I found a rusty hatchet head and something other rusty metal about the same size and was thinking about etching it with some design. I decided to look here for my options, and your thought. I also have someone waiting me to etch their business card holder that is a black metal. Any help is so appreciated.
probably not going to get far with the rusty metal, but painted or powder coated surfaces should ablate pretty well.
Thanks for the feedback. Do you have any recommendations for settings and where to find setting options of that product. I haven’t done much obviously but I know enough to practice practice practice.
Search for “engraving metal” or “settings enameled” or “settings anodized”, they’ll all get you going in the right direction.
You could try treating the rusty metal with Naval Jelly. It dissolves the rust, and you can polish up the hatchet head with elbow grease and steel wool, then try engraving on it.
Since a CO2 laser can’t mark metal without a marking medium (such as cermark or dry moly lube), power means nothing. Go full power and as slow as you want. Since you would rather it ablate the paint or powder coating off, it’s best to start slower and work your way up faster until it doesn’t get it all off. And as long as you don’t move the item, you can just run the job again to remove the rest. That will let you dial in your settings without throwing away any material.
Trying to ablate oxide from a ferrous metal sounds like an interesting experiment!
I have seen video of a handheld laser that cleans it instantly, but it’s a fiber laser, and the sound of it suggests to me it’s in the kilowatt range.