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    Default Marking my tools

    I was asked to identify all of my gunsmithing tools to make them distinguishable from another smithie. I could spend hours engraving them, but as you know many are hardened and don't engrave well. Add to that all the oil they are always in... and nothing sticks. So other than engraving, has anyone come up with a clever way to mark their tools that works as well for hardened reamers as chrome plated hand tools, and won't just peel off with oil soak?

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    I acid etch with vinegar/salt and a battery charger

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    Years ago, I marked my tools with a carbon arc tool that I built using a carbon rod from a D battery. I inserted the carbon rod in a piece of copper tubing that had a wooden sleeve. It had a wire from the end of the copper tube to an alligator clip. Hooked the clip to a 12 volt battery (auto). The tool to be marked had another wire to the other battery post. It would get kind hot after some use, but would etch the hardest of tools. Good luck.

    JH

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    Quote Originally Posted by James H Clark View Post
    Years ago, I marked my tools with a carbon arc tool that I built using a carbon rod from a D battery. I inserted the carbon rod in a piece of copper tubing that had a wooden sleeve. It had a wire from the end of the copper tube to an alligator clip. Hooked the clip to a 12 volt battery (auto). The tool to be marked had another wire to the other battery post. It would get kind hot after some use, but would etch the hardest of tools. Good luck.

    JH
    Gosh that brings all sorts of possibilities to the table. Sounds like you had a home made EDM machine going.

    I wonder if you had a graphite electrode milled to your “watermark” and a bowl of dielectric fluid if you could do some pretty substantial marking without too much craziness.

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    I used coloured Heat shrink but It comes lose so if you could find a glue lined that would be better. I was thinking next ill try a printed lable strip under clear glue lined. Also the heat shrink over punches gives you good grip

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcia View Post
    I was asked to identify all of my gunsmithing tools to make them distinguishable from another smithie.
    How does the other guy mark his?

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    Quote Originally Posted by thunderskunk View Post
    Gosh that brings all sorts of possibilities to the table. Sounds like you had a home made EDM machine going.

    I wonder if you had a graphite electrode milled to your “watermark” and a bowl of dielectric fluid if you could do some pretty substantial marking without too much craziness.
    In a "sinker EDM" (like you are describing) the electrode does not touch the work piece AND is pulsed to create the discharge that does the work. DC or even low frequency AC would more than likely just make a mess of the work piece. And since OP is more than likely going to be working with both flat and round pieces even a real sinker would be impractical in this application.

    Electro-etching would probably be the best bet. I've used electro-etching on everything from tools and tool holders to custom parts (part #s) to actions. A full demo on "how to" can be found at YouTube

    I find this video to be a bit long. I use a very similar set up and it only takes me a bout 2-3 minutes to do a small etch like this. However, what I like about this video is that for people who have never done this it is detailed AND has a link to the stencils he is using. From what I can tell in the video they are very nice. I make my own which appear to be a little lighter duty than the one shown in this video. I have done over 250 etches with one of my stencils so these should last a long time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mram10 View Post
    I acid etch with vinegar/salt and a battery charger
    Acid etching is a chemical process... No electricity is used.

    What you are describing is electro-etching. However, there is no need to use an acid in the electrolyte solution. Simple table salt works fine. Kosher salt works fine too if you have that sitting around.

    Once again not really understanding what you are trying to describe...

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    A carbide dental burr in a rotary tool will let you write or sketch on most tools - if you have a steady hand looks not so far off engraving and faster.

    Depending upon the situation (honest workers, just needing a mark) you might make some simple mark your sign (e.g. a triangle, initial, two dots etc.)

    Probably 80% of tools are soft enough somewhere you could also use a stamp - making your "mark" some other way for the really hard stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteM View Post
    A carbide dental burr in a rotary tool will let you write or sketch on most tools ...
    It looks awful tho. Etching is the nicest but either a pain in the rear or expensive (someone makes a nice kit with everything you need but they go for about $300 now ? ouch.)

    Plasti-dip in whatever color you like might work. Wouldn't work on calipers very well but many tools could dip the handle ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by MIBill View Post
    Acid etching is a chemical process... No electricity is used.

    What you are describing is electro-etching. However, there is no need to use an acid in the electrolyte solution. Simple table salt works fine. Kosher salt works fine too if you have that sitting around.

    Once again not really understanding what you are trying to describe...
    Watch my videos about electro etching with vinegar and salt. See how I don’t know what I’m talking about. Glad I’m so important to you that you feel you have to respond to my every post.

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    A thousand years ago I used to work construction and we had to provide our own tools. Tools went missing on job sites so I painted them dayglow pink. Never lost another one.

    Jeff

    Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

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    Just wait till the other smithie marks his tools. Then you can identify your tools by the absence of his marks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by weaselfire View Post
    A thousand years ago I used to work construction and we had to provide our own tools. Tools went missing on job sites so I painted them dayglow pink. Never lost another one.

    Jeff

    Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
    I chose safety orange for my tools a long time ago, but somehow my smallest ball peen hammer ended up Tiffany blue.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by thunderskunk View Post
    Gosh that brings all sorts of possibilities to the table. Sounds like you had a home made EDM machine going.

    I wonder if you had a graphite electrode milled to your “watermark” and a bowl of dielectric fluid if you could do some pretty substantial marking without too much craziness.
    Huh? Seems contradictory to try to limit "craziness", yah?

    How about "rainbow" Titanium flash with a logo / logotype initial set into it?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mram10 View Post
    Watch my videos about electro etching with vinegar and salt. See how I don’t know what I’m talking about. Glad I’m so important to you that you feel you have to respond to my every post.
    There are thousands of videos on YouTube by people who don't understand OR know what they are doing. One more is hardly worth comment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MIBill View Post
    There are thousands of videos on YouTube by people who don't understand OR know what they are doing. One more is hardly worth comment.
    You have to stop showing your ignorance, mib. Watch my video and you’ll see I know what I’m talking about. I’m sure you’re after the truth and not just being a jack wagon.
    Love the pink and orange tools on job sites!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mram10 View Post
    Love the pink and orange tools on job sites!!
    No help, here as to differentiating one craftsman's goods from another.

    Too many of the Big Box suppliers have already jumped on the day-glo yellows, oranges & c.

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    I've used printed labels under a section of clear heat-shrink tubing.

    It works, can be applied to about anything, wipes mostly clean, or at least clean enough to read. If you use bright colored label stock it makes it obvious that the tool is marked. The downside is that the heat-shrink can be scraped or cut off fairly easily.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcia View Post
    I was asked to identify all of my gunsmithing tools to make them distinguishable from another smithie. I could spend hours engraving them, but as you know many are hardened and don't engrave well. Add to that all the oil they are always in... and nothing sticks. So other than engraving, has anyone come up with a clever way to mark their tools that works as well for hardened reamers as chrome plated hand tools, and won't just peel off with oil soak?

    I know someone already said this, but get a carbide burr and you will be fine. If that isn't enough (?) they do make diamond burrs too...

    You should be able to find them almost anywhere, walmart, lowes, home depot, harbor (gasp!) freight....

    edit: I have never tried one, but you can also buy acid etching pens that may or may not work better than some of the home brew etching methods
    Acid Etching Pen - Black | 81-005-496 | Travers Tool Co., Inc.


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