Aluminum or anodized aluminum?

Hi everyone! I just bought some dog tags to try aluminum engraving but all the videos and pictures I saw had a non shiny look… the ones I got are very shiny… does this mean they are not anodized? Not sure what the difference is and can’t find any discussions about engraving “shinny looking aluminum”. Question is… will it hurt the glowforge? Any one has engraved something like it?

You won’t see anything on non-anodized aluminum, the laser can’t really engrave the metal.

If you engrave silver anodized aluminum, your contrast will be very low. You’re better off getting a colored anodization, black, red, etc. The laser blows the color away and you get silver engraves on the color background.

The or for sourcing.

Search the forum for “anodized engraving” and you’ll find a lot of posts showing you what you can expect.

Here’s one I did.


But don’t lose hope – there are also lots of posts about using Cermark or cheaper alternatives to be able to mark on non-anodyzed stuff. :slight_smile:


Not sure you’d get a good mark on aluminum with cermark. I couldn’t get a mark with dry moly on aluminum anyway. You could always spray paint them though and the engrave would remove the paint in those areas.


If you happened to have bought a a lot of non-anodized stuff, you can also anodize it yourself in whatever color you choose. It’s probably not worth the time and cost for a couple dog tags, but it’s a totally viable solution if you have a bunch of money already invested or a custom part you want to anodize. There are numerous web sites to choose from with DIY anodizing instructions and kits.


Thank you all very much!! I did buy a bunch of this bones and some other shiny tags a long time ago (while waiting for my glowforge) and found them as i was moving some stuff around… back then I didnt realize that you get the engraving by blowing away the color (that makes sense :sweat_smile: hehe). @geek2nurse @kanati @DFTC I will try some of the options you all suggested to anodize the tags myself :slight_smile: thanks!.. @evansd2 they look awesome thank you for sharing

Since this subject is still open I have one more question, If I would have used the non anodized tags does it hurt the glowforge? I have this idea that the laser shines back from the aluminum… If using anodized do you just place it as it is? no tape to cover the aluminum or anything?


Nope. The reflection isn’t harmful unless (possibly) it’s from copper. :slight_smile:

1 Like

That covers safety concerns including reflective materials. You can also search the forum for a lot of results regarding mirrors and such. :slight_smile:


Copper is the big one for being reflective, but I read chrome is also reflective to IR. As long as those aren’t shiny because they’ve been chromed you should be good to experiment.


This topic was automatically closed 32 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.