Hi, I have belt buckles that I am trying to etch/mark/engrave on. they are of a zinc alloy. to save money and per advice from many others I used CRC Dry Moly Lube as an alternative to Cermark. I can see a slight etching, but not quite as noticeable as I would like. I have a basic and used 60 power and 300 speed, 2 runs.
does anyone have experience etching/marking/engraving on a zinc alloy metal? any tips for me?
Solid advice, particularly for metal work like welding or casting - also just for nuisance like fine airborne sawdust.
Positive displacement ventilation is a requisite for my shop.
By the time you get silicon bronze or brass to casting temperature, zinc fume comes off of it in clouds. I never experienced the “shakes”, but I’ve had enough exposure that everything tasted like metal for a day. Sensitized to it, I can’t tolerate those zinc cough drops.
I think the amount of fume from engraving. (marking) zinc would be minimal, only in it’s molten state would off gassing be a real issue.
Up against policy here regarding safety, but I just answer the query based on my own experience.
thank you for that. do you have any advice on power and speed I should use to mark the metal? Here is what 60 power 300 speed got me w/2 passes (recommendations from a Cermark doc I read for 40w laser). Except i used Dry Moly for cost savings
Sorry, I have limited experience marking metal, and zero with zinc.
As with every other material I have fed the laser, testing is required to dial in your best result.
I don’t know the chemistry, but it looks to me that the marking of metal involves depositing an oxide layer. Since zinc is favored to protect against corrosion, I suspect you may have difficulty with that.
Have you considered painting over the buckle, using the forge to burn off the paint, then etching the zinc, possibly with an alkali, rather than acid?
Not sure of my chemistry, as it’s been a lifetime since I worked in a lab, but might be worth a try.
Appreciate the feedback! I didn’t paint; however, I spray dry moly on it (confirmed alternative to cermark). And ran it twice. It does etch it, but only slightly. Still paying with applicants and power/speeds but it looks like I won’t get much better than what I show in my pic. Thank you, tho!