Good day. What to get dad on Father’s day. He is a man of 84, still vital, still working, still loving life. He loves wine as well. Hmmm, problem solved. Supplies needed?
- Copper tags (rectangular and oval)-check
- Bronze Chain-check
- Bronze Lobster Claw clasps-check
- CerMark Laser Marking spray (black)-check
- Time (wish I had more)-check
The metal tags that I received were poly coated, which is common, and had a high polish. I prepped them with Cermark directly. 2 coats provided decent coverage. I really had to play with the speed and power settings, doing a HD graphic engrave, probably due to the polish. I was around 85 power and 550 speed, 3 pass at the end. Much less than that and the engraving would wash away with the non-engraved portion of the tags. Still getting these optimal settings down. I may try to rough the surface up a little with very fine sandpaper. After I finished the engraving, I coated the tags with a satin poly, so a light scratching pattern by fine sand paper should not be noticable.
Anyhoo, I assembled the tags last night. I helped dad assemble his new wine rack on Father’s day. He was as excited as a kid with his first bike and spent no time waiting to fill it up. He does not know about the tags and will be away this weekend. Since I have a key, I will go in and place the tags on the bottles and wait for him to say something.
~Keep on forging
I feel like you may already know this but copper is generally on the “don’t laser this” list because it reflects the laser really well. The risk is that the beam will bounce and damage the machine. Be careful out there!
Wow, they’re gorgeous! Bet he flips when he sees them!
Hi Evan. Yes, I was aware of reflective metal surfaces being a no-no for Glow Forge operations and lasers in general. I’ve etched and engraved poly-coated copper with some success. CerMark is really cool (and expensive!) as it adds a flat, non-reflective surface powder coating to the surface of the reflective metal. It is non-adhesive and easily removed, which can be a problem moving coated pieces to the Glowforge. I’m still working on the perfect settings for CerMark and copper. I also have some anodized aluminum business cards I want to play with as well.
Careful is my middle name. I still have all my fingers, and at least half my wits!
I think he will! Thanks Jules.
It is less the optical reflectivity and more the specific wavelength of the reflected light. Mirrors, and steel, both are opaque to the laser. Copper and copper alloys like bronze and brass are highly IR reflective and should be used with care.
Anodized aluminum does not need a marking material, just FYI if you are not aware of it, as long as the anodizing has been dyed. Clear anodize will need a marking material.
Hi Ben. Right, I would not do non-coated copper alloys (or non-tinted anodized aluminum). Only coated. Cermark Black that I use is marketed for most metals that are being engraved by a CO2 laser. This from their website:
*LMM 14 Black for Metals – CerMark LMM 14 originally know as TherMark LMM 14 *
The LMM 14 coating creates permanent black laser marks on metals with CO2 lasers and fiber lasers.
General purpose black marks for almost all metal types including chrome and softer metals like Brass, Copper, Pewter, and Aluminum. Will not work on metals with a film or lacquered coating.
I do not mean to put people on edge by mentioning engraving copper, copper alloys and aluminum. The warnings given should emphasize that caution and research should be done before attempting
We generally warn everyone. (No way of knowing the experience level of the people who pop in here.)
Not on edge at all. I see a huge amount of information here that is either so generalized that it moves into being inaccurate or that is just plain wrong. Part of it is that I am an engineer and understand the difference between specific terms for operations, but a lot of it is because I want users to have the correct information. In the specific case of your comment I wanted to clarify for other users that metals are not always IR reflective. This may allow another user to make a good choice on a project by having the specifically correct information.
With a few notable exceptions, you can’t actually engrave metal with the GlowForge. Steel seems to show some surface etching after a marking project and titanium seems to show some also. The word engraving is the issue here - meaning removing material. When you use a marking compound, you are doing the reverse of engraving - the marking compound ends up as another layer on top of the metal, so you are adding material. With anodized aluminum you are ablating the dye, not actually removing material, so again, I prefer to say marking the aluminum instead of engraving it.
Many of the comments you will get like this are not pointed at you specifically but are for everyone to read. Not saying you did, but don’t take it personally when this happens, just know that the comment is coming from a place of sharing and helping everyone.
Understood Jules. Thank you. One of the hats I wear at work is the safety officer. Better to say something a hundred time and have the reader say, I understand, than not say it one time when the reader did not.