Engraving Satin Brass Sublimation Plates

Hi everyone. I’m looking for some guidance here. My school district has purchased 3 in x 2 in satin brass sublimation plates and has asked me to engrave them using our Glowforge. I cannot find any settings or tutorials on whether any modifications need to be made to the plates (spraying, etc.) before engraving. Or if this material is compatible at all with the Glowforge. I do not want to damage the laser head. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Hey, welcome.

As for brass, it’s a bit hard to say. Generally copper reflects the laser very well [this is why the mirrors in your Glowforge are made of copper], and brass is a copper alloy. It’s hard to find a reflectance graph for brass in the CO2 laser emission spectrum (between 9,300 and 10,600 nm) and not all brass is made with the same composition… but from what little data I was able to find it looks like the brass infrared reflectivity curve is pretty close to that of copper.

So if it were me, I’d say don’t put any mirror-polished brass under your laser for the same reasons why you shouldn’t put a copper mirror in there, it might reflect the laser back at the machine and potentially damage the head.

As for more advice about working with metals I wrote up a guide here, check out #11:

When it comes to your sublimation plates, let us know some more about them, a URL if you have it etc, maybe someone will have some ideas. I don’t know if the surface of plates like that are pretreated, which might change things.


Thank you so much. I am currently trying to track down more info. I will post when I get it. I appreciate your help.


No problem.

It’s important to realize that I’m just an internet rando with a laser and some opinions. Feel free to take as many grains of salt with my advice as you like. It’s your machine, your risk, and there’s a real possibility that I’m wrong about all of this. :slight_smile:



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if you need to make plates that “look” like brass (or other metals), there are a number of options out there in two color acrylic. where the acrylic is a thin layer of simulated metal color/texture on top and a different color underneath (usually black). you engrave off the thin metal colored layer and reveal the black underneath as text. then you cut out the shape you want like you would any other acrylic.


If they are meant for sublimation, then the metal is coated with plastic. Under heat and pressure, sublimation dyes will leave the transfer paper and soak into the coating.

Laser engraving a part like that doesn’t seem likely to produce a good result.

Even if you had one of the metal marking products, I don’t know how well it would work with the sublimation coating in the way.

This sounds like the wrong part for the job, but like @shop said you can get layered plastics that will produce a nice engraved metal look.


Thank you everyone


Please post about whatever solution you do land on. We’re always interested in creative problem solving!


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