Engraving on a Brass Gun Shell

So Ive read a lot of forums about Brass but there is no clear answer to this question of
“how to engrave on brass?”

many of the forums answers are vague or seem to be talking about a method without talking about like who ever is reading should already know what they’re talking about.
So does anyone out there know how to engrave on brass or have tips on how to test it out?
I’m looking for clear answers for someone who has never engraved metal on the glowforge.
Use this forum as training wheels for future seekers of knowledge.

current problem:
A friend of mine works for the Military, he has some .50 cal brass cases that he wants to engrave as gifts for his fellow military men and to honor those that are getting deployed.

Haven’t tried brass myself but it’s not a good metal for engraving without using a chemical coating such as Cermark. Occassionally you can get a mark on high carbon steels but usually a 40 watt CO2 laser like the GF will not mark metals. Cermark makes a brass marking chemical CerMark LMM 14. Try this link:

BTW: Cermark and similar chemicals are very expensive.


That’s a great point. I believe a fundamental knowledge that is assumed by forum veterans is that everyone knows that all metal is a special use case for a CO2 laser. That means the first answer is always going to be, “No, you can’t engrave or cut metal.” Of course then upon further investigation, one discovers methods whereby you can use the Glowforge to mark metal.

So to answer the brass question, the first research would be to look up any post on metals in general and different metals in particular.

Going again with the “meta” question in your past, I assume from your forum research you read the following post. What further info could help you get the job done? What isn’t clear?


Not quite sure how much clearer it could be…

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I engrave on brass often, using Cermark:

  1. One light coat, let it dry 15 mins
  2. Engrave at 600/Full/225
  3. Rinse under running warm water, clean off with fingers
  4. There is no #4.

I know they recommend LMM 14 but I used LMM 6000 because usually I use it for steel and that’s what I keep around. I couldn’t tell the difference between 6000 on steel vs brass in terms of blackness or scratch resistance. Not sure what 14 would do that’s different but being able to not have to spend an extra $100 for the brass recommended stuff probably means I’ll never know :slight_smile:

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After reading the description I’m guessing the LMM 14 is sold to work better on trophy quality brass because that material is normally coated to prevent tarnishing. Might not be a difference on plain brass. (might not be a difference on either material) Haven’t tried it and can’t make an informed recommendation.

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I haven’t tried the LMM6000, but I do use LMM 14 on raw brass with good results. I tried it on steel and it didn’t work at all. Sounds like next time I’ll get the LMM6000 if it works on both.


I’ve used 6000 on plain brass (shiny but not coated) and then shot it with some clear acrylic to protect it from weather (they were for door nameplates). I didn’t try it on the coated stuff - although I have run coated through without anything to see if I could get through the plastic like coating and I don’t recall it made it through to the bare metal. That stuff is tough.

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