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Machining Student Turns Classroom Project into Sought-After Art

Marcos Duran has become quite skilled with an engraving machine
Machining Student Turns Classroom Project into Sought-After Art
Marcos using a microscope for his engraving project.

Mar 03, 2020

In the Machine Tool Technology classroom earlier this week, most students were working on the large mills you may be familiar with. But way in the back, one student was peering into a microscope, which seemed a little out of place.

Turns out that student, Marcos Duran, was working on a special engraving project. He’d already built the assigned aluminum block meant to hold hex keys, but then went the extra mile to draw up a design and start engraving it into the metal.

“Engraving makes everything more personal,” Marcos says. “It gives objects beauty and personality.”

Before enrolling at CNM, Marcos started a small business where he makes custom knives and then engraves them with his designs. He came to CNM because he wants to improve his machine skills so he can eventually make custom, single-shot rifles after he graduates. Those rifles will also be engraved.

Photo of Marcos using a rotary tool to remove the background on his engraving project.
Marcos uses a rotary tool to remove the background on his engraving project.

“He’s really been going above and beyond,” says Marcel Hesch, one of Marcos’ instructors in the Machine Tool Technology program.

Marcel says he’s excited to see Marcos taking the initiative because there’s a large market for machinists who can also do engraving work. In addition to metal, Marcos says he engraves other outdoor items like fly fishing rods.

Engraving isn’t a class offered by CNM, but Marcel thinks there’s room down the road. If so, he’d quickly contact Marcos and tell him to apply as an instructor.

“Marcos is really talented and would make a great candidate,”  he says.

Photo of a mill vice stop that Marcos engraved.
A mill vice stop that Marcos engraved.