Two weeks ago a friend asked me “what could you do with one of these ?” http://www.lumaelectricco.com/product-description.php?products_id=13 Well after a bit of research I found that these hand tools usually vibrate, as it perhaps makes it easier to draw lines and write text etc. but vibration would perhaps not be necessary if it was used on a CNC machine. I would not be everybody’s choice but being as I am related to Scrooge, in my distant past, I don’t buy anything that I can make so set about winding a suitable transformer with taps on a secondary winding to provide between 1.5 and 2.5Volts choosing a core size which would allow for 10Amps or so. The MkI used 2mm dia. wire for the secondary which was woefully inadequate (basically I did not know how much current I would need) so the MkII used rectangular section 5mm x 2.5mm wire – a much better choice. The next job was to make a pivoting holder for either a Tungsten or Copper electrode then to try it out and see what happens. Not exactly successful first time but, learning as I go, I am now starting to get to grips with the beast. Things I have learnt so far about the electro-etching process in general… Basically a tiny arc is struck between the tip of the electrode and the work and it is the extreme heat created by this arc which slightly etches and discolors the work surface. The voltage needs to be kept low. With a low voltage the arc is fairly stable beneath the electrode, as the voltage is increased the arc tends to wander from side to side and this spoils the appearance of the work. An arc creates electrical noise so it is important that the work is correctly earthed and any signal wiring (such as limit switches etc. and other input wires) are properly shielded otherwise this electrical noise may affect the correct operation of the CNC machine. Electrical resistance in the low voltage, high current wiring connections is to be avoided as even a fraction of 1 ohm can generate significant heat so take care. I have not managed to find (in my boxes of junk) a suitable shunt to be able to measure the output current directly but assuming my transformer is 50% efficient then measuring the transformer input current and voltage I can deduce the output current to be around 9-10Amps at 1.8Volts (but it could be more than 10Amps – it really needs to be measured properly). Considerable heat is generated in the electrode itself – this heat is being transmitted back to my pivot bearings and electrically insulated mount so I need to incorporate a ceramic or similar high temperature heat insulator to hold the electrode. The process is only really suitable for use with steel – the higher the carbon content the better but I have not yet tried steel alloys, tool steel etc - these may react differently. This is essentially a development project which needs more people, knowledge and experimentation but I think it has the potential to be a useful addition to a CNC machine, in particular for marking stainless steel (which easily work hardens and can be difficult to rotary engrave). Is anyone interested in perfecting this process and taking the project further ?. Tweakie.