Engrave-A-Crete Tools | Super Compact Part 6

This is a continuation (Part 6) of an introduction to the Super Compact — including it’s capabilities.

In this video, you learn to cut brick patterns into existing concrete.

This is part 11 of an on-going series on Decorative Concrete, and is taken from the DVD Mastering Concrete Engraving, The Basics.

Soldier courses are used in circular brick patterns to control the overall maximum brick length and to enhance visual appeal. A soldier course may be placed in the design anywhere. Typically, when close in to the center pivot, a soldier course should be inserted each six to eight brick rows. As you get farther away from the center pivot, a soldier course can be added after every 8-12 brick rows.

To make space for a 12 inch brick soldier course, index out three holes. Insert the T pin and tighten the star knob. Additionally, before beginning this cut, visually check that the engraver is correctly located 12 inches away from the last groove. Generally, complete all of the long bed cuts before proceeding to the head cuts.

Let’s get set up to make head joint cuts. Disconnect the engraver from the power. Remove the clamp lock. Disconnect the riser block from the engraver. Rotate the engraver 90 degrees and reattach the riser block.

To give the connecting bar stabilizer room to float, slide the riser block up about 1/8 inch just before tightening the star knob. Change the stroke length of the primary connecting bar to make a 12 inch soldier course by adjusting the stop collars that are located on the shaft inside the primary connecting bar.

Using the 9/64 inch hex T handle, loosen the two collars. Do not put your fingers in the slots; they could get pinched. Push the engraver out until the collars contact the rear collar. Re-tighten the screws.

Visually check to see that the blade will cut exactly between the long bed cuts. In the front end rear, there should be about a 1/8 inch gap between the blade and the far sides of the bed cuts.

Initially, it is better to have the gap too wide. A wide gap will produce an undercut, which is much better than an over-cut. Later, after making some cuts, the stop collars can be dialed in exactly as needed.

Using the second hole from the top of the plunger block, attach the rigid pointer system. Position the engraver over the soldier course space. As a point of reference, the contour following wheel axle is in line with the motor spindle, which is also the center of the blade.

Visually, when the contour following wheel is near the inner bed cut, it is close to the starting point of the head cuts. Clip a reminder flag to the four inch soldier course pointer. Steady the engraver by holding your feet against the stabilizer wheels.

Start the cut by pressing down on the engraver handlebar. Push the engraver out to the end of the stroke. At the end of the stroke, let up on the handlebar. The blade automatically springs out of the cut.

Pull the engraver backwards. Move the engraver to the right. Aim the four inch soldier course pointer at the groove you just made. Steady the engraver with your feet. Make another cutting cycle. Press down, push out, let up, pull back, move to the right.

When aiming at a cut line with a pointer, you should be centered over the engraver. If you alter the viewing angle, the width of the brick will change.

As you may have already figured out, if we continue cutting around the circle, the last brick will likely be an odd size. To visually decrease the impact of multiple odd sized bricks, we will determine a delaying point measurement.

Make a minimum of nine cuts, a total of eight bricks. Measure the distance from the point of the top arc across eight bricks to the other point of the arc. This distance is called the cord length, or simply, the cord. We use the cord length of eight bricks as a delaying point measurement to simplify the calculation.

The number eight is divisible to one by dividing it in half three times. Transfer that measurement to the left side of the bricks. This is called the delaying point. To remind yourself of the delaying point being there, lay something on it.

Continue cutting. Delay engraving at the delaying point marker. Complete whichever cut will be the closest to the delaying point. It does not matter if the last cut falls before or after the delaying point mark.

It does, however, determine whether the remaining bricks are going to be slightly wider or narrower than the other bricks in that soldier course. Measure and divide the remaining space in half. Divide those two halves in half. Then, divide those four sections in half again.

Move the pointer flag to the center pointer. Finish the remainder of the cutting by pointing to the marks using the center pointer. In a circular or arcuate pattern, insert soldier courses as often as you like, but generally, put one in at least every 8 to 12 brick courses.