Yes,made my own.It's needed if you work under a scope. To answer all your other questions: I use a graver mach air graver,and Lindsay sharpening fixture. I'm making a traditional engravers sample plate at the moment,which could be use to take a print from,but I havent made one specifically. I'm trying to make something that will sell for enough for the time it takes me to engrave.I used to do OK with engraved coins,but they have fizzled out lately.
Oh, fascinating. Rookie question: how is an air-powered engraving tool different from just a regular burin? How does it make engraving easier? What sort of optical device do you use to view the coins so closely?
The air graver makes the learning process 90% easier. I've only been engraving seriously for 14 months,but have but some serous practice into it. I use a used bausch and lomb microscope,which is good enough to do anything,but I am on the look out for an upgrade. Almost any used scope you buy will need to be dismantled and cleaned,and getting it lined up after is a learning process. If you can try before you buy,then its worth paying good money for.