There are many types regarding an Engraving Machine out there. There are also many purposes with regard to engraving, you should consider this specific before you decide just what type of engraving utility you will go out to purchase or utilize.
Engravers come in all shapes and sizes and are built to many different applications. Back in the old days, engravers would use handmade tools and many hours to carve into metal, stone, marble, glass, wood, and leather. These days both handmade and machine methods are used, and even though hand engraving is dying out, it still offers a much more personal and authentic touch than an engraver machine, however, it is much more time consuming and thus expensive.
Engraving has become a huge business opportunity, with the growing fad of personalizing everything from shot glasses to car parts to you name it. Investing in an Engraving Machine can be a very wise investment for any machine shop or any crafts business. Many machine shops are investing in these machines, and large corporations have been using them to mass-produce goods with their company trademark etched into them. Something that is etched signified it will last for a long time and provides a higher worth onto the item. It is symbolic as much as aesthetic.
Here is a rundown of the different types of Engraving Machines:
Laser Engraving Machine
This is the most commonly used type of engraving tool and has exploded with popularity over the past few years. If you go to any theme park or a tourist attraction in the world, you will see 3D laser engraved souvenirs with everything from the Eiffel Tower to the Sea World Shamu etched into a 3D image inside of a crystal block or area.
Laser engravers are very sophisticated and very precise. It leaves a very clean-cut, with little to no cleaning having to be done after the etching process is finished. It is computer controlled and thus the possibility of human error is lowered significantly.
Also with a laser engraver, there is the advantage of not having to replace parts nearly as often as with a manual engraver. Manual engravers use drills and bits, which wear down after time or sometimes break.
Manual Engraving Machines
A manual engraving tool may not be as clean-cut and efficient as a laser cutter, but it is better suited to an engraving task where a lot more material has to be cut away. A laser is usually only powerful enough to slightly "dig" into the surface, while a manual engraver will just cut away at it.
There are many different types of manual engraving machines since these have been around for more than a century now. I remember in my machine shop we would have an engraving machine that has a rod connected to a template of different letters to choose from. Basically you would sort of have this pencil, trace over a letter with the pencil, and the corresponding rod would create a clone "pencil" that was actually a drill etching your every movement into whatever material you put into it. This is an example of a lower cost manual engraving machine.
CNC Engraving Machines
These are still very popular today and used by many machine shops. A lot of custom or personalized car parts use these machines. The great thing with CNC engraving machines is that you can take a 3D drawing from a CAD (Computer-Aided Design) program and just plug it into the CNC machine, provide the raw material, and it will automatically etch out the part for you.