Getting an X-Acto knife set for Christmas is good, but, if you’re like me, spray painting it and engraving your initials and something creative like, “EXACTO KNIVES” in it is even better (Edit: it would have actually been better if I’d looked up how to spell X-Acto knife before engraving). I also received a magnetic parts tray, which came in very handy when taking everything apart to be painted and engraved.
I’ve spray painted wooden boxes before, like when painting “Boxie the Creepster”, but this time I didn’t want to mess up the hinges and clasp. I took them off and put them in the magnetic tray where they stayed nicely. This allowed for a professional look after 2 coats of spray paint and reassembly. The lid was put in the router disassembled, which probably made things easier than trying to fixture it as a whole.
After spray painting everything, I drew up what I wanted engraved in Draftsight and dropboxed it to the CNC router control computer where I now run CamBam. I’m trying out Ubuntu and haven’t found a CAM program that I like native to Linux yet, so this arrangement works out well. CamBam generated the Gcode and I set the depth of cut to .02 inches, .01 inches per pass. The final depth may have been a little deep (assuming I zeroed the z axis correctly) as the “NIV” seemed to run together. With the angled engraving bit, the deeper one cuts, the wider the letters.
Engraving this took very little machine time, and not a ton of my time for this job. When I think about what I had to set up to get to this point, like my CNC router for instance, it definitely would have been cheaper and easier to pay someone. However, I had this idea late one night, and had it done the next morning. In my opinion It’s hard to beat having that kind of ability at your fingertips, and it’s really fun for me. Be sure to check out my workholding clamp setup as it really makes fixturing things easy!
Edit: Apparently it’s supposed to be “X-Acto knife” – so I guess the lesson is make sure you spell check before engraving!