I have a quick question…does anyone have any tips and tricks as with regards to engraving on metal? I’m trying to make some simple designs on fishing lures that are made from either brass or stainless steel. Any help as far as manual settings, etc. is greatly appreciated. Thank You all!
You won’t be able to engrave metal with the GlowForge. Engraving is a specific operation where material is removed over an area by the operation of the laser moving back and forth in subsequent passes. The GlowForge does not have enough power in its laser to engrave metal.
You can however mark metals. Be very careful with any copper alloys as copper is highly reflective to the GF laser beam and a reflection will damage the system.
Most metals will need some type of marking compound applied. There are many topics on this, I suggest you use the search function to start reading them. Then determine what marking method will meet your needs.
You can’t engrave metal. You can mark unfinished metal surfaces with a laser marking product like Cermark, or remove dye from anodized material.
Many fishing lures are painted, you can engrave the paint away and expose the metal underneath.
If you mean spinner blades just try one that isn’t brass. Some people have gotten lucky and can mark steel with nothing. It seems to depend on the formulation of the steel. It won’t hurt your laser. It may look like it, but that’s visible light. I wouldn’t stare at any really bright light.
If not, search Beyond the Manual for mustard, vinegar, moly lube and Cermark. These all work differently depending on the metal.
Why not brass?
Brass is a copper alloy. That being said I’m not sure how reflective brass is in the CO2 laser wavelengths. Google can probably tell you, but copper is known to be very much so.
Brilliant, that idea had yet to even cross my mind!
Thank you all so much for the wisdom you’ve shared! And, Ben1, I definitely used the wrong word. Engraving is not what I’m looking to do (maybe on some wooden fishing lures), but etch was the word I was looking for. Now, I have some ideas rolling around in my mind. You all rock, stay safe and healthy out there!
In this context, “etch” and “engrave” are pretty much the same term, and you used it correctly. I only wanted to point out that because of the power and wavelength of the GF you would not be able to perform that specific operation. Instead you will need to either remove some coating material or color, as is the case with anodized aluminum, or you would need to add a material to the surface, in the case of Cermark.