Getting hand control on power graver

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Mrbillz

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Greetings all! New and newbie- some hand engraving experience, purchased a cheap graver Max 8 knockoff which came with foot control and 2 handpieces. Was under the impression that all handpieces could be hand controlled- silly me...

Is there a way to add on the hand control functionality without going to the extreme ( right now) of the GRS Airtact system? Are there any handpieces that offer hand control that are compatible with a basic double head control unit?

Thanks much for advice on this really basic question...

BS
 
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707chrisa

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Greetings all! New and newbie- some hand engraving experience, purchased a cheap graver Max 8 knockoff which came with got control and 2 handpieces. Was under the impression that all handpieces could be hand controlled- silly me...

Is there a way to add on the hand control functionality without going to the extreme ( right now) of the GRS Airtact system? Are there any handpieces that offer hand control that are compatible with a basic double head control unit?

Thanks much for advice on this really basic question...

BS
Go with the foot control for now cut a few chips draw some stuff paper and pencils are cheep. See if you really want to do engraving. This is not a cheep "sport" yes it can be done with a hammer and an old drill bit but oh man is it slow. IMO foot control lets me stop faster and still feel the cut "ya like that makes any sense". The point is foot control palm control or what ever just cut some chips with what you got . Your going to need a vice "mine is drinking" may be a microscope, some way to sharpen , lights and a space for all this stuff.
Ps you kinda hit a nerve with the knockoff stuff. I get it I am not made of money my self . But try not to invest too much money in cheep tools your just cheating your self. I spent more on tools ,yet saved more money and time just reading the info on this sight . I spent 1000$ more than my 'budget" on a microscope and now no more head aches and less back pain = more work done.
Good luck and just cut some chips.
 

monk

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complain to the manufacturer. i'm sure they will jump thru hoops to solve yer problem. oh, by the way, did you learn anything ? not being unkind here, but price and quality usually are bedfellows.
 

Memorymaker

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Well, first ..... WELCOME to the site ....you will get a lot of great info here ...Next .... I just want to apologize for these guys. They are not usually this snotty and do give good advise. Many of these guys are very accomplished but can be elitist at times. You unknowingly hit on their biggest pet peeve ......... I know because I made the same mistake when I first posted here asking questions. You won’t get any good advice on learning on the knockoffs unfortunately mainly because of their experiences with the knockoffs and people that bought them and had a hard time learning because of the problems associated with the equipment. Learning engraving is tough enough and trying to overcome any concerns from the equipment. These guys are good sources of great information and provide it freely but it makes it hard to do when the equipment makes it hard to get consistent results.
To answer your question, I do not know of any of the knockoffs that offer an air tact type of arrangement. However, there is a guy (actually several I think) that have YouTube videos showing how to make a Palm control unit but not one that will connect to your machine. Oh and please don’t get discouraged by these guys responses, they have a lot of great info and their bark is worse than their bite.
 

jeceb90

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Well, first ..... WELCOME to the site ....you will get a lot of great info here ...Next .... I just want to apologize for these guys. They are not usually this snotty and do give good advise. Many of these guys are very accomplished but can be elitist at times. You unknowingly hit on their biggest pet peeve ......... I know because I made the same mistake when I first posted here asking questions. You won’t get any good advice on learning on the knockoffs unfortunately mainly because of their experiences with the knockoffs and people that bought them and had a hard time learning because of the problems associated with the equipment. Learning engraving is tough enough and trying to overcome any concerns from the equipment. These guys are good sources of great information and provide it freely but it makes it hard to do when the equipment makes it hard to get consistent results.
To answer your question, I do not know of any of the knockoffs that offer an air tact type of arrangement. However, there is a guy (actually several I think) that have YouTube videos showing how to make a Palm control unit but not one that will connect to your machine. Oh and please don’t get discouraged by these guys responses, they have a lot of great info and their bark is worse than their bite.
I like your way and always looking forward to learn from experience!
 

Sam

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I wouldn't call them snotty responses. They're just speaking the truth, as I am.

Those Chinese machines are notorious junk which cause more heartache than anything. You're a newbie, and if something is not going well with your engraving practice, how will you know if it's you or a problem with the machine or handpiece? You won't.

They are reverse engineered by profiteers who simply want your money and don't give a rat's ass about you, your art, or the art of engraving. They throw them together with cheap components and take your money and run. You never hear anyone say they're great. Once in awhile you'll read about someone who spent hours rebuilding one to make it work, but that's hardly a savings in money. At the end of the day you have nearly worthless piece of equipment that you can't sell for much unless you find another uninformed beginner that doesn't know any better.

Not criticizing you at all. There are many dozens or hundred of engravers and jewelers who have fallen into the same trap.

Do yourself a huge favor and seek a refund if you can.
 

Mrbillz

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Thanks MM, for the encouragement, and for the answer to my basic question.

To the others who replied, thanks for your time in replying - and showing me what kind of people hang out here, like in most of the other forums these days. It seems a lot of you might have forgotten how you started down this road. Glad to see you're all experts in the field. It's unfortunate that your ranks are shrinking and you don't seem to be to interested in encouraging new talent to carry on your fantastic art... Sorry to intrude, I'll just lurk here for awhile until I feel I have the worthiness to contribute something "useful".

What I was trying to figure out is IF I would be able to use a power machine. Period. I have a disability affecting my feet so that a foot pedal is very awkward. I thought experimenting on a $500 machine would be smarter than on a $2000 machine, at least until I figured out if it was useful to me. I know smart people figure out how to do things, and I thought the folks here would be the ones to have figured it out if it were possible or if there was already equipment to do what I need.

FWIW, I have taken some introductory classes and know(basically) how to hand push and sharpen my tools. My hands are not strong enough to give me the results I want. I fully expected the"Chinese knockoff" to be a challenge, but OTOH, GRS doesn't exactly make it easy to learn whether their equipment would be usable to me. Id like to at least have the option of knowing before I spend that kind of money. (Which also sort of begs the question why a Chinese company can produce a mechanically equivelent device for 1/5 the price, yet GRS can Command the price they do, and get it... Yes, the quality is quite different, but it's the same ( or very similar) innards. )

I am a retired professional with 30+ years in my field. I also would NOT call GRS to ask how to use someone's else's knock off, any more than I would call Snap-On to ask about Harbor Freight tools... I will buy HF tools on occasion, for a specific purpose, knowing full well what I can expect from the tool...

And to 707 and Memory Maker, again, thanks. You are the type I expected to find here, and thanks for setting the example.

(Edited for clarity after responses- not trying to start of on the wrong foot, just sayin' where I'm coming from)
 
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707chrisa

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Some commercial sewing machines have a knee controllers you might try to use your knee the same way they do. But you may be right about palm control it would be the easy way to go. Keep an eye on the classified section on this sight a Lindsay set up went for 1150 not too long ago.
Ps. I am not an expert nor do I play one on the radio. I just wanted to help, rig some thing up and start cutting
 

monk

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check to see if there's an engraver near you that would let you try the unit they have. as for the learning curve, i t took me nearly 3 years before i could even consider giving something away, let alone having the stones to charge for it. i'm not alone: many here learned the hard way before the net came along. for most of us old farts the james b. meeks book was the very first real info available to newbies. now is different there's the net and even better-- personal instruction availoable. as for a particular impairment one may have, nobody can truthfully really help unless they have a similar impairment.
speaking for all here, we do wish you luck in your pursuit.
 

ByrnBucks

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Chattanooga, TN
Greetings all! New and newbie- some hand engraving experience, purchased a cheap graver Max 8 knockoff which came with foot control and 2 handpieces. Was under the impression that all handpieces could be hand controlled- silly me...

Is there a way to add on the hand control functionality without going to the extreme ( right now) of the GRS Airtact system? Are there any handpieces that offer hand control that are compatible with a basic double head control unit?

Thanks much for advice on this really basic question...

BS
Welcome, I’m a beginner as well so I can offer is some insights into the mode of thinking “I’ll just get this to start” The money and time I personally wasted getting started. First it was sharpening “Ill just spend 100$ On junk instead of 250$” so I promptly bought both and shelved the junk. Then the 200$ ball vise “I’m living with that mistake” but it took some engineering. Then I wouldn’t say I “wasted” time learning to hand push but the learning curve was much steeper. And finally the matter at hand, came a 350$ machine I figured as long as it shakes and makes noise it would be fine.... Well I did get some pieces made using it and it did “work” I was completely unaware that I was devoting about 65% of my concentration on holding the unwieldy handle ”absorbing the extra bounce” and holding the foot petal in the millimeter “sweet spot” that allowed to make a clean cut. So after “dealing with it” for way to long I finally made the decision I wished I could go back in time and make a year ago and bought a GRS Gravermax 8. I immediately discovered I had been learning with a 800 pound gorilla on my back, my work improved 10 fold. Every piece is better than the last and Iv never been apart of such a wonderful art form. I know this didn’t address your question but don’t be discouraged, this is a wonderful thing your pursuing and “you are” in the right place to learn and receive a plethora of wisdom, insight and encouragement. Best of luck DB.
 

oniemarc

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If you have the right tools foor the job you could try and make the Shaun Hughes graver. Or see if you can buy one from Rick Alexander. If made yourself, you can make one from scrap and stay under around a 100 bucks. There is a guy on youtube called Karl Mansson who converted it to handcontrol. I do not know how well it works though, but seems like a nice project. It would control your airflow if it works as it should. If you hook the adapted compressor up to a tattoo footpedal(easy enough to make) you can control when the compressor starts and stops with that. Those are easy on the feet as they only need little pressure to get them to make contact. You could even use with your elbow or knee if needed. Speed can be adjusted by a pwm controller. These "homemade" machines actually do work...allthough you will want to upgrade with time I'm sure, but it would get you started with a cheap system that is fully adjustable and easy on the hands and feet.
I am just a beginner, just like you though, so take all this with a slightly oversized grain of salt. What I do know, is that all the names dropped above will help you in any way they can if you have any questions.

Hope it helps...

Marc
 

Sam

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MrBillz: get your facts straight.

Our ranks are growing exponentially, not shrinking.

Chinese knockoffs are not mechanically equivalent to GRS machines. Period.

If we didn’t like helping others this forum wouldn’t have been here for the past 15 years and I wouldn’t have been teaching for 22 years.

I have taught several students who did not have use of their legs and some without legs. The Airtact system is an excellent solution. But I seriously doubt the outboard version GRS makes will work with a knockoff product. But it might. But it’s $500 that could be put toward a quality machine.

Lurk if you like or get a thicker skin and participate with the group. The choice is yours.

Cheers
 

John B.

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Some commercial sewing machines have a knee controllers you might try to use your knee the same way they do. But you may be right about palm control it would be the easy way to go. Keep an eye on the classified section on this sight a Lindsay set up went for 1150 not too long ago.
Ps. I am not an expert nor do I play one on the radio. I just wanted to help, rig some thing up and start cutting
707chrisa,
I believe you will find that the Lindsay $1150 graver sale was also a foot control unit.
He want's a palm control engraver.
The Lindsay foot control graver can be changed to palm control, but at the cost of many $$$.

Another solution.
When I was teaching engraving, mostly H&C, one student was in a wheel chair with no use of their legs and very restricted hand use.
We made a simple modification to an older GRS Gravermiester unit.
Simply remove the hose from the foot control pedal and the machine.
Connect a new. clean piece of plastic hose to the machine.
By holding this hose between their teeth and biting down they were able to get good control of the pulses.
Older, usable Gravermeister units can sometimes be found for under $500.
The handpiece and foot control can be sold to recover some of this cost.
Not a Lindsay or GRS hand control, but a cost effective way to engrave for those with physical limitations.
 
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Mrbillz

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Jun 3, 2021
Messages
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707chrisa,
I believe you will find that the Lindsay $1150 graver sale was also a foot control unit.
He want's a palm control engraver.
The Lindsay foot control graver can be changed to palm control, but at the cost of many $$$.

Another solution.
When I was teaching engraving, mostly H&C, one student was in a wheel chair with no use of their legs and very restricted hand use.
We made a simple modification an older GRS Gravermiester unit.
Simply remove the hose from the foot control pedal and the machine.
Connect a new. clean piece of plastic hose to the machine.
By holding this hose between their teeth and biting down they were able to get good control of the pulses.
Older, usable Gravermeister units can sometimes be found for under $500.
The handpiece and foot control can be sold to recover some of this cost.
Not a Lindsay or GRS hand control, but a cost effective way to engrave for those with physical limitations.
Hmmm. Very interesting! Thanks. (Have been watching for a used GRS machine for ages - I'm sure there's a reason they're scarce.)
 

Memorymaker

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MrBillz: get your facts straight.

Our ranks are growing exponentially, not shrinking.

Chinese knockoffs are not mechanically equivalent to GRS machines. Period.

If we didn’t like helping others this forum wouldn’t have been here for the past 15 years and I wouldn’t have been teaching for 22 years.

I have taught several students who did not have use of their legs and some without legs. The Airtact system is an excellent solution. But I seriously doubt the outboard version GRS makes will work with a knockoff product. But it might. But it’s $500 that could be put toward a quality machine.

Lurk if you like or get a thicker skin and participate with the group. The choice is yours.

Cheers
Why does a new guy have to get a thicker skin to be here? You say that you don’t think the responses were snotty but I can guarantee that others including me would disagree. I went through this when I started in this site. I got the same snotty responses and semi bullying when I started. Look it up if you don’t believe me. But I don’t discourage easily and give it back so it doesn’t affect me. I also have the money to buy what I want so I bought all the GRS and Lindsay equipment and the Pulsegraver but others don’t have that ability especially just starting out. However, I have seen others over the years get this treatment and never post again. You may have increasing numbers but you don’t see the numbers that you could have if the responses were kind and helpful. Please look back at the first few responses and tell me how helpful they were to this guy. “Why don’t you call GRS and see what they think” and other responses is snotty and semi bulling. It offers no good info for a newby and discourages further questions.
Look ........ you guys ARE the experts and you have earned the right to be the best anywhere. You are great guys once you get thru the crusty stuff. You guys give GREAT information to us less talented and those that are new ............ but you guys also are not kind to anyone that does not use the best equipment just like you were here. Please look at the first responses and compare them to the responses after mine. Perfect example.
‘Look ....... this is a great site and you guys are the experts and you freely give some great info but sometimes you are not kind and helpful which doesn’t help anyone. I’m very sorry that you can’t see that. I’m hoping that maybe you will go back and look closely at this example. I’m not trying to trash you guys ......... I’m just trying to help make this site better and more friendly. Jus sayin’
 

Mrbillz

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Thanks- again MM!

Hey, let me ask you this... When you took plunge and bought your machines, assuming you had done some hand pushing, did you find your investment meet your expectations? Do you think it broadened your possibilities, or just added another tool for the job?

Appreciate your support!
 

highveldt

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Here is what Steve Lindsay just had to say a week or so ago about the foot control versus the palm control version of his equipment.

"The PalmControl is easier for beginners to get the hang of, but once you
are good with the pedal it is six of one and half dozen of the other. If
spending long hours at the bench the PalmControl feels less confining in
that your foot isn't involved."

Now, back to my experience.

I have nerve damage in my feet and I use the foot control without issues. I can even move the foot control over to the left foot and use it OK. I suspect that I could not work for 8 hours a day with the foot control without some tiredness. Having said this however, the originator of this post may have more serious foot issues and may be better off with a palm control hand piece.

Further to the issue of a beginner engraver: When I decided after retirement to learn to engrave, I started with the hammer and chisel and took a class at a tech school in North Carolina taught by a hammer/chisel guy. After a 2 years I decided to buy a pneumatic engraver--I saw several in use at the North Carolina event but did not try any of them. I made my decision to buy a Lindsay foot control based upon my concepts of engineering and design as I spent the last 30 years of my career before retirement in the engineering business. When I received my Lindsay ( a used one) and started to use it I stopped after 5 minutes and went upstairs and told my wife this: " I could almost have cried if I were not a 68 year old "old guy" because the pneumatic engraver I bought was so easy to use, that it was clear that if I had bought a pneumatic engraver when I started to learn to engrave, I would have learned in 4 months what it took me more than 2 years to learn using a hammer and chisel"
 
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