Adventures in Anodized Aluminium



Picked up some anodized aluminium dogtag blanks online so I could dial in engraving settings on something a few orders of magnitude cheaper than my fruit-branded electronics.

Although I didn’t get suckered into the “how many angels can be glowforged on the head of a pin” game, I had the idea that anodized aluminium would be able to support some tiny, tiny text.

Not quite in @henryhbk or @Jules league quite yet, but not bad…

Here are a few tags from the end of my test runs.

Both of these were PNGs…

For the record, the SUDO cartoon is courtesy Randall Munroe of XKCD, who released it under CC BY-NC 2.5, so I’m covered. :innocent:

The cat was an SVG, the the laughing Buddha was a JPG (because I stupidly forgot rule #1Never use a JPG for line drawings or clipart). Note the lines of compression artifacts. :unamused:

My first test project!
Weekly Highlights for the Week Ending May 6th, 2017

Wow, can’t believe how crisp the engraving is! I have a tiny piece of anodized aluminum but haven’t tried it yet.



Are those millimeters? Wow!


Those are 1/8" ticks, so ~3.5mm.




+1 for XKCD!


Nice! That is amazing.


Ha! I run into issue all the time!


Real nice testings! Thanks for sharing them!


Too bad the laser can’t cut the aluminum dog tag shapes from sheets (I wonder how many watts it takes to cut thin aluminum)


It’s not even about the watts as much as the wave length. I bet a relatively low wattage fiber laser can handle thin aluminum without a sweat


About 500w per a different thread.


Well closer to 3 mm (3.175)… :smiley:


Looking good. I like the idea of engraving the anodized aluminum. :slight_smile:


That is one cool cat.


Reminds me of those dog tag engraver vending machines back in the day. You would make a killing in the 90’s.


I use Anodized Aluminum and a Titanium scales in my jewelry on a regular bases. The company that makes them will engrave designs on them, but the minimum amount can be cost prohibitive when you want several different designs at one time and on different colors. This is what I was hoping I could do with my Glowforge.

I wonder how it would handle steel, as well. They produce blackened steel scales, by the way. Could Glowforge handle engraving on copper or bronze, as well. They also have polycarbonate scales. Each scale has a ridge going down the center. Would that affect the engraving? Would I need to do any prep to do so for any of the fore mentioned materials?

The possibilities are endless, especially since the sizes range from extra-large to tiny. Thank you for showing your work.


The glowfore can not engrave metal. What it’s doing in this instance is removing a colored finish from the surface of the metal. That is the most it will be able to do.


Was just in one of the local mom and pop stores. Saw a bunch of those stainless steel insulated tumblers with the WV logo on them ($39.95). Ya know, the type that are expensive from YETI but go for ~$8 for the Walmart version that I like better. The WV logo is copyrighted, but I still see some Cermark in my future. (Hmmm, but then there is that darn ~1.5" restriction.)