A power carver is an automatic handheld tool with a rotary motor on which you can attach various cutting bits to carve wood and other similar materials with ease.
Power carving tools offer intricacy, versatility, and precision while working on woodcarving projects. Furthermore, these are ergonomic tools that you can use for creating delicate curves and edges for personal or commercial craftwork (Source).
The best power carvers deliver powerful output with consistent control and precision. Furthermore, these machines should also be lightweight and ergonomic, so that your hand does not get tired even if you hold it like a pen. Top-rated power carving tools also possess interchangeable carving bits of various sizes and shapes.
Power carving tools have rotary motors with high RPMs (rotations per minute) to grind over wooden and other carving materials seamlessly. As you turn on the power supply, it rotates the bit. Upon bringing the bit closer to the surface, it keeps chipping off tiny pieces of the material – thus, letting you design the curves as you see fit (Source).
Power carvers are of two types – cordless, which give you complete freedom while carving, but limit consistency. The second one is corded that have a consistent power supply through a cable, but it reduces mobility.
In this review guide, we’ll examine the top-rated power carvers, their features, pros, and cons so that you can choose the right equipment wisely.
What is Power Carver?
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Power Carver?
- 2 Comparing the Best Power Carvers
- 3 1. Dremel 8220-1/28 12-Volt Max Cordless Rotary Tool Kit – Best Overall
- 4 2. GOXAWEE Rotary Tool Kit with MultiPro Keyless Chuck and Flex Shaft – The Most High-Speed Power Carver
- 5 3. General Tools 505 Cordless Precision Engraver with Diamond Tip Bit – The Best Cordless Power Carver
- 6 4. TACKLIFE Rotary Tool Kit – The Most Versatile Power Carver Tool
- 7 5. NoCry 10/125 Professional Rotary Tool Kit – The Most Lightweight Power Carver
- 8 Factors to Consider Before Buying a Power Carver
- 9 How To Use a Power Carver Tool
- 10 Ready to Use a Power Carver in Your Next Woodworking Project?
A power carver is essentially an electric rotary tool that may be used in an array of applications, depending on the type of attachment used. Such a tool may be used to grind away a thin layer of metal as well as in engraving, sanding and buffing different materials.
Power carvers feature an electric motor that is meant to power a bit or drum at high speeds to accomplish different carving tasks. With a high-precision electric Carver tool, you will be able to carry out such tasks as routing, engraving and carving wood, customizing furniture, and cutting designs in Terra cotta pots.
The best of these hand-held power tools are often used to make intricate cuts on an array of materials. Since the tools are not designed the same, you will find some that are best suited for carving metal, while others are perfect for engraving wood and stone.
Comparing the Best Power Carvers
|Dremel 8220-1/28 12-Volt Max Cordless Rotary Tool Kit|
|GOXAWEE Rotary Tool Kit with MultiPro Keyless Chuck and Flex Shaft|
|General Tools 505 Cordless Precision Engraver with Diamond Tip Bit|
|TACKLIFE Rotary Tool Kit|
|NoCry 10/125 Professional Rotary Tool Kit|
1. Dremel 8220-1/28 12-Volt Max Cordless Rotary Tool Kit – Best OverallVersatility is one of the things that make this unit a preferred power carving tool among professionals and DIY enthusiasts. In addition to various carving tasks, the unit may also be used for polishing, sanding and engraving applications.
To allow for this engraved versatility, the tool comes with 28 accessories and attachments to suit different applications. It may be used to carve or engrave an array of soft as well as hard materials. The high-speed cutters that come with the tool may be used for shaping, hollowing, grooving, slotting and making tapered holes in soft metals, plastics, and wood.
For shaping, smoothing and material removal, you should use the tungsten carbide cutters with the Power Carver. It is powered by a 12-volt Lithium-Ion Battery and comes with a fast charger that can charge it in under an hour. Its slim ergonomic body provides a 360-degree grip zone for control in any position.
2. GOXAWEE Rotary Tool Kit with MultiPro Keyless Chuck and Flex Shaft – The Most High-Speed Power CarverIf your project requires a high-speed power Carver, the maximum 30,000 RPM speed of this carve will come in handy. However, the tool allows to adjust to lower speeds, hence be able to work on various projects and materials.
For enhanced versatility, it comes with a total of 140 accessories and attachments that are suited for various application. This Goxawee power Carver features a Multi-purpose cutting bit and drill locator, rendering the tool versatile enough for different wood routing and carving tasks.
The unit is fitted with a 3-jaw keyless chuck, which allows for easy and quick changing of attachments. The tool is compatible with 1/64” to 1/8” shank attachments. Such aspects make this electric carve suits for an assortment of applications, including engraving, sanding, cutting and grinding tasks.
3. General Tools 505 Cordless Precision Engraver with Diamond Tip Bit – The Best Cordless Power CarverThis General Tools power Carver precision tool is powered by two AAA batteries. Even so, it delivers a powerful 20,000 RPM performance. As such, you will find it suitable for several light carving and engraving aspirations. For instance, the tool may be used to engrave plastic, metal and ceramic materials.
The unit features lightweight aluminum construction for easy control and enhanced durability. Its unique Tri-Lobe ergonomic grip will offer you the intuitive and comfortable engraving experience you need to produce professional-grade results on every project you undertake. The unit uses a standard 3/32″ diamond-tipped engraving bit.
For enhanced control of the power Carver, it features a safe fingertip controlled, conveniently positioned On/Off switch. The tool is designed to resemble a conventional pen do improved ease-of-use. This ergonomic design allows for an ergonomic grip as well as precise fingertip control; etching tool has a lightweight aluminum body.
4. TACKLIFE Rotary Tool Kit – The Most Versatile Power Carver ToolNot only does this tool offer a variable-speed performance, but also forms with about 80 accessories and 3 attachments to allow for enhanced versatility. The powerful motor used in this Carver delivers variable speeds of between 10,000 and 32,000, yet is rather quiet in operation.
The rotary tool kit includes a Flex shaft, which improves its flexibility, and makes your precise project more comfortable and relaxing. Shield provides perfect protection as you Carey out cutting and grinding projects.
Features a detailer grip that allows for enhanced carving precision and control of the tool on different project types. It is also equipped with an adjustable cutting guide. This guide allows you to alter the cutting depth offered by the tool. Such are the aspects that will maintain the perspective and stability on different carving projects.
5. NoCry 10/125 Professional Rotary Tool Kit – The Most Lightweight Power CarverThis may be one of the most expensive power carvers in this guide, but rest assured it offers a great value for money. The kit includes a collet nut, 3 collets, and a multi-chuck, a flex-shaft and an extendable stand, a precision handle, a cutting set, grinding / sanding, sharpening and cutting guides, a shield, and a pivot light.
Its heavy-duty 170W/1.4A motor is powerful enough to deliver variable speeds of between 8,000 and 35,000 RPM. Additionally, the 3-jaw chuck on the power Carver is compatible with several bits and attachments.
These are the attributes that make this NoCry power Carver suitable for carving and engraving different materials. For instance, it may be used on wood, plastic, drywall and tile, glass, and stone. The carve is also suited for engraving metals like steel, aluminum, brass or copper.
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Power Carver
Just as is the case with other types of power tools, power carvers come in a myriad of designs and vary in terms of features and capabilities. To help you make the right choice, here are some of the key considerations you need to make while shopping for one:
In corded Carver power tools, the power of the motor will mainly depend on its amperage. For the cordless models, the power of the motor depends on its voltage.
In order to choose the right motor power, you need o to consider the type and thickness of materials you will b using the tool on. If you will be using the tool primarily on wood, you should go for a minimal amperage rating of 1 amp.
For professionals who need a power Carver for Stine engraving projects, it is advisable for the ones rated 2 amps and above.
If the tool is to be used for metal engraving projects, the right amperage will depend on the metal type and thickness. If you wish be using the tool to engrave pewter or aluminum, a 2-amp power Carver will suffice.
Harder metals like stainless steel will require something beefier, say 5 amps, in order to make clean cuts and grooves. Thicker pieces like pipes or conduits would require a stronger motor to cut through. As for thin sheets or bars, a 2- or 3-amp motor would suffice.
Again, this will also depend on the type of material as well as the project you are working on. While working on a wood engraving or carving project, you will need a Carver that can deliver higher speeds as it is less likely to leave unsightly burn marks.
For enhanced versatility, it is advisable to go for the modern models that feature variable speed settings. Even with variable speed settings, power Carver tools meant for use on wood caving and engraving projects need to have a minimal speed of 5,000 RPM.
Wood engraving power tools should have a minimum speed of 4,000 RPM. With metal, grinding, cutting and engraving projects require different speeds.
For effective engraving that does not leave sharp marked, your preferred Carver should have a minimum speed of 10,000RPM. Cutting metal requires lower speeds, often between 3,000 and 5,000 RPM.
Most of the Carver engraving bits available are made of either steel or carbide tungsten materials. Though cheaper, high-speed steel (HSS) bits are less durable and full easily.
As such, the various steel bits are only suited for use on softer materials. Carbide bits, on the other hand, are comparatively more expensive.
However, these are more durable and do not dull as easily. If you do not use your rotary tool regularly, then HSS bits can actually be more cost-effective.
Then there are the diamond-tipped bits that are designed for engraving harder materials like concrete. Diamond-tipped bits offer enough strength and durability in engraving hard materials like concrete and stone without dulling the bit.
Bit/ Chuck Size
Power Carver tools meant for wood, stone or even metal engraving come in a myriad of chuck sizes. The size of the chuck on your ordered model will determine the size of bits it can take.
For enhanced versatility, it is advisable to go for one that is compatible with several bit sizes The diameter of the chuck, to some extent, determines the amount of the material it can remove per rotation.
The diameter of a bit can be as small as ¼ of an inch to as large as ¾. Larger bits remove more material but are not as easy to control as smaller bits. Smaller bits are suited for enhanced precision.
It is a good idea to get the largest chuck available that can clamp onto bits of all sizes. This is particularly important if you plan on using your rotary tool to create intricate designs as well as grind away rust.
Flex Shaft Attachment
Although a flex shaft attachment would be useful in any situation, it is particularly helpful when engraving stone. The odd shape of stone would make even the thinnest, most compact rotary tool a bit of a hassle to maneuver.
A flex shaft allows you to really get the diamond-tipped bit in the tiniest crevices without having to hold the rotary tool’s body at an awkward angle.
How To Use a Power Carver Tool
Carving with power-driven cutters of various types is infinitely faster of course than carving with hand-tools. Again, using a power Carver has been proven to be easier and more efficient than using traditional hand tools. However, you need to learn how to use the power tools properly for professional-grade results.
Here are a couple of tips to help you use a power carver tool correctly:
Choose the Material
As a beginner, you may need to stick to softwood as it is easier to carve and is less likely to break or chip. For better results, it is advisable to start with wooden pieces made from basswood, Pune or butternut.
You also need to ensure that the plank does not have any defects, warps or knots. The piece of wood should also be clean and dry.
Mapping Out the Design
To begin with, you need to trace out the design you would like to carve directly on the wooden piece, preferably freehand. Using a pencil, draw out the entire outline of the design.
You should mark any large portions you want to carve out with slanted lines. This will help you know the parts thanks need to be carved later on.
If working on dark wood, you may need to use a white pencil. If it is an existing object, trace its outline on a carbon paper and then transfer the image to the wood.
Clamping the Wood
Before you start working on it, you need to clamp the wood securely onto a flat and well-lit surface. Set the wood next to the edges of the working bench and secure it using a C-clamp, in such a way that nothing objects your cutting along the traced lines.
Depending on the size of the wood, you may need to use several clamps. Afterward, you need to wear the right safety gear, including safety glasses, work gloves, and a dust mask.
Preparing the Power Carver
Now attached a flexible shaft to the tool, which makes it easier to handle around various shapes. You should also attach the right bit month tool, depending on the type of project you are working on.
You should then proceed to set the tool to the right speed, depending on the type and thickness of the material you are cutting. If corded, plug the unit into a power outlet socket and start it.
For enhanced precision, while carving, you should hold the power carver in your hand as you would a pencil. Keep the fingers at least an inch above the rotating end of the tool.
In your hand, the tool should be positioned in such a way that the power switch faces upwards.
Now position the power carving bit about 30 to 45 degrees against the wood. Work in short and slow strokes in the direction of the wood grain.
The larger parts of the design should be curved out using a sabretooth bit. For the outlines and details, you should use a fluted carbide bit.
Diamond bits should be used to sand the edges and smooth the cuts out. While carving, you should take time to wipe away sawdust from the design of enhanced precision.
Ready to Use a Power Carver in Your Next Woodworking Project?
Ranging from the ornate religious carvings of medieval Europe to the carved totem poles of the Native Americans, the right tool will make your carving and engraving projects easier. Just as I the case with the five Carver tools reviewed above, get one that is powerful, customizable and versatile.
Regardless of your specific carving needs, this guide will help you choose the best power carver tools for your projects. But if you’re creating dovetail joints for your woodworking project, you better get one of the best dovetail jigs we’ve listed for you.