ALUMINUM ALLOY vs ANODIZED ALUMINUM

I’m on Amazon looking for aluminum blanks to run a few test etches to see if I can make business cards and I found:

Will the aluminum alloy work on the GF? Explain it to me like I’m 5

The $0.15 each ones say: "The surface is painted and colored.". The 10x more expensive $1.50 each ones seem to be anodized aluminum in various colors, something that the Glowforge’s laser can probably etch.

No telling what’s in the paint on the cheaper ones or how it would react to a laser. Might work, but if I were you, I’d figure out what’s in the paint, which a laser may or may not remove cleanly with or without a “dumpster fire” and/or noxious gases. :fire: Experimentation would be required. :sunglasses:

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According to the comments on Amazon people have lasered these aluminum alloy blanks. I personally wouldn’t think twice about using them.

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Aluminum alloy means a mix of aluminum and other metals. Pretty much every aluminum on the market is an alloy; pure aluminum isn’t very useful. Anodized aluminum is aluminum alloy that has been treated to create a layer of aluminum oxide on its surfaces. That oxide layer is then dyed and sealed.
When we laser anodized aluminum, the heat from the laser ablates the dye, leaving behind the aluminum and its anodized layer.

Note that while you are using the engrave process most likely that no material is being removed, so this isn’t an actual etching process.

If the surface is actually painted and this paint is being removed, that will be an etching process since the laser is removing the material of the paint.

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In my experience its not just about aluminum alloy vs anodized aluminum, its also about the source /vendor. I am redoing a trophy right now and so I ordered in a few different samples to try of anodized aluminum. Here are the results from engraving the silver, black, gold, and blue anodized aluminum plates from custom engraving plates:

Meanwhile, this is the results from engraving a black anodized aluminum sheet from OnlineMetal in comparison with the custom engraving black one

The custom engraving ones do have a lot better result but the onlinemetal one came in the bigger size I needed. Here is a link to both those vendors:

https://customengravingplates.com/anodized-aluminum-engraving-plates/

Home this helps!

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Good reply; worthy of a bookmark.

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I’m working on a write up that will go into settings and all :slight_smile: hopefully finishing up this trophy this week and then was going to post all the details.

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Thank you! This was helpful

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