I recently decided to make my purchase of the Chomas Etching Tool for my Silhouette Cameo. This is something I had known about for months but was debating whether or not to get it. I wasn’t sure how well it would work…after all the machine is primarily known to cut paper and vinyl…(thin) materials…so how could it possibly engrave or etch metal. But a recent post I saw pop up in my feeds reinforced the idea this tool was something I had to get my hands on to test out for myself.
What is a Chomas Etching Tool and what will it do?
The engraving tip does not require any other special pieces to work. No special mats either, just use your original Silhouette mat.
It will engrave or etch on pretty much anything you would normally cut! The tip is made of a very hard carbide.
Works best on metal sheets, Core’dinations cardstock, acrylic, plastic sheets, vellum, and some metal surfaces. It must fit under the rollers in the Silhouette machine to work. Engraving tip does not require the embossing mat, you just need your original Silhouette mat.
Made in the USA! Runs about $30 with shipping costs.
The original website I viewed in regards to selling and knowledge of this blade is shown below:
There are 2 Versions for this blade…soon to be 3 and now a blunt option.
The one for Silhouette Cameo and Portrait can be found here. – (Chomas Creations engraving tip can be used for the Silhouette, Silhouette SD, Portrait, Cameo, KNK Zing & the Wishblade.)
I actually purchased mine off of Amazon found here with the following description. There’s no reason to why I choose purchasing here over the original site other than I was already purchasing a bunch of items from Amazon when I had placed this order.
- Use in many electronic cutting machines, including Silhouette,
- KNK, Pazzle, Xyron Wishblade, and Cricut EXCEPT the Cricut EXPLORE models
- Etches/Engraves metal, metal clay, more
- Carbide Tip, Aluminum Housing / Made in the USA
- See description below for more detailed information
I’m pretty sure when I discovered this tool for the first time it was from Silhouette School from her post found here.
As always this has a wonderful tutorial on how to use the tool, however I found this tutorial by SilhouetteTutor.com.
She has a ton of pictures that makes it very easy to follow to get everything just right to start utilizing this tool right away. For me it was this image that was my deciding factor to go ahead and make the plunge as you can see it’s much clearer and defined. Here are the highlights of what I’ve learned along the way and my overall review and pros and cons. Another difference between the two tutorials is this one is without using the Pixel Cut mat and using your standard mat. Which I prefer because there are less steps involved in my opinion.
After doing my first engraving….I found that I had mixed feelings on what I saw as my end result. It’s a very thin etched line. So thin in fact on my first cuts depending on the angle the design that is cut almost disappears. Mind you though I’m coming from a background of using Metal Stamping tools to stamp designs and fonts into metal. So this was a completely different look than what I was used to seeing on my metals.
I also tested doing Multiply passes on the machine on single cut design…I did this 20 times (10 double cuts) on one of my designs. IMPORTANT! As long as you do not remove the mat and blank you can run the design trace as many times you’d like. However, I felt it wasn’t worth the extra runs. To be honest it didn’t make the marking any thicker but a bit deeper. I’m not sure that it helps with the overall visual clearness of the pieces when it’s complete. You also have to know that any of these can only ever be the outline and never be filled in designs. I did try on the camera design to do 3 very close inset passes to attempt to make the line appear thicker. For my next runs I will see what it would look like to have lines placed in as a fill look to see how that works such as placing in diagonal lines. The 3 smaller insets did help some but wasn’t as clear looking as I like.
However I do see they have a new “Blunt Tool” to widen your etch lines with this new blunt tip engraving tool. Smooth out your fills and make a more pronounce line without doing offsets and insets. (Looks like I’ll be making yet another purchase to test out how well this Widening works.) That tool can be found here.
One upside to this is the fact that you are able to cut on BOTH sides of these charms. The charms that I had from my prior jewelry business I ran years ago I was only able to ever stamp on on side being that it would always mark up the backside. Here all of these are cut on both sides without an issue. The KMN initials has the deer head on the backside.
Being that it’s using Silhouette Studio software…You can literally place any design or wording that is outline friendly. Which in the jewelry business is big…being that I spent thousands of dollars on fonts and design metal stamps that I hammered into the metal. So custom charms can literally be whatever a person would want to be personalized for which makes for amazing opportunities and endless possibilities.
Oh here is a super helpful tutorial on how to scale an image you create to exact size. In this case I had measured my discs and wanted to create a circle precisely the size of what I measured. You can find that tutorial here.
Common Questions I’ve come across:
Will this work for Silhouette Cameo and Portrait?
Yes. You just need to make sure whatever medium you use it fits under the rollers.
What kind of blanks are you using how big are they?
The disks I used above are fairly thin only a 24 gauge and 2 sizes 9/16″ and 1/2″ in diameter…they are copper plated with gold or silver. I purchased these years ago and will have to do some research as to where it was I found them originally. I know I’ve purchases these off of Etsy. I have larger quantities of them that I bought wholesale but not recommended to purchase from because of high shipping cost so wouldn’t be cost effective unless you were buying huge quantities.
How do you not make the pieces slide around and do you use a normal mat?
I did use the standard thing Silhouette Studio mat…the one plus side with them being so thin. As explained in both tutorials I used contact paper upside down with the backing on top. After measuring my blanks…I placed the pieces of contact paper where it would cut according to the placement on my screen. I made the exact replica size disks on my screen and then did a cut (vinyl settings) with offset a smidge bigger than the original circle to insure the disk fitting on the inner portion of the cut out circle. After removing the cut backing part of the contact paper I know Exactly where to place the disks. The contact paper should be sticky enough to hold the disk in place after pressing firmly over the blank onto the mat.
Is this a Silhouette Tool?
No. It’s a third party tool custom made to work and fit for the Silhouette and other cutting machines. Ultimately can void any warranties if using this and does any damages to your machine. There is however a Silhouette version of this Etching Tool…you can find this post on the comparison results here. Her findings show the Chomas tends to have a better etch.
Can you darken lines with a sharpie?
I do this with my metal stamps however I have not tried this yet…I’ve thought about it but I don’t know how well it will work. You will need Polish pads to take excess marker off once you’ve done it if this is something you want to try. I’m not sure if it would benefit the markings or not. I will try this and come back here with the results.
***I tried this and was not at all pleased with the results. It actually had no benefit to doing this…it looks pretty bad not to mention it took off the color plating of the blanks. The lines are simply to thin to make a difference by filling them with a dark color.
Will it fill in open areas?
No…this is only for cut outline areas. I did however place 3 inset lines on one to try to give the image a thicker line look. I am wanting to try placing in several close together diagonal lines in fill areas and see if this would work to give the appearance of a filled in area. I will report back here once I have tried.
Correction YES You CAN & it’s INCREDIBLE the Difference it makes!!!! Follow this video here: https://www.screenr.com/AkZ7
What settings did you use?
I placed cutting tool to “Pen Tool”
Settings to be:
Speed – 8
Select Double Cut
That’s all I have for now. I plan on creating a video on how I go about doing this and really how simple this tool is to use. It’s really not as intimidating as you might think. I also have plans on testing out different metals…aluminum and even sterling silver being that these are much softer metals.
Hope Everyone finds this helpful! Have a blessed Day!