happy.  unless you are buying a factory SBR you are will never get your $200 tax out of the build, so what's the big deal if the letters/ number aren't perfect.

advntrjnky
Link Posted: 4/20/2011 11:59:20 AM EDT
I have done 6 SBRs.  Beyond the functionality aspect, I had a certain aesthetic goal with each which some botched home engraving job would not have been a part.  After I figured the total cost plus optics which typically put me in the $1600 - $2200 range + $200 tax stamp, savings $50 bucks on professional engraving seemed to be a false economy to me. But that could just be me.
Link Posted: 4/21/2011 4:16:53 AM EDT
Quoted:
I have done 6 SBRs.  Beyond the functionality aspect, I had a certain aesthetic goal with each which some botched home engraving job would not have been a part.  After I figured the total cost plus optics which typically put me in the $1600 - $2200 range + $200 tax stamp, savings $50 bucks on professional engraving seemed to be a false economy to me. But that could just be me.


yeah, if you have an asthetic "minimum" that is fairly stringent, doing it yourself may or may not be a good idea. in the end though, your "botched home engraving job" might be "looks better than factory" for someone else. i've seen plenty of misaligned and uneven FACTORY serial numbers and markings, and we have people here that complain constantly about that stuff.

as long as the OP knows that 1) it CAN be done very well at home with a little patience and practice, and 2) it can also come out looking like shit...


Link Posted: 4/22/2011 11:09:25 AM EDT
$50?  Hell, it's $10 'round these parts.
Link Posted: 4/22/2011 2:02:46 PM EDT
Has anyone tried electrolysis?  
Link Posted: 4/22/2011 6:59:34 PM EDT
Quoted:
I've never done it with stamps or a dremel, here's what I use.

http://i34.tinypic.com/30k6m3s.jpg


that's a goofy looking dremel tool.


Lol, nice.  Got a 4th?



Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 4/24/2011 4:25:05 AM EDT
Done a few, used a 1/16" punch to lightly mark the area and then used a dremel with a diamond bit. Turns out quite well if you go damn slow and take your time with depth and speed, if I rember correctley once lined up it took about 20 minutes with stopping every 5 or so for cleanup. You can use aluminum black to cover up the bare metal and fill in with white paint marker.
Link Posted: 4/29/2011 7:46:07 AM EDT
Quoted:
Lol, nice.  Got a 4th?


Yea, and a 5th on the one of the others.

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