Engraving Concrete

I would like to engrave on concrete paver stones. I have searched the community but could not find a thread about this. Does anyone have any experience with this?

Be cautious as concrete holds moisture. It may not be a problem with a small amount of heat from the laser, but a welder would avoid working right on a concrete floor, as the heat can cause pieces of concrete to pop out due to water turning to steam.

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I suspect you can’t find info about it because it’s not a good candidate for the GF–the voids and aggregates that form concrete will likely leave very uneven results (even if no other risk), and rather wastes the accuracy and fineness that the laser is really appreciated for.

Even very fine concrete contains various sizes and types of stones and components and takes a lot of work to remove all the air–stepping stones usually are on the coarser side of the materials used and little attempt to remove air from the mix…

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I’ve done the “brick” type of paver stones. They’re not really concrete though, more cement - no aggregate in the mix, just concrete & sand.

I ran it on Full Power (Pro), speed 50 and multiple passes to get any depth. I tried masking it as well because I didn’t get much contrast. The material doesn’t really burn so it doesn’t change color. So I did the masking + spray paint to get black lettering. Turned out okay but not as crisp and clean as tiles or other materials. The masking doesn’t stay as tight to the surface so paint wicks up under it and ends up a little rough.

I still have a couple of them I use as doorstops. It didn’t turn out so well that I thought it was worth keeping at it. Especially trying to find <2" pavers. They tend to be thicker at the big box stores. Just too much trouble for not enough benefit :slight_smile:

BTW, tried full thickness ones in the Redsail (60W with 9" of Z travel) and didn’t get any better results. I think they need more power.

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I would agree with the others here in that using the laser directly on finished paver stones will prob not be the best use of your GF. Here is one thought for you: You could use the laser to design a mold out of wood with a broad design or letters that you could then in turn use to press fresh concrete mix INTO, and create a paver from. You may have to play around with raised or indented patterns, but you could end up making some very interesting items as a result.

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This is my first attempt, I think it came out okay, not great but I have three ordered since theoriginal post

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How does it hold up over time? I am considering doing something similar with my son for his Eagle Scout project as part of the fundraiser but wonder how long it will hold up. We are looking at just names. Thanks!

Love the scouting network! (I was a venture scout). In scouting projects I have helped with we usually use anodized aluminum plates with the glowforge. It turns out amazing and you can also set them into concrete if you want.

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Oh that’s not a bad idea. I think the location they want to fix up will be pavers but I wonder what the cost difference would be for concrete. Do you have a photo of the aluminum set in concrete? Does it hold up or make the walkway slippery? Not that it rains often here. :joy:

Hi Kristin, the first one I made I kept for myself and it has held up great. I put I out last year and it has stayed there over winter and still looks the same. Prior to putting it in the GF I coated it with a spray for paver stones to make it look wet. When it was dry then I barely scratched the surface to remove the layer of spray. Here is a pic of the paver one year later.

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That looks great!
O-H-I-O

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Hi there, I just stumbled across this thread and saw your OSU paver so I figured you might appreciate this sign I made for a friend.

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