Dog Tag Maker: For Fun and Profit


Replica dog tags for Medal of Honor recipient and OV-10 pilot Capt. Steven L. Bennett rest on a workstation at Hurlburt Field, Florida, Aug. 29, 2019. Bennett received the Medal of Honor for heroic actions performed while flying an artillery adjustment mission in Vietnam in June of 1972. Newly printed dog tags were presented to Bennett’s daughter, Angela Bennett-Engele after the original dog tags went missing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Lynette M. Rolen)

Given the steady rise of commercial dog tag websites, it is clear that the popularity of personalized dog tags for people is growing. Personalized from individuals to businesses, dog tags are being used to promote a variety of events, from birthdays and weddings to new business products and special events. Unlike finding dog tags online, dog tag making machines can be a bit more difficult for two reasons. There are few vendors and many models available from manual to automatic can seem confusing to beginners. Here we want to solve the challenge of choosing the right dog tag machine for your home or web-based dog tag business.

The dog tag making machines covered in this article are machines that stamp letters, numbers, and some special characters on a metal surface to create a raised (embossed) or lowered (debossed) effect. These dog tags are known and used as military dog tags. Army after World War I. Up to 15 characters per line and up to 5 lines per dog tag can be embossed using standard-size fonts (the same as you would see on a credit card). The speed at which this is done depends on the machine itself. The military dog tag is made of stainless steel and features a top rolled edge. Measures 1.25″ x 2.0″ and 0.03″ thick. Available in glossy and matt (dull) finishes and brass. Color coated dog tags are now available. Be careful with these colored tags as they can sometimes change color. Stamping It peels off during the process Some progress is being made to produce more durable color coatings to withstand the stamping process Custom dog tags are sold in sets or as single tags on long (24″-30″) ball chains A set consists of two tags, one long chain and one short 4″ chain.


A rubber dog tag silencer can be included in the set or offered as an option. Ball chains can be purchased on spools or pre-cut to length. If the spool is present, the connector must be purchased separately. The ball chains most commonly used for custom dog tags consist of a 3mm diameter bead and are either nickel-coated brass or stainless steel. Additional dog tag accessories and options include split rings for keys and rubber dog tag silencers. The most commonly used split rings are 3/4″ and 1″ wide. Initially, the rubber silencers were only available in black. A wide variety of colors are now available, from traditional to vibrant tones. Custom military dog tags and dog tag supplies are widely available online. As with anything online, prices vary from website to website, so choose your supplier wisely.

The two main types of dog tag machines are manual and automatic. Prices vary from around  2,000 for an entry-level manual machine to around 20,000 for a high-volume automatic feeder. In addition to military dog tags, many of these machines can accept metal plates of various sizes, shapes and thicknesses. Here, we explain the pros and cons of both types of dog tag machines, and provide tips on where to find the best deals online.

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