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.

FullSizeRender 8

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.

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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.