Etching steel? Yes


Even cutting it if it is thin enough…


What settings did you use?


Turn it up all the way. Speed 100, max power, 1335 lpi. (Or whatever max is)
This is on a basic.
I think in the etching there is some strange mechanism where it is not actually ablating the metal, it is just drastically speeding up oxidation. Precision rusting if you will. I expect it will be very alloy specific.

The cutting action is just like a plasma cutter or OA torch. Get it hot enough and provide enough air flow and it will sustain combustion. That works better if you back it up with an insulator like slate.


I love that you chose to use Fe for etching steel. :slight_smile:


It was the elementary choice, I have good ideas periodically.


ROFL! (pun) :smile:
Wouldn’t have expected that…might actually be able to hang on to my rulers now without painting them pink.

All of them!


I think you’re spot on here. My grandfather is the metallurgist in the family, but that looks a lot like you made a layer of Fe3O4 on top of the steel.

1 Like

To be clear, the end result once you clean it out is “deeply” etched into the surface. After 27 minutes of engraving I ended up about .002" - .003" deep.

1 Like

It appears to be totally dependent on the steel. As originally advertised the glowforge was supposed to do absolutely nothing to steel unless you used a material like Cermark. Since its release people have found some steels to take a mark with nothing but the laser, for some steels a thin layer of mustard seems to leave a mark. Dry Moly works on many and of course Cermark should work on pretty much anything the instructions say it will work on.

You can search on Cermark settings and be pretty confident it will work. For all others you may need a sacrificial knife to dial in your settings and process. Some threads on these techniques:


And here’s one more oddity to add to the mix;

1 Like


1 Like


Planning a future video talking about this, too.

Don’t you just love it when something works above and beyond what you expect? We just got our GF and as a newbie I am eagerly trying stuff to see what works and what doesn’t. I have a package of dog tags and I was waiting to get Cermark but now I may try one to see what happens. Thanks for sharing!!

On the tool steel axe head, i used 300/100 engrave around 270 lpi.
The dremel tin didnt seem to hold up well, with the corresponding prints being at their respective settings and the ones labelled score as such.
The design at the bottom was also 300/100 and didnt hold much.

Seems to me the settings need adjustment depending upon the material thickness as well as type.

Does anyone have any relative info?