Engraving on Steel Tools?

My son wants me to engrave his name on his tools. They are black, heat treated CR-440 steel. It says in the description that there are laser etched markings on it. I’m not sure if I can post a link to a product in this forum so I won’t.

Will this work the same way it works with anodized aluminum, removing the black coating and exposing the steel? Is it even possible?

I am a newbie, less than 30 days in, so I appreciate any tips from anyone who has tried this.

Thank you!

If it’s a coated metal, you can certainly try to engrave away the coating. (Nothing against posting the link here…maybe someone has tried it.)

But, we can’t discuss settings for non-Proofgrade materials anywhere except in the Beyond the Manual section of the forum, and support doesn’t provide info on lasering non-PG materials. Do you want me to shift the post to the BTM section for you, to see if anyone else has tried it?

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Google shows several people have done it using CO2 lasers. You will need to run some testing to see what the best settings are, but it looks like it can be done.

I can’t remember anyone here posting about it.


Hi there - since your question is about materials that were purchased from another company, we can’t offer support on this. Materials may vary widely from piece to piece, even if they’re created by the same manufacturer. I’m going to move it to Beyond the Manual so other folks here can help. Should you have questions about Proofgrade Materials, please open a new ticket in Problems and Support and we’ll help you right away!

Thank you. Support moved it before I could respond.

Oh no problem, that’s what they have to do. :slightly_smiling_face:

Here is a link to the tools he wants me to engrave: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IFSX9M4/ref=cm_sw_r_oth_api_fabt1_WE8VFbGEB5C8Y?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

You’re probably going to need to set those up with a prop underneath them and remove the tray…they look like they might be too thick to use on the tray (limit of under 1/2" thick for engrave items on the tray), so there are some instructions below on how to work without the tray:


If you use the Set Focus tool to determine the height of the material that extends above the height of the tray (tray height is usually 1.37" - 1.4") you have to make sure that the red focusing dot lands ON the top of the tool, the rounded tops are going to make that difficult on the sockets, and that’s also going to be hard to do on some of the smaller, narrow handles. So you might need to be exceptionally careful with your placement, or cut a jig out of scrap plywood, drop the tools into the holes so that it creates a more-or-less flush surface, and then you will get much better alignment results.

In other words…this is a pretty advanced attempt, and it’s going to take you a lot of time to set it up for uniform engraving. While it would be okay for you to engrave the tools, you are going to have issues with getting the placement correct without a jig.

You might want to tell your son that you’ll be happy to engrave them for him next year. :wink:

Maybe practice on some cheap wooden dowel pieces first, so you understand how the placement on the engrave is going to be affected. This would be hard for anyone to tackle…it’s definitely one you want to get comfortable with on something inexpensive.


Per the description, the coating is black oxide. You will need to test, but Google results shows other CO2 lasers are able to leave a gray mark on the surface.

Thank you for your detailed reply. I am so grateful that you pointed out this is an advanced activity that can wait until I have more experience.

Thank you for your help.

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