What do Etchers and Engravers Do?
Etchers and engravers are found in many different areas, including funeral services, photography centers, jewelry stores or manufacturers, and metal and word working companies. These employees are responsible for engraving or etching words, designs, or patters on various materials, such as metal, wood, glass and resins.
Etchers and Engravers Skills and Abilities
You must have great customer service and time management skills no matter where you work as an etcher and engraver. You need to be able to listen carefully to determine customer’s needs, but you also need to be able to understand instructions. Communication skills are key to ensuring information is passed correctly and effectively. Technical skills you are required to have include operation monitoring, clerical, production and processing, and electronic programming. The physical skills you need to have include control precision and hand steadiness as you create sensitive images.
Etchers and Engravers Duties
Your job as an etcher and engraver revolves around cutting images into various materials. This means you must work with engraving and etching machines and metals, woods or resins. You position any rollers, plates or workpieces and fasten them for accuracy. You will be responsible for programing and controlling machine settings. After the image is complete, you will need to determine if the image has any rough areas, burrs or other irregularities. You may also be responsible for these duties:
- Determine and measure dimensions and spacing of designs, letters or patterns.
- Begin the automatic etching process by turning on the machine and lower the cutting arm to the material’s surface.
- Adjust cutting tool and stylus for most accurate cutting.
- Dilute acids in water according to etching formulas.
- Clean materials of all chemicals, wax or enamels.
- Create printed proofs and modify plans accordingly.
- Create a transfer image on material to be etched.
- Monitor and guide the cutting arm by using a stylus to duplicate the design.
- Use special paste to increase the legibility of letters.
Etchers and Engravers Tools and Technology
You will need to use quite a few tools to complete your duties as an etcher and engraver. Adjustable wrenches, brushes, grinders, and knives assist in placing an image and removing unwanted material or coating. The largest tool you will use is the engraving machine itself. The material you engrave will dictate which engraving machine you will use. Software programs are necessary on the job, as well. Computer aided manufacturing systems let you engrave electronically, while photo imaging software produces image reductions and proofs.
Education and Training for Etchers and Engravers
If you only have a high school diploma, you are in the largest education percentage in the etcher and engraver field. Many have completed some college, including finishing degrees. Courses in graphics communication are helpful for the position. You can expect to receive a moderate level of on-the-job training.
Etchers and Engravers Salary
Starting out, you can expect to make just above minimum wage. The bottom 10 percent of etchers and engravers bring home about $9.00 an hour, while the top 10 percent earn more than $22.00 an hour. The medium rate of pay is $14.00 an hour. Location can be a determining factor when it comes to how high or low your wages will be. Connecticut, Missouri and North Carolina pay their employees a few dollars more an hour than the median national average. Arizona, Arkansas and Iowa pay several dollars an hour less than the median national average.
Etchers and Engravers Jobs by Geography
When it comes to the number of positions available across the country, the numbers are fairly low. Only 9,700 jobs currently exist. There is a predicted 4 percent decrease over the next several years for this position, with a projected 230 job openings per year. Location may give you a better chance at finding employment. Texas has almost a thousand jobs and expects to increase that number by just over 15 percent over the years.