View Full Version : Engraving vise

Martin Boekers
05-26-2010, 8:52 PM
I bought a Roland EGX 20 awhile back and am looking to make a small vise
to hold a brushed metal name tags. (one at a time)

They are roughly 3 x .75 there is a very slight arc in it (very slight)

I'm looking so it will hold it firm while putting a little bit of pressure
on the center to hold it flat.

I have some ideas on how to do it, but I thought I'd toss it out here before I try to re-invent something.

Any help or ideas will be greatly appreciated!


Steve Kelsey
05-26-2010, 11:25 PM
Never done it before, but my first thought is to make a 3 sided fixture (like a U shape) that has a slot in the sides to hold the plate. Of course, this is going to keep you from using 1/16 or so from each side so it depends on how much of the surface you plan to engrave.

Actually, as I wrote this, I had another idea. A small block of wood with two flat head screws that can apply pressure to the center edges of the plate. This would keep the surface area you could not engrave to a minimum.

good luck. Let us know what you come up with!

Rodne Gold
05-27-2010, 3:24 AM
The best way is a plate with one flat bevel/stepped edge and 2 or 3 "cams" (circles with offset hole) for the top side. make cams difficult to turn with some friction material and use a contertsunk screw in bottom + nut at top for "fixing" em, use reverse bevels or a stepped design (can make 2 pieces , one atop another to get the step)
See jpg

Dan Hintz
05-27-2010, 6:15 AM
Instead of cams with screw, I'd make them spring-loaded straight-action pieces... size the spring to the amount of pressure you need to exert. Jig is always ready to go, even if you can't find a screwdriver.

Mike Null
05-27-2010, 6:22 AM

I haven't seen your table but I'd be inclined to use Rodney's idea but on the fixed side I would drill a series of holes in the table to allow you to place several sizes in the vise.

You could drill and tap the table on the hold down side and use screws and washers. Three screws should be more than adequate.

Mike Null
05-27-2010, 6:59 AM

Given all the stuff you have at your disposal you should be able to fabricate a knockoff of this.


Rodne Gold
05-27-2010, 10:00 AM
Pity its not flat - we use sticky mat for flat stuff on our roland engraver - wonderful stuff

Mark Winlund
05-27-2010, 10:20 AM

Given all the stuff you have at your disposal you should be able to fabricate a knockoff of this.


Probably a bit of overkill for a laser machine. Remember, there isn't much requirement to hold the piece in position against cutting forces as there is with a rotary. Also, the original poster mentioned that a center hold down was neccessary to keep it flat. The easiest way to do this is with vacuum. We frequently made jigs that use vacuum for badge work, especially when the quantities were in the thousands. It would be easy to make a jig for onesies as well. For this, a rubberized coating on the jig will allow you to do rotary work for badges down to about 1 x 3 inches. I assume everyone knows how a vacuum jig works. The only downside is the cost of a good vacuum pump. A vacuum pump has many uses in the engraving business. Veneering, ADA signs, jigs, to mention a few.


Colleen Williams
05-27-2010, 11:55 AM

I have the EGX-20 as well. Roland has a couple of different vice tables available already made to save you time and frustration. I know when I purchased mine several years ago I got one. I note that the ones that they have now are actually a little more adjustable than mine is. The one that I have is a metal plate which screws down onto the bed and then there is a small vice mounted onto the plate (very similar in style and function to a one that you would mount on a bench only much smaller).

You may want to check them out first.


Rodne Gold
05-27-2010, 12:22 PM
Mark , it is a rotary engraver.
I just posted my cam jig idea as its real easy and cheap to make if you have a laser and a few scraps of pex or supawood etc.

Martin Boekers
05-31-2010, 5:46 PM
Thanks All for your ideas!

I have been working with a similar idea Rodne, thanks for your input.

Right now this engraver will be dedicated to doing this one style name tag.
That's why I want to come up with something simple that is quick easy to use and CHEAP! :D

I haven't had chance to get to Harbor Freight to see if they have anything I quickly modify.

Your right Mike I do have too many "play toys" here.

There are only a few companies that make this style nametag to specs, but some have pins attached, some you attach them after engraving. The price difference is quite a bit for a "low priced" item so I'm trying to make my own "vise" for this.

Rodne as I said I'm leaning towards a design like yours, but I would like to have it clip together. that way I can have a handful of these cut from acrylic and "load" them with the tag while the the other is engraving.

These could then be "stuck" to the "sticky" in position.

When I get something that I can work with I'll post a photo.


Bill Cunningham
06-01-2010, 11:09 PM
For a quick hold inside the machine for a small part, I just drop in a small drillpress vise.

kyle bonnell
06-07-2010, 10:18 AM
For a quick hold inside the machine for a small part, I just drop in a small drillpress vise.

+1. This is what I use for the hard to hold items. I bought a 4'' drill press vise from home depot for $20 and I use it every day. I did make a set of wooden jaws so it doesn't scratch the material being lasered.

Martin Boekers
06-07-2010, 4:57 PM
Thanks again for the help and ideas.

This engraver has less than an inch clearance , so
most of the typical vise options are out.

I have cut out a holder from plex and I believe it should work, just
haven't had a chance to try it yet.