Graver or Scope?

jeff Cadzow

Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2020
Messages
13
I have a home built graver set up, which I put together a couple of years ago. I do a bit of work now and again mostly coins, but I'm struggling to produce quality work. Of course I do not do enough practice but I feel like I am being held back by 1. the equipment that I am using and 2. not being able to see the work clearly enough.
Question. Would I be better to invest in quality graver machinery or a stereo microscope. Jeff , Perth Australia.
 

Chujybear

~ Elite 1000 Member ~
Joined
Nov 3, 2011
Messages
1,032
Location
Haida Gwaii
I assume you have a ball vise.. that is the number one piece of equipment..
You can get by with optivisor.. you can carve what you can see...
a cheaper way to increase your control is to use hammer and chisel (which is a bit of a different setup)
But the workholding will be the most significant improvement you can make
 

rweigel

Elite Cafe Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2017
Messages
147
Location
France (north of Alsace, close to Germany)
My microscope (Olympus SZ40, X20 oculars, 0.62x Barlow lens) made the huge difference for me, at the time for stone setting, which required only short graver strokes. Quality and control was much better than with the Optivisor. Stone’s size 1.5-3mm, three or four point bright cut settings. I‘ve recently tried to engrave something with the Optivisor, and it felt very strange (and looked strange as well). I guess one could become a „scope addict“.

Please note that a stereo microscope in combination with a ball vise make only sense with a turntable to rest the ball vise on. The field of vision with a scope ist about 2cm diam. or less, lest you use a Leica Scope with fusion optics, which should almost double the field of vision, or so I read. Had no chance to try it yet, found only fake offers so far for reasonable prices. The turntable allows to rotate your work around the center of your field of vision. The turntable needs to run very smoothly with the heavy load of ball vice and workpiece.

Cheers

Ralf
 

silverchip

~ Elite 1000 Member ~
Joined
Jun 1, 2007
Messages
1,854
Location
Fishermans Paradise,Idaho
If you are in Perth, I would assume you might be acquainted with Bruce Barnett. He is a fine knife maker and has been known to take a stab at engraving. I believe he has a scope and GRS equipment. Look him up and maybe inquire as to giving it a go with good equipment to help you make up your mind.
 

Doctorslava

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2018
Messages
72
Location
Atlanta, GA
There is no simple answer to your question since both of this items are important. However a microscope is much easier to get because it is not as rare as a quality engraving machine/handle. I invested in a good engraving handle and a relatively old microscope. A microscope you can get for as much as $400-$500 while the handle/machine will cost over $2k. Traditionally I work more with Olympus scopes, but had in possession other brands such as Leicas, Zeisses, Nikons, B&L, Amscopes. Any stereozoom with magnification x3-x10 and a working distance of 150-180mm will work. newer scops obviously better because of wide field of view, brighter optics and not solidified lubrication :)
 

jeff Cadzow

Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2020
Messages
13
I assume you have a ball vise.. that is the number one piece of equipment..
You can get by with optivisor.. you can carve what you can see...
a cheaper way to increase your control is to use hammer and chisel (which is a bit of a different setup)
But the workholding will be the most significant improvement you can make
Thanks ,I have optivisor and other cheap magnifiers and have a bush version of a ball vice using a 4 jaw chuck but I need to get a closer view of what’s going on at the graver tip.
 

jeff Cadzow

Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2020
Messages
13
My microscope (Olympus SZ40, X20 oculars, 0.62x Barlow lens) made the huge difference for me, at the time for stone setting, which required only short graver strokes. Quality and control was much better than with the Optivisor. Stone’s size 1.5-3mm, three or four point bright cut settings. I‘ve recently tried to engrave something with the Optivisor, and it felt very strange (and looked strange as well). I guess one could become a „scope addict“.

Please note that a stereo microscope in combination with a ball vise make only sense with a turntable to rest the ball vise on. The field of vision with a scope ist about 2cm diam. or less, lest you use a Leica Scope with fusion optics, which should almost double the field of vision, or so I read. Had no chance to try it yet, found only fake offers so far for reasonable prices. The turntable allows to rotate your work around the center of your field of vision. The turntable needs to run very smoothly with the heavy load of ball vice and workpiece.

Cheers

Ralf
Thanks Ralf
 

jeff Cadzow

Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2020
Messages
13
If you are in Perth, I would assume you might be acquainted with Bruce Barnett. He is a fine knife maker and has been known to take a stab at engraving. I believe he has a scope and GRS equipment. Look him up and maybe inquire as to giving it a go with good equipment to help you make up your mind.
Thanks for that, I am not in with the knife makers but I will look him up.
 

jeff Cadzow

Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2020
Messages
13
There is no simple answer to your question since both of this items are important. However a microscope is much easier to get because it is not as rare as a quality engraving machine/handle. I invested in a good engraving handle and a relatively old microscope. A microscope you can get for as much as $400-$500 while the handle/machine will cost over $2k. Traditionally I work more with Olympus scopes, but had in possession other brands such as Leicas, Zeisses, Nikons, B&L, Amscopes. Any stereozoom with magnification x3-x10 and a working distance of 150-180mm will work. newer scops obviously better because of wide field of view, brighter optics and not solidified lubrication :)
I can’t buy a cheap stereo microscope, they are just not available as a used item. I would be looking at the Leica A60 if I make a purchase, unfortunately there is no way to buy it cheap. I’m looking at over $3,800 ($2,500 - $2800 US$)
 

Attachments

  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    165.5 KB · Views: 31
  • image.jpg
    image.jpg
    137.2 KB · Views: 29

tdelewis

Elite Cafe Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2010
Messages
660
Location
Volant, PA 60 miles north of Pittsburgh
I suggest you might try a pair of loups. This is what doctors and dentists use. They can be purchased on Amazon for about $40 US and up to whatever one wants to pay. The power of magnification is fixed and cannot go up as high as microscopes. My $40 pair works well.

The use of loups has not been discussed here and I wonder if others are using them. If anyone out there is using them, it would be good to hear from them and what they think.
 

Chujybear

~ Elite 1000 Member ~
Joined
Nov 3, 2011
Messages
1,032
Location
Haida Gwaii
Thanks ,I have optivisor and other cheap magnifiers and have a bush version of a ball vice using a 4 jaw chuck but I need to get a closer view of what’s going on at the graver tip.
In that case, my recommendation stands.. get yourself a good ball vise. I rarely zoom in past what my optivisor would provide in terms of magnification, the real value of the scope (for me) is in ergonomics..
My advise does not stand if you do opt for a scope. As mentioned by Ralf, if you get a scope you should also factor a turntable into your budget... the good news is your 4 jaw chuck should serve you for now... if you are just engraving flat things, you could get away with gluing your work to a tin full for lead, and sliding that around your turntable.... do get a proper turntable tho... either Lindsay or hrs, or a quality potters wheel (low profile)... the lazy Susan bearings are too rough.
 

jeff Cadzow

Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2020
Messages
13
I suggest you might try a pair of loups. This is what doctors and dentists use. They can be purchased on Amazon for about $40 US and up to whatever one wants to pay. The power of magnification is fixed and cannot go up as high as microscopes. My $40 pair works well.

The use of loups has not been discussed here and I wonder if others are using them. If anyone out there is using them, it would be good to hear from them and what they think.
Yeah, I bought 3 or 4 different pair but couldn’t get any of them to focus through both eyes.
 

Doctorslava

Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2018
Messages
72
Location
Atlanta, GA
I can’t buy a cheap stereo microscope, they are just not available as a used item. I would be looking at the Leica A60 if I make a purchase, unfortunately there is no way to buy it cheap. I’m looking at over $3,800 ($2,500 - $2800 US$)
I do not know a situation with microscopes in Australia. here in the US stereozooms are available. Ebay is not only source to look. There are companies servicing scopes and selling old ones, surplus auctions wit used equipment from Universities and laboratories some local listings as a Craigslist and a Facebook marketplace. I bought and sold several microscopes and found several more for others as well. ( but not in Australia).
 

jeff Cadzow

Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2020
Messages
13
I do not know a situation with microscopes in Australia. here in the US stereozooms are available. Ebay is not only source to look. There are companies servicing scopes and selling old ones, surplus auctions wit used equipment from Universities and laboratories some local listings as a Craigslist and a Facebook marketplace. I bought and sold several microscopes and found several more for others as well. ( but not in Australia).
Thanks Doc, I will do some research .
 

Latest posts

Sponsors

Top