New Glowforge owner and have questions

Hey everyone I’m new at laser work and the Glowforge, and a few questions. Wanting to make Delrin stamps to press into leather, but that material isn’t listed on the pull tab. Just wanting to know setting for engraving into Delrin?
Second question is I tried to engrave into Aluminum but did not penetrate the stock. What am I doing wrong? Would be doing dog tags, aluminum lettering plaques, and brass lettering plaques.
And last question would be cutting into leather, what settings for this and not burning leather on edges?
Thank you all for excepting me in this tight community, and would appreciate any insight.

2 Likes

For delrin settings looking here would be a good place to start
https://community.glowforge.com/search?q=Delrin%20settings

For the second question you machine cannot engrave metals, you can only mark onto them with products like Carmark or coat them and remove the coating with the laser. There are some instances where you can mark directly onto stainless steel but I have not done this myself and it does not take any material away.

For the leather you will need to run a material test of some sort to find the most ideal settings for you.
Here is one that was posted to the forum.

Do you have a photo of the kind of burning you are trying to avoid?

7 Likes

The laser cuts by burning, You can go very fast or lower power but it will not cut so much either. By doing multiple tests on leather you have you can get to a point you are ok with, and you might clean the leather in ways that you know better than myself not being a leather worker.

Delrin is tricky. I made a leather stamp for a customer and had to make many light passes as it melted very easily but it can be done…

1 Like

Since you’re new you might like this:

We’re lookIng forward to seeing what you make. :slight_smile:

4 Likes

I’m going to move this over to Beyond the Manual, since that’s the place for discussions of non-PG materials and settings. :slight_smile:

2 Likes

When working with metals, like aluminum, you can’t cut them directly with the Glowforge.

What you can do is a couple of things. You can get a metal marking spray and spray the metal surface. Then when you laser engrave on the surface it will leave a permanent mark. I am not sure you will get anything other than black with this.

You mentioned dog tags specifically. Dog tags tend to be anodized aluminum. The anodization process is what gives most dog tags their standard background color. This can be laser etched off. So if you have a blank dog tag, you should be able to etch off the anodized surface and leave a metallic color for the letters.

For plaques and signs I would recommend maybe a different approach. You can either use the marking solution or you can mask the metal and cut the masking material. Then weed your letters out and paint the color you want onto the metal. If you are just looking for black, I would probably stay with the marking spray or solution. But if you want to have colors other than black I think you are going to need to go the paint route. Also, the paint route will be cheaper than the marking spray. That stuff is pretty expensive but it will probably show better than black paint.

2 Likes

See, I keep reading this but I don’t think is right. I’ve done a couple test pieces and they’re just as smooth as they’d been and I’ve read in very few places that it’s actually bleaching the color out of the anodized layer.

Could be wrong though.

End result doesn’t matter much but pedantic terminology finally begs me to ask.

The typical anodization they put on those things is super thin like down into the micron range. It could be bleaching it I guess but either way I don’t think you are going to find out with your finger or instruments that most of us have kicken around.

1 Like

My understanding is that the laser vaporizes the anodized surface.

From the brief searching I’ve done, seems there are both answers presented from reliable sources(other laser vendors) but some also note that aluminum is a terrible idea to put in a co2 laser as with copper due to reflective nature at the laser frequency and aluminum is much better at heat dissipation than most lasers are at cutting with it.

If all is true, I hope it really is bleaching as you’d not want to be creating dangerous conditions on any laser bed.

1 Like

This guy claims its part of power that co2 isn’t strong enough to get through anodized but fibers are.

So maybe people get the laser types confused or lump them all together? Wonder how many things are marketing people just throwing stuff together they don’t really understand…I’ve worked for bosses that were salesmen and it made my technician job a bit frustrating to talk with a customer who says “But the guy I talked to said…”

2 Likes

Thank you very much, just ordered some anodized aluminum

One thing I was thinking about with materials that burn too easily is to get them wet. As the laser is cutting the heat will hardly notice the extra water but a millimeter or so away depending on the speed the water will boil off keeping the leather involved from heating as much. I don’t know the specifics of what you are working with but a rest might be useful.
It might need a hair more power but that too could be experimented,

2 Likes

Awesome idea and thank you