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What Is a Pantograph Engraver?

By Jean Marie Asta
Updated: May 17, 2024

A pantograph engraver is a machine used for engraving items such as jewelry, dog tags, electrical tags, and other specialty applications. It was a very popular engraving machine that was available between the 1930s and 1970s. One of the first large scale applications of a pantograph engraver was the engraving of pens for a company in New York City. It was not until the 1940s, however, that the engraver was heavily used in the engraving of dog tags for military personnel during the Second World War. Additionally, during this same time period, New York City’s educational board had dog tags made of plastic handed out to schoolchildren, which were made by the same kind of engraver.

There are a few different types of pantograph engravers available, and they are used by companies for many purposes. One kind of pantograph engraver is called a B-Engraver and it is used for engraving the insides of rings. It has several functions, including the ability to automatically center a single ring by its clamping jigs and a diamond tool to easily engrave letters and other characters. The engraver is compact, economical and can also have an optional set of jaws to hold and engrave different size rings or stones. This kind of engraver is most commonly used to engrave wedding rings and their gems.

Another kind of pantograph engraver is called the IM3, and it is used for the engraving of name plates, dog tags, badges, and some small jewelry. One of the benefits of using this engraver is that oddly shaped objects can be fixed and engraved on the machine. An additional benefit to this machine is that it has an arm that is able to pivot across a wider range, making it able to handle large objects and engrave in places not normally reachable. This pantograph engraver is controlled by a computer and may be programmed to engrave certain letters and characters. The dimensions of its engravings can be adjusted by increments of 0.001 inch (0.0025 cm).

A modified version of the IM3, the TXL is another kind of pantograph engraver used to accommodate oddly shaped items, particularly cylindrically shaped or flat objects like bowls, cups, and trophy plaques. This kind of engraver is also computerized and can be programmed to engrave certain letters and characters, and can also be adjusted from the computerized component. The engraver is much larger, up to 100 pounds (45.36 kg), and has a longer pivoting arm for a wider reach and engraving range.

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