WHAAAT!? You can mark uncoated titanium!?



As I mentioned in the video description, I had heard that you could do this, but I didn’t really believe it until I saw it for myself. It’s easy!

Here’s a video I recorded and edited a little… It really does work! :smiley:

Testing titanium
My name is Bob, and I'm a knifemaker
Played with some ti
I Like To Make Stuff | Glowforge (Prerelease) Laser Engraver Overview
That's going to leave a mark

Thanks, @Hirudin, the markings are way more durable than I would have thought!


I thought they’d be pretty durable, but that first scrape I did got me worried pretty quickly! I was happy to see the marking return after giving it a wipe.


Thank you for this


Another informative video. Thanks @Hirudin


That worked very well.

Metal oxides are hard. Aluminum is a soft metal, but aluminum oxide runs about 9 on the Mohs scale, diamond being 10.
I’m not a chemist, but with titanium being so hard, I expect it’s oxide to be quite durable. You are right that the stainless was transferring to the titanium.
There are some really stunning blue and purple oxides possible with that metal.


Thanks for the video! It’d be great to see any color variations you get with changing the settings.


It occurs to me that the Glowforge’s greyscale engraving functionality should produce a continuum of all the colors available within its power range! If so, one theoretically could, with some careful testing and image prep, produce a ‘full color’ image! Well, not really full color, since I don’t believe the entire rainbow is possible, but false color can be pretty cool too with the right subject!


When you see titanium jewelry and it is those crazy colors you are seeing the exact same type of oxide coating that is generated in a laser. It is incredibly tough and durable. In fact you need some really strong abrasive or acid (i.e. Hydrofluoric acid) to dissolve it!


This is enough to make me want to lay in some titanium. That stuff is bleeping expensive tho. (But if you could make little bits of jewelry with finely detailed images you could make that back…)


When I was a college student some 13, 14 years ago, I went through shop master training to operate the UW’s ME machine shop for the FIRST robotics team after hours. One night, someone from the F1SAE came in to cut a 6" round bar on our horizontal band saw, and it started making funny noises, so I went to investigate.

Me: "Hey man, you’re cutting way too fast for steel"
SAE guy: "This ain’t steel, bro"
Me: “Sure doesn’t look like aluminum to me"
SAE guy: “You think I can lift a 6” round of steel that size?”

By the time we were done arguing, the guy had stripped every teeth off a brand new, $200 band saw blade, started boiling the coolant and tripped a 480V circuit breaker that the saw was running off of (from the friction welding the blade to the bar) Turned out he had picked up a billet of titanium from Boeing surplus and paid aluminum prices on it because it was in the wrong bin.

I still have a few scraps of titanium sheet that bought from Boeing Surplus. At $8/lb in 2002 dollars, you can occasionally find good sized blanks and they were a screaming bargain compared to a reliable commercial sources. I couldn’t bring myself to throwing that out when I move, so, it’s still sitting in a moving box somewhere in my garage. When I dig it up I’ll bring it in for @madebynick and @Shell to play with.

-=- Terence


This is all fascinating to me. I’m still in the thinking / planning stage of creating a grave marker for my parents. I want to either use a short and fat piece of columnar basalt or a basalt ‘water bowl’ (all stuff used in landscaping design), and ‘forge’ a metal plate to be attached to the rock. I’m aware of using Cermark or Thermark for marking metal with the Glowforge. Would a titanium plate be a good option? I am interested in not having to use Cermark…but more than that, is titanium something that would hold up well outdoors over time? I realize it’s expensive, but I just want to explore all the options.


I think that would be a splendid choice of material. It should weather just fine.


its pretty resistant to the elements. Its usually not used for that property because there are cheaper alternatives. Both aluminium and 316 stainless are usually the materials of choice for outdoors. But I really like your idea of using titanium because of its “markablility”

If you have the funds go Ti. I have never regretted it in my projects.


Does anyone know if Nitinol engraves like full Ti? its 50% by mole count


Fantastic! Thanks for posting this. I’m very excited about @B_and_D_T’s suggestion for a “full-color” engraving.


Making a sign that changes with temp? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

If you find out, let me know, now I’m curious.


Time to buy some Ti.


oh i didnt even think of that. I LIKE THAT. it could say on thing in the morning when it cold, and another when its warm in the sun…
(only during certain parts of the year, and only in certain places blah blah blah, but still cool)


I know it’s expensive, but here’s my vote for having sheets of Ti available in the Proofgrade catalog! And if it does get added there, I wouldn’t complain too loudly if a couple of small sheets found their way into the introductory pack that comes with my Glowforge either. :wink: