Engraving on metal zip drives... Can I?

I have a metal zip drive order for a client. They want their logo laser etched on them. Can I do this with my Glowforge Pro? I think they are aluminum, but I’m not certain. I can ask the company. They were going to charge me to etch on them, but since I have my machine, I’m hoping I can make a little cash.


Anodized aluminum engraves nicely. People have had good results on titanium too. The general feeling is that you shouldn’t try to lase reflective surfaces though, so use caution. A quick forum search for aluminum or titanium should get you going. There was also a recent post about steel. Just hunt around.

Yes, as evansd2 stated, first find out if the drives are Anodized Aluminum, then look at henrybk’s laser etching on Anodized Aluminum Dog Tags. You can do some good stuff


If the drives aren’t anodized, you can do amazing things with painting them, if you can protect the electronic parts.

All the cool kids are using jaz drives now.


jaz drives?

I see this on the glowforge page: “Glowforge can cut wood, fabric, leather, paper, Plexiglas (acrylic), Delrin (acetal), mylar, rubber, fiberglass, Corian, foods, and more. Glowforge can also engrave all of the above plus glass, coated metal, marble, anodized aluminum, titanium, and more.” What do they mean by coated metal. Can you coat any kind of metal with something… a paint, or tape, and laser etch on it?

Do a forum search for Cermark or Thermark or Moly.

Here’s a post to start:

Back in the day, zip drives referred to these:

They were eventually replaced by Jaz drives (the thing in the middle of the picture below):

When I first read the subject line of your post, I was like “Zip drives are making a comeback?” :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


LOL. I have a couple of those lying around - zip drives… and jaz drives.

I know they make anodized aluminum USB drives. I recently engraved one for my boss. Don’t know where ya buy 'em, but they’re out there.

You’re dating yourself :slight_smile: But I was just going through my storage and found two of the Zips with media and one Jaz.

I thought the same thing when I read the title.

sadly, i have a pile, too. i finally ditched the zip drive/disks since my zip drive was SCSI and i have no way to plug it in.

jazz disks still hold music for an old 12 track recorder and i can’t make myself ditch either the recorder or the disks.

those zip drives, bring back memories! especially when you would be using them, and all of a sudden you hear a clank, and your heart skips a beat, and the drive is done for…