Burning a photo on anodized aluminum or stainless steel

I’ve seen some amazing work done on low wattage co2 lasers, where you burn away black anodizing to reveal art or a photo. Is someone in a position to try this? I’d really like to see how the glowforge handles it.


@karaelena has done a little anodized but I haven’t seen anything to the extent of that soldier, Wow.


Delicious contrast. I would think this should work, assuming whatever is coating it isn’t toxic when burnt off.

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Lasering anodized metals (most notably aluminum) is common practice. It’s pretty much one of those “this definitely works” things.


I started to say it’s something you can even do at home but after a quick google search I’d probably not recommend diy anodization. There’s some hazardous steps involved that maybe aren’t for the average maker


I have done some basic anodizing and if you are careful and use simple processes it is as safe as many other “maker” procedures.

There are commercial methods involving poisonous salts (selenium sealers) but you don’t have to go that way.
I use dilute sulfuric acid (i.e. battery acid). It is dangerous, but also manageable if you take safety precautions.

EDIT: I meant Nickel sealers. Nickel is a known carcinogen.


Good to know. I didn’t look much passed “ok so now pry open the car battery you picked up” :joy: but it’s something I would definitely be interested in trying down the road when I get to making aluminum parts

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This is a case where you are almost better off having done the anodizing yourself. If you are working with commercial materials you may be exposing yourself to whatever they dyed or sealed the Aluminum with. I am not saying it is definitely dangerous, and the quantities are probably minuscule, but educating yourself about the realistic risks is a good idea.


True. But for the adventurous… :wink:


Are some of the Make Your Own Dog Tag machines at pet stores using a CO2 laser? I have made tags for my dog with those things several times, and some of the machines certainly used a laser, but I haven’t a clue as to what type.


I thought they were using mechanical engravers not lasers. But a blue diode laser would certainly do the trick and not be much of a safety issue at all.


Some of them are mechanical engravers, I’ve used those as well.
A little poking around makes me think that the laser ones that I have used were more likely fibre.


This dog tag was made for me by our own lovely @smcgathyfay with one of her CO2 lasers.
Don’t know which one.


Thanks for the link, I didn’t find that in my search. Definitely going to 'forge all my Apple devices!

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That was made on the 30 wt. Just regular anodized aluminum dog tags from chewbarka.com