Some thoughts about ceramic chemistry

OK so I am running through various raw chemicals in my head thinking of things that have a big effect on color and things we really do not want to be hitting with a laser.

Obviously chloride and sulfates or nitrates of any sort are a no-no but carbonates and acetates are great! Do others know of safe non metals that metallic ions could be attached and if they are soluable? Chromium is a sad one to lose as it makes so many colors but it is out as is lead and mercury. But what of other famous colors of historical repute? Modern colors are mostly the magic of oil chemistry and become CO2 when heated enough.

Cadmium is a question mark and Selenium which together make a nice red but only under special conditions otherwise the orange or yellow is not terrible. Cobalt is the all time best as very tiny amounts make a nice blue and any more will be seen as black. Neodymium is among the more amazing as it is different colors depending on the light shining on it but 5% or so is needed (vs 0.00002% for cobalt) manganese can have a nice purple or nothing depending on conditions (and why you should never laser amethyst) iron has that “coke bottle” green that you even see in windows when thick enough, but ground rust in a binder is the easiest to make, and is also the red in clays. Silver makes nice colors but the chloride or nitrates is what is usually available, and I don’t recall seeing the carbonate or acetate. Gold only works as colloidalong that is not something I would expect to see under laser settings

This is off the top of my head, so I think there must be some I am missing but most of the elements on the periodic table do not make colors.


From what I remember of chemistry, cadmium is super bad news.

I haven’t heard that sulfates and nitrates are to be avoided. Are they really reactive enough to create sulfuric acid and nitric acid? Do you have a reference for this?

It was (and is ) my estimation that hitting say copper sulfate enough to have the copper bind to glass is going to give off sulfur dioxide that will react to the humidity in the air to become sulfuric acid yes. And the same with the nitrates. Though with many nitrates you have the additional issue of solubility.

With carbonates and acetates it gives off CO2 which is not a problem here.

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Thanks for the heads up. After all, acid rain starts with SO2. And I really don’t think most of what I’ll be putting into my GF contains sulfates and nitrates. But after reading more about this in Wikipedia, I’m not going to worry about it if I do burn it on occasion, because it seems the reaction rates without water droplets is low. Of course each person has to decide the level of risk they are willing to take.

The problem with chlorine is that the reactive product is directly produced, which is why it must be avoided.

Not sure I’m following what exactly you’re asking. Are you looking for Inorganic metal salts specifically, or are you asking if there are organic equivalents of inorganic pigments?

I started the thought six months before my glowforge arrived and am still thinking about it and trying to have as good a sense as possible when I start in But others have been thinking along those lines as well and some even taken the leap it is all circles around the same rabbithole with another universe beyond.