Concrete use



Hi, I am a Master’s degree student in civil engineering and I talked about the Glowforge to my director and a research technician, triyng to interest my faculty in the product. They had a question if all type of metal plates (steel all grades, stainless steel, aluminium) and concrete slab could be engraved on in the glowforge.

I am pretty sure that the glowforge isn’t designed for that and you probably didn’t tested it, but based on your laser engraving/ cutting experience, could it be done?


Anodized metals can be engraved, and non-anodized can be engraved through the use of a treatment called CerMark.

Not sure about concrete.


darn you chad I was just typing a replay in a you showed up with basically what I was going to say <3

there has also been some REALLY cool effects on Ti for marking


I think in this context, “engraved” means “marked.”


I will second what has been mentioned. Also, If you do a quick search this topic has come up in a couple of discussions. It would be worth doing.


As stated above, anodized or powder coated metals can be etched by removing the layer of material its coated in. By using cermark, they can be marked whereas the laser reacts with the coating and leaves a permanent mark.
I have shallow etched concrete in my large format laser, but the size constraints of the Glowforge would only allow about a 1/2" slab thickness.


Or up to 2" with tray removed, right?


Technically yes since you are not cutting and don’t need the honeycomb.:grinning:


It’s essentially for marking tests sample pre or post test. Is there specific testing standard to know which metal are acceptable?


I have used cermark to etch/mark all these (well maybe not all grades of steel but several)
I’m not clear on what you are trying to do though so not sure if I answered your question.


Just make a box using wood. engrave the wood backwards, and on the inside panels. Pour in the concrete and let it dry?


The problem is that engraving pretest modifies the properties of the test
sample (which is a standard cylinder usually) so it was more for after the
test. Or for the test identification plates. Thank you all for the answers,
it will help to sell the glowforge to my university.

Simon Boucher ing. jr.


Does pretest engraving actually modify the properties enough to make a difference? Worth testing?


For academic research, I wouldn’t take the risk for the data to be
questioned because of that. Probably not, but to have a big enough
engraving in the wood to create something readable on the concrete once
poured, I would be quite a big mark.

Simon Boucher ing. jr.


As a general rule “metal” is a no-go for lasers that use CO2 lasers, like Glowforge. As mentioned, anodized aluminum can be “marked” and titanium can also be “marked” (it can sorta be engraved if you’re willing to wait a really long time). “Bright” (uncoated) aluminum basically acts as a mirror for CO2-generated lasers (this is my understanding anyway), so you’re basically out of luck on that front. I highly doubt that bright steel is mark-able (regardless of alloy), though I haven’t tried it myself. Concrete… hmmm…

There’s another CO2 laser on the market (“Full Spectrum Lasers” H-Series) that doesn’t have a bottom on the machine. The idea here is that you can take the machine and put it on top of something that you want to engrave. In other words, you can take the machine to the work instead of taking the work to the machine. My uncle was a Kickstarter backer for that laser and he said one of the possible uses for it would be to put the machine down on the sidewalk and engrave something onto it. Kind of a cool idea! I think my uncle was not too happy with the machine that he received, but I don’t recall the issues he had.

If that’s possible with they Full Spectrum CO2 laser it seems like engraving (“marking”) concrete might be possible with a Glowforge too.


Oops, I forgot to add this even though I meant to…
As @smcgathyfay mentioned, all kinds of different materials can be marked, permenantly, if you precoat them with Cermark. It seems like at that point you’re basically marking the Cermark, not the material underneath. Seems like a cool product that I hope to try some time.

I went outside and grabbed a piece of concrete, made up a little fixture to keep it flat, and threw it in my CO2 laser engraver. I’ve actually already forgotten the settings I used (100% power and 280mm/sec, I think) but since my laser isn’t as powerful as either Glowforge model will be (mine is 30 watt, Glowforges are either 40 or 45 watt) I’d say you’re “golden” when it comes to marking concrete.

Sorry I cut the test short, I’ve already reflected my laser beam up into my lid once this week, I didn’t want to do it again so I stopped it after it moved over to the piece of aluminum.


C O2 lasers can only mark coated metals. A fiber laser can engrave metals or very thin sheets of metal. But a fiber laser can not mark most of the materials a CO2 laser can. It has to do with power and frequency of the light emitted. At least that’s the best answer I have been given


Was it very thin glass?


The lid? The lid of this laser cutter is actually made of acrylic (or some other transparet plastic).


Sorry I mean the black surface of the concrete :slightly_smiling_face: