Anodized aluminum thick enough for a guitar body / neck support

So yes, I’ve searched and frankly I’m not sure what I’m looking at or for so I’m going to shamelessly ask for some guidance.

I’ve got a buddy who made his own guitar and wanted to engrave the metal piece on the back where the neck joins the body. There are 4 screws going from the top down to the back, and this piece offers some strength. The current piece is chrome’d steel, obviously NOT engravable, but I’ve read all over the forums where people have had great luck with anodized aluminum.

My issue isn’t finding the aluminum, there’s lots of threads with links, and research on the web will warrant some interesting finds. My issue is ensuring I can get stuff that will mark (I understand you’re essentially burning away the anodized layer (or I think that’s what’s happening)) and is thick enough.

I think this will work:

But I’d like to find that exact same thing in black or grey if possible, if not I’d want to ensure that’s going to engrave. No worries about cutting it or drilling holes, that’s what my bandsaw / drill press are for.

I think strength wise, it’ll be fine at 1/8" thick.

Thanks in advance!

No, that will not mark. That is clear anodize, meaning there is no dye to ablate. You will need a color anodized piece, where dye is added during the anodization process to provide the color. The laser burns away the dye, leaving clear anodize behind.
Black anodized sheet should work fine, gray will work but may be hard to see depending on the shade of gray.

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If you just want black engraving on the chrome steel you could use something like Cermark or the equivalent to mark on the original metal.

Recommended substrates:
LMM6038 can be used on a variety of bare or plated metal substrates with smooth finishes or high polish surfaces. The following list is made up of substrates on which LMM6038 works.

High-polish Stainless Steel
Chrome Plating

Nickel Plating

Lasers that work:
LMM6038 works equally well with CO2 and solid state lasers.

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So - Cermark on the original piece, and then use the GF to burn off what I don’t want?

Good to know - yes, Black is what I’m shooting for, just can’t seem to find it.

You might want to use the search function to look into what others have done with marking steel with additives. Cermark sticks only where the laser hits, similar to toner on a laser printer.

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No. You spray Cermark (there are also other products) on the material and where the laser burns it marks the metal. It is a black, non raised, printing that is very durable. Actually does some sort of molecular bonding to the material.

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Gotcha - watched that video and it explained it perfectly. So good to know!!!

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Given the stuff is called “Cermark” I’d guess (because I’m too lazy to go look at their website and see if they say) it’s ceramic (“Ceramic” and “Mark”) and the laser is simply baking it on to and binding it to the metal. If you sprayed the metal and put it in an oven I bet it would “mark” the entire surface. Lasering is just “firing” the ceramic in a very controlled way. Then what hasn’t been “fired” simply wipes off afterward. Since it’s basically a liquid film, what’s left doesn’t perceptibly have a raised surface, but if you had an accurate enough measurement tool it’d be clear that it’s a layer on top of the metal. Doesn’t make it any less useful, of course, but I don’t think it can actually etch away any metal.

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