How to Do Cylindrical Engraving with a Rotary Attachment?

by Raymond Lei on March 23, 2022

Laser engraving cylindrical objects, whether it's a tumbler, a mug, a Yeti cup, or a wine glass, is not as easy as engraving flat objects. It is because cylindrical objects require a controlled 360° rotation to engrave them. A laser engraving machine cannot rotate a cylindrical object on its own, so a rotary attachment is required.

The capability of a cylindrical engraver to engrave cylindrical objects depends on its rotary attachment. Here, we will see why engraving irregular cylindrical objects is a difficult task, how to do cylindrical engraving, the different rotary attachments available on the market, and what xTool is bringing to revolutionize the rotary attachments.

Why Is It Difficult to Engrave on a Cylinder?

Regular cylindrical objects are easy to engrave, but when it comes to irregular shapes like wine glasses and cups, you need a special rotary attachment to engrave them.

Cups have a handle, so they cannot rotate on a plain surface, and wine glasses are irregular in shape, so they cannot be engraved using a typical roller rotary attachment.

roller rotary attachment has two rollers over a plain base. The rollers are separated by a distance that can be adjusted according to the diameter of the object. It is suitable for regular cylindrical objects. But with extra support, it can rotate irregular objects. It can be used to engrave rings and spheres, but it can't hold the objects tightly.

For irregular cylindrical objects, a chuck rotary attachment is suitable. But it also has various limitations, such as it cannot hold objects having a large diameter. In addition, it cannot be dismantled to work on longer objects.

Thus, both rotary attachments have some limitations, and they cannot be used for all shapes of cylindrical objects. If you want to engrave all shapes, you need to buy both types of rotary attachments, which will cost you a lot.

It is a serious predicament for users, but there is a solution. What if these two rotary attachments are combined into one? It would be a great idea, and the user will be able to engrave a wide range of objects.

xTool RA2 Pro — The World's First 4-in-1 Rotary Attachment

xTool has introduced the world's first 4-in-1 rotary attachment, Rotary Attachment 2 (RA2) Pro. It does the work of four types of rotary attachments, including roller rotary, chuck rotary, sphere rotary, and ring rotary. It is perfect for vector as well as raster engraving. With that being said, RA2 Pro can work on 90% of daily engraving cylindrical and spherical engraving scenarios.

xtool ra2 pro

The roller rotary is excellent for regular cylindrical and irregular objects, such as drinking glasses, wine glasses, and bottles. Usually, roller rotaries are only for regular cylinders, but because of the separable level tool, the RA2 Pro can engrave irregular and extra-long cylindrical objects.

engraving on wine glasses

There is no restriction on the length of the object; it can even engrave a long baseball bat. The diameter range of the roller rotary is 3mm-198mm, which is quite a lot compared to other roller rotaries.

The chuck rotary is perfect for irregular cylinders, such as mugs with a handle. The soft-pad jaws grab the objects without damaging them. You also have different types of jaws to grab different objects. It can hold objects up 100mm in diameter.

engraving on mugs

Spheres are quite difficult to engrave as it is not easy to keep them stable during engraving. But RA2 has a special sphere rotary that keeps the sphere in one place. Secondly, the ring rotary of the attachment also keeps the ring stable during engraving.

engraving on spheres

RA2 Pro is an all-in-one machine and can help you do all the cylindrical engraving tasks without any hassle. It is compatible with xTool D1 and many third-party laser engraving machines. The users can use LightBurn, Laserbox Basic, and LaserGBRL to operate the attachment.

The attachment does the job at a very high speed of up to 360 degrees per second. The best part is that it offers high precision even at a very high speed. The motors have a rotation accuracy of 0.45 degrees.

In addition, it is made to last for a long time. It is made of anodized aluminum alloy with a corrosion-proof coating. Users can use it for personal as well as business use; it is durable enough.

Laser Engraving on Different Cylinders with RA2 Pro

Engraving on a cylinder with xTool RA2 is pretty simple. There is a wide range of objects you can engrave, such as tumblers, cups, pendants, lockets, balls, baseball bats, rings, and almost any spherical or cylindrical object.

Step 1: Set up your xTool D1 (or M1) and make it ready for engraving. Attach the risers to increase the height of the machine.

Step 2: Now, you need to set up to rotary attachment. RA2 Pro is a 4-in-1 rotary attachment, so you need to assemble it according to your needs. For instance, if you are engraving on a mug, you can use the chuck rotary and assemble the attachment accordingly.

The instructions for assembling are given in the instruction manual. It is quite easy to assemble it; just follow the steps. In addition, the tools for assembling and adjustment are provided with the rotary attachment.

Step 3: Place your rotary attachment under D1 and connect it to the machine. Measure the object's circumference and length to get an idea of the graphic size.

If you are directly engraving on stainless steel, make sure to coat it with a metal marking spray. Now, you can mount or place the object you are engraving on the rotary attachment.

Step 4: Open Laserbox Basic and import the image. Adjust the size of the image according to the object. You can also rotate the image. Now, you need to set the speed and power. For that, find the correct settings using this materials setting table.

Step 5: Click on the Start button. You will have a new window. Turn on Cylinder Working and click on Framing. You will get the idea of the position of the laser over the object and the engraving area. Click on Start to start the engraving.

Other Rotary Attachments for Cylinder Engraving

Here are the most used and demanding rotary attachments on the market. Some of them are roller rotary attachments, while some of them are chuck rotary attachments. Let's have a look at them.

1) ORTUR Laser Rotary Roller

ORTUR Laser Rotary Roller is a Y-axis rotary module for engraving regular cylindrical objects, such as soda cans, and irregular objects like wine glasses. It is excellent as a laser engraver for tumblers. The diameter of the module can be easily adjusted, and it can handle a minimum diameter of 100mm.

The first problem that the users have faced is assembling. It is hard to assemble, and there are no instructions to do that, according to reviews from their Amazon store. Moreover, it is not a robust module, since it is made from cheap materials.

2) OMTech Rotary Cutter and Engraver Attachment with 3-Jaw Chuck

This is a chuck rotary attachment with three jaws to handle regular cylindrical and round objects during cutting and engraving. It is mostly used for cutting and engraving pipes, bottles, cups, tubes, and bowls.

The 3-jaw scroll chuck is similar to a lathe machine chuck. It grips the object strongly to ensure precision during the process. Moreover, it has the capability to dissipate heat, which makes it last longer.

The tailstock can be adjusted as needed. It holds objects strongly to ensure high accuracy and precision during cutting and engraving. After all, there is no noise during rotation.

The whole attachment is made of quality iron and aluminum alloy. It is robust and corrosion-proof to last for a long time. In addition, it is powered by a powerful 2 phase stepper motor for ultimate precision and non-stop working.

The user can easily install it on the machine as it has a 4-wire attachment cable only. It is specially made to be fixed on OMTech engravers and cutters (except 40W engraver), and compatibility with other tools is not guaranteed.

It is also backed by a one-year warranty and lifetime tech support.

3) Snapmaker 2.0 Rotary Module A350

Snapmaker 2.0 Rotary Module is an expensive chuck rotary attachment. It is only compatible with the Snapmaker machines and suitable for CNC carving and laser engraving. The best thing about the attachment is that it has a minimum rotation angle of 0.1°. Therefore, it offers ultimate precision.

The 3-jaw chuck can handle objects up to 225mm in length without the tailstock. The radius of the object can be up to 68mm. In addition, there are holes on the base plate to adjust the tailstock as needed.

The rotary attachment is fantastic and worth it. But again, it cannot work as a roller rotary attachment

4) ATOMSTACK R3 Laser Rotary Roller, Laser Engraver

This is a roller rotary for laser engravers used on objects with a diameter of 4-100mm. There are four steps to adjust the diameter when needed. Surprisingly, the length can be as long as you want; there is no limit.

The attachment comes pre-assembled, and the user has to do nothing. It is compatible with the ATOMSTACK machines but can be used with other laser engraving machines.

This module is perfect for engraving long regular cylindrical objects, but it cannot engrave irregular objects. Thus, it also has limitations.

Final Words

You can easily engrave on cylindrical objects if you have a compatible rotary attachment. We have seen the difficulties that are faced while engraving cylinders and the limitations of different rotary attachments. xTool's RA2 Pro is the world's first 4-in-1 rotary attachment that can work in 90% cylindrical and spherical engraving scenarios. It is a perfect all-in-one machine that can make cylindrical engraving easier than ever before.

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