Etching Brass for a Journal // Custom Made Gift

See my photos above. Color choice is below “Ships and sold from…”

Love it…(Though I’m sure not near as much as mom does)

My biggest question is…what were your settings? This looks awesome!

It’s a good thing I kept notes. :wink: I need to add some notes about settings, but I’ve not had time to create another post in another category.

Here you go…made a post with the settings.


Looks great! Love the personal touch … and brass is always nice.


Very nice Bruce. I wonder if this is hard wearing enough for pet tags?

Every project we see on this forum opens a new rabbit hole! For those of us in the UK, appears to be our equivalent. Best get ordering and have a go!

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Yeah, I think it would be just fine for tags…I had to scrub it pretty hard with alcohol and a rag to get the excess off…and the imprint stayed just fine.

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Is this essentially… adding a layer of this moly to engrave it off?
Just double checking it’s not actually engraving into the brass, right?

Want to make sure I tell my client the correct thing and set expectations

Also - now looking @ other posts… it seems that Dry Moly Lubricant is BAD/DANGEROUS? :dizzy_face:

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Yes, that’s right. This laser cannot actually “etch” metal. You can using marking sprays to achieve a very similar effect though.

I’ve been on the forum since nearly the beginning, lasering for years before that as well as teaching laser operations. In all that time I’ve seen one post that contended Dry Moly Lube was dangerous getting lasered. And that post was supposition and not backed up by any real world evidence.

In the same time I’ve seen hundreds of reports of people using it successfully. It’s an inexpensive way to mark steel. It’s not as good in my opinion as Cermark but it’s certainly satisfactory for a lot of applications.

Properly vented you can laser a variety of materials including wood, plastic and rubber even that produce gasses when lasered that are harmful if you stick your face in the exhaust. Dry Moly seems to be in this category.

Personal health & safety is an individual decision so no one should tell you that you should or should not laser any specific material (except maybe chlorides where you can kill your machine with a single project). But an uppercase warning about Dry Moly is not supported by the evidence or general practice of many many lasering groups.


This is really helpful, thank you for posting. Question for you, when I tried this it seems to have discolored the brass. Would masking it before lasering help with that or would that negate the process?

I really have no idea. I think you might have to do multiple passes, but experiment with it! See if it works. How is your brass discolored? I think the alcohol contributes to the patina of the brass. I actually like the way it looks…it’s kind of an antique brass rather than the super shiny.


Thanks! I will and let you know. I guess it does make it look antique-ish. I was thinking it was the laser doing it, but if it is the alcohol then masking will make no difference.

Possibly. You could make a template jig to place the brass blank into on the bed so you can remove & replace it in the same position.

Then mask the blank, place it into the GF and run a cut of the text or design outline. Pull it out of the GF and remove the masking of the text/design. Now you’ve got a mask stencil on the material. Spray your coating & after its dried, place it into the template on the bed.

Turn off the outline cut and run the engrave. It should line up exactly since you have a jig.

Take it out, clean off any remnants of the Moly (or Cermark) and then peel the rest of the masking.

Also, you should be able to polish the brass even after you’ve lasered it. I’ve found that Moly & Cermark are bonded so well that polishing has no effect on the engrave/marking, just the surrounding metal.


What do you recommend for polishing the brass? This is my first time working with it, so I apologize for my ignorance.

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I use standard brass polish from the grocery store. I think it’s Wright’s Metal Polish.

You do want to check before you do this that the brass isn’t already clearcoated. If it is you’ll want to run the engrave without the spray coating to burn off the clearcoat. Otherwise the spray won’t be in contact with the metal and you won’t get proper fusing.

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Edit: Polishing with what? Steel wool or something like that? What do you use to apply the polish?
Really great idea with how you said to mask it and create a jig.

A soft cloth, like cotton. It has instructions on the can.

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Like @eflyguy said - just a soft cloth. My wife has bunches of them around.

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