Personalizer or Personalizer Plus??

Diamond G Knives

Well-Known Member
Im buying an etcher, is the Personalizer plus worth the extra $$? Will it just be slower with the smaller unit, or will the etch be that much better?

Thanks and God Bless
Mike
 
Mike,
I don't know much about what you are thinking about buying, you know mine is a Marking Methods. I would suggest to you not to forget that Ron Claiborne still makes them, and might be worth a phone call. I've seen his work, and they are top shelf.

Peace Brudda,
Larry
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
I purchased the Personalizer Plus, and although I'm still trying to figure this whole etching thing out, I'm pleased with the purchase. Prior to the Personalizer Plus, I had a "home built" etcher that was hit-n-miss at best.

I've pretty much come to the conclusion that with an etcher you get either a deep mark, OR a Dark mark.....but can't ever seem to get both. Most of the makers that I spoke with about etching seem to go one way or the other. I've gone through about 1/2 dozen stencils trying to get both a deep and dark mark...and still can't get it right. I've pretty much settled on setting the machine on "Mark", with the dial turned all the way up, and holding the pad on the stencil for 45 seconds X 3.....I get a really nice dart mark, just not as much depth as I would like.
 

DiverTexas

Well-Known Member
Been using the personalizer for years and have had no issues. I also use the "mark" setting and not the etch setting so much.

P1010745.jpg
 

Jim Adams Customs

Well-Known Member
Here is how I understand that etchers work. You have two settings. Etch is DC side which pulls the metal out making the depth of the etch. Mark is AC side which pushes the color into the etch. I always etch my mark. then I finish it with the Mark setting.
 
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From my understanding the "Mark" is just putting a layer of black junk into your etch while the "Etch" is actually removing metal.

I Etch mine to desired depth, then mark. I follow up with polishing the area with mothers mag polish, which then deposits a lot more black down into the deep etch. Looks great!

I probably do 10X about 15 second passes. I dont leave the etch on any longer to avoid burning the stencil.

Mine are etched deep enough that I'd have to grind a significant amount away before the mark would be gone. They are deep enough that I can put my fingernail down into them.

7.jpg
 

CDHumiston

KNIFE MAKER
I have the personalizer Plus and really love it. I like the ability to adjust the power because different metals etch at various settings.
 

Sean Cochran

Well-Known Member
I use the personlizer and it works fine. The way it works is on the etch setting you are running DC so the current is only going in one direction taking metal with it. This also builds up gasses which is the reason for on off during the etch.
When the unit is on mark you are running AC so the current is running both directions, it is taking metal out and putting it back causing the dark color.
This is a really simplified explanation of the process, it takes some practice to get it, even then differences in steel (even of the same family) can cause changes.

Sean
 

Carey Quinn

KNIFE MAKER
Hi folks,

I built a home made unit that is about the equivalent to the Personalized and it works very well and I wouldn't really know what to do with a power adjustment.

Ed, I burnt up some stencils a while back and figured out that I wasn't getting enough etchant on my pad. You don't want it so wet that liquid will squeeze out when you put it on the blade but almost. On someone's recommendation, I etch 5 times for a five count removing the pad each time for a 5 count to allow things to cool down. I then switch over to mark and do the same thing. Works good for me on carbon steels but you might have to tweak it for stainless.

Hope that helps,
Carey
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
David,

That's a fantastic looking mark! I think I need to take lessons from you! There has got to be something that I'm missing...I can get it deep, or I can get it dark...but having both has eluded me so far.
 

Stew

Well-Known Member
From my understanding the "Mark" is just putting a layer of black junk into your etch while the "Etch" is actually removing metal.

I Etch mine to desired depth, then mark. I follow up with polishing the area with mothers mag polish, which then deposits a lot more black down into the deep etch. Looks great!

I probably do 10X about 15 second passes. I dont leave the etch on any longer to avoid burning the stencil.

Mine are etched deep enough that I'd have to grind a significant amount away before the mark would be gone. They are deep enough that I can put my fingernail down into them.

7.jpg

That is really smart David. Something to aspire to!

Out of interest, does anyone know how the etch-o-matic compares to the personaliser?
 
I thought i'd also add that I use stencils made by Ernie from http://www.erniesknives.com/

I actually never have thought much about my mark....its always been a small afterthrought. I don't do anything special or over-think anything. I tape the stencil to the steel, dip the marking pad into the solution until its fairly wet but not dripping, hold the machine on its highest setting against the stencil repeatedly in small bursts, and pull it off when i think its done.

One thing I do is to move the marking pad around alot. Sometimes i push from the edge, the corner, etc. I envision that my goal is to get the solution through the stencil and I act as though I am actually trying to paint the solution into the stencil as I am marking.

For the people having trouble, are you 100% sure that every single hint of scale from HT is gone? I "wash" my stencil area with ferric cloride right before etching to look for scale and sometimes its surprising to "see" scale or decarb layers still on the ricasso even after all the levels of hand sanding. I know that trying to etch those areas leaves a crappy mark.

Marking damascus is also something i've never had perfect results with, but I suppose thats to be expected.....
 

John Andrews

Well-Known Member
I have the + machine and it works fine for me. I do a cycle of etch and then a cycle of mark.

I still have the orginal roll of stencil material that came with my machine. I write my signature with a ballpoint pen on a piece, and than stencil it. It does an OK job but it would be better to get some good stencils from Ernie.
 
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