What is an engineer's scriber?

     
     
 Shop for Engineer's Scribers 
     
     
 Engineers pocket scriber 

An engineer's scriber, or scribe as it used to be called, is a tool used to mark or scribe a guide line onto a workpiece prior to it being machined. 

 
     
 Scribe at work 

The name scriber comes from the word scribe, which itself comes from the Latin word scriba, which was a person who would write, engrave or inscribe documents.

 
     
 Aluminium work piece being marked with a scriber 

Engineer's scribers are used to mark guidelines onto a workpiece before it is to be machined. They are most commonly used to mark out metal work pieces due to their advantages over other marking methods on this type of material.

 
     
   

Engineer's scribers vs. pens and other marking tools

 
 Pocket scriber being used to mark out a metal workpiece that has a covering of engineers ink 

Engineer's scribers are used instead of pens or pencils as scribed lines are shallow scratches that can't be smeared or rubbed off. 

 
     
 Different marking out lines on a piece of aluminium 

Other advantages of scribers over other marking tools are the lines they make are far thinner so they are more accurate and marking ink can be used with scribed lines to make them more visible.

 
     
 Lines made with a scriber are more permanent than other lines so are harder to remove  

Disadvantages of using a scriber

The disadvantages of scribers over other marking tools are that the lines they make can't easily be removed, without grinding or polishing. This means scribers are not always the best tool for marking out an area of the workpiece that will be visible in the finished part.

 

This also means it's very important when using a scriber to make sure your measurements are correct before you scribe the workpiece.

 
     
   

Engineer's scribers vs. carpenter's scribing tools

 
 Engineers scriber being used to mark out a metal workpiece 

Engineer's scribes have a sharp point that may be made of tool steel, hardened steel or occasionally diamond, enabling them to scribe lines on hard surfaces such as metal . Whereas, a carpenter's scriber is only designed to mark wood or soft materials.

 
     
 Selection of different scribing tools used by carpenters 

Engineer's scribers look similar to pens, whereas a carpenter's scribe can take many different forms. Carpenters' scribes will often mark the workpiece with a pencil line instead of a metal pointed tip. Carpenters' scribers are most commonly used to transfer the contours of one surface to another in order to achieve an accurate fit.

 
     
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