You possibly need something like this:
gorton pantograph | eBay
I am needing to come up with a way to engrave serial / VIN numbers onto a steel plate, which will then be welded onto a trailer. We make trailers, and each one has to have a unique VIN#. It will be 13 digits.
Question: Any recommendations for an affordable system/method of engraving numbers (approx. 1/4" to 3/8" font) onto a steel plate? I don't think hand-stamping is practical, and a hand-press die may not be beefy enough for the steel plates.
Many of the computerized systems I've looked at are very expensive, we don't need anything fancy or ornate.... just a dependable way to get legible letters & numbers onto a 2" x 4" or 3" x 5" steel plate.
Thanks for any input...
philbur has a good suggestion. Add to that, "google" pantograph. You will find many sizes and prices. One of them should fit your requirements.
Or, you could do a conversion on an X2 mill for about the same price, and have your choice of size, font, layout. etc. The X2 will do the job without taking up a lot of space, and for about the same as some of those pantographs on ebay. Get a CNCfusion kit, a Keling pre-built driver box and motors, and some of the free software around, and much of the difficult parts are done for you. Since it will be a dedicated machine, it doesn't need all the bells and whistles, nor top speed, and this setup will do that for you. It will have more versatility for later if you need it to do small parts, too.
You can just use the basic X2 (on sale at HF for $499 right now), the CNCFusion #2 kit (with ballscrews - you are doing small letters, so they need to be legible), the smallest Keling driver box, their 282oz-in steppers, and a few home switches. Bolt down a fixture for the number plates, and away you go. Control it with a cheap computer and Mach3 - you can probably get away with just the free demo version for this purpose. Not including any shipping charges, I think you can do this for under $2000.