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Winfried 04-27-12 03:13 PM

Dremel + template to engrave label on aluminum frame?

I got my commuter bike engraved with a security number so that authorities can check against a database in case it's stolen and retrieved, but the association that handles this only engraves a number which can pass for the manufacturer's serial number.

To make sure unsuspecting buyers don't end up buying a stolen bike, I'd like to engrave the URL to that site, and someone recommended I just get a Dremel drill and a template:

If someone's used that tool to engrave labels on an aluminum frame, can it be done even without any experience, and does it look good enough so that the bike won't lose resell value?

Thank you.

Velo Dog 04-27-12 04:04 PM

Couple of things, all more or less guesses, so feel free to ignore...
I have a similar tool, at least 30 years old and not a Dremel but same idea. It's pretty hard to control--you can mark anything with it, but it tends to dance and chip hard materials, and anything I write looks like it was done by a 90-year- old. Never used it with a template, though. That might help.
I'm leery of scratches and dents on aluminum frames. You probably won't do significant damage, but every mark is a potential stress riser. You can minimize that by putting the marks in a low-stress area, but still...
Note that the tool you linked to isn't a drill, but an engraver--the tip goes in and out. It's going to knock off chips of paint as it marks the metal. The aluminum won't rust, but it may look crappy if that matters to you.
And why does everybody worry about resale value? A bike isn't an investment, it's a toy or a tool. Use it and enjoy it.

Winfried 05-05-12 02:34 AM

Thanks much for the infos. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea. I'll just leave it as is, then.

fietsbob 05-06-12 12:37 AM

Vibrating engravers are usable for that, but have in mind the thickness you are working with
And the stress riser to crack tendency aluminum exhibits..

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