Pre-Painted Aluminum Sign Blank



Wanted to see what I could do with the standard pre-painted gloss white 0.040" aluminum sign blanks that I use for light-duty/novelty signs. They come pre-cut in several standard sizes from various suppliers, notable the 12"x18" size which fits darn well into the GF bed, and the 4’x8’ size, which is a slightly better value if you are set up for sheet goods… and why I have scraps to test.

The stuff I get has a protective film; Remove the Film.

GF Pro, speed 1000, passes:1 Focal Height: .04"

Top Row: power 30, LPI 225 :: power 1, LPI 225 :: power 30, LPI 75

Bottom Row: power 30, LPI 270 :: power 20, LPI 340 :: power 30, LPI 340

I’m having fun with the textures from the really low LPI settings, and I dig how the 75 LPI came out here.
Power 1 etched into the paint, but not through it. Looks matte on the otherwise glossy paint. Shown here with reflection to highlight it.

Anyway, that’s a starting point for this kind of pre-painted aluminum. YMMV.


I have the same blanks here, never thought about running them through the laser.

I use them for airbrushing and pin striping practice, which I havent done in about 9 years… LOL.


Another fantastic use for the laser. (So many things to try.) :grinning:


If you didn’t remove the protective film, could you use it as masking for applying a layer of paint to the etched parts? Or just use regular masking for that?


I love how you can get so many different effects by playing with the settings! Very cool.


Most clear protective films are not good for lasering. Would be better to remove it then apply a paper transfer tape mask if you plan on painting additional sections.


From everything I have heard, read, and seen, you never want to laser a clear protective film; It’s most likely vinyl based, and as a protective coating it may not be considered part of the material. In that case it would not be on the MSDS.
I have seen plenty of photos from other laser groups, where someone has lasered the clear protective coating on some product or other, and it turned into a hot sticky mess. No thanks.

If I want to cut masking for an in-place stencil, I use TransferRite 582U to mask. Works great to score & paint.


Looks groovy! Does anyone know if the painted gloss aluminum can be used as a whiteboard? Seems like it could (maybe that is what companies use today?).


My quick test says it can work In a pinch, but only kinda. Dry eraser just smeared it around, needed to use a wet rag to clean it. If I was making a whiteboard board from an aluminum blank, I would cover it in specialty dry-erase vinyl made for that.


They make dry erase and chalk board spray paint. That would probably work better.