This quick project is to demonstrate the use of CerMark in a production application for metal marking bare metals, in this case stainless steel Control Panels without having access to a YAG or Fiber Mark Laser.

First off there are a few things you will need to get started:

A) A laser engraver with a bed large enough to handle the panel you want to engrave.
The higher the wattage the better. CerMark supplies you with guidelines on settings for specific wattages.
B) Stainless Steel Control Panel or a scrap piece of bare metal to do your test on.
If you use a scrap, it must be cleaned and prepared before engraving. (no dirt, rust or oils)
C) CerMark , either in the ready to use Spray (which I will be using) or in the paste or tape form.
D) 3-in-One Oil (or sewing machine oil)
E) Isopropyl Alcohol (to clean any oils off of newly cut panel)
F) Cleaning Rags or Cheese Cloth
E) Steel Wool (if your metal has stains on the surface)

CerMark is the most expensive thing in this project (if you already have your panel(s).
It's $70 per can and 1 can covers 1,100 sq/in.  Note: Length x Width = Square Inches

This can also be done on raw (not coated) aluminum stock as well to cut down your costs on small
DIY projects which you can cut out on a bandsaw and drill or carefully with a dremel.

If you are careful, you can spread out the life of the can by only spraying the areas you need to engrave.
Not the entire project.

Step 1: Designing your Control Panel

I was supplied a .DWG file (AutoCAD) from the client. If you are designing your own panel you will want
to start by figuring out the size of your panel and components first. Then laying out all of the components to scale
and marking them. A vector file can be given to any sheet metal shop to have the panel cut out of the material of choice.
You will just want to supply them with the 'outline and knockout' potion of your design. For instance this would be the red areas in
the design below. (excluding the project information in lower right off the board)

This can be accomplished in programs like AutoCAD, Illustrator, Corel Draw or Freehand.
Vector applications are the best to use when working with text and lines as the finished
product will be sharp with crisp lines.

When converting a file from .DWG to use it on a laser you will want to import it into your program of choice
and fine-tune anything that may have changed in the import process. Such as fonts or line width. Then take
any of your layout lines that are merely there for positioning and copy them to a guide layer or a non-printable
layer. In my case I chose the first and added them to the guide layer, locking the printing and editing out and
made them red. Now the only items that will print are what is in black.
Very cool. I wonder if there is a less expensive alternative to CerMark. Also an alternative to CerMark for glass and tile is to engrave directly onto the glass or tile, then apply either an oil or acrylic pigment over the engraved area.
There is a less expensive alternative, by the same company, but they really do recommend the CerMark for stainless steel. <br> <br>Also, you don't have to buy the spray cans. It is MUCH less expensive to buy the bottles and mix it with denatured alcohol. You can brush it on, or use a sprayer to apply it. You can buy a small bottle (30g) for around $30, or a 500g bottle for about $220 if you know where to go (Laserbits.com). There are also bottles in between, for different prices. <br> <br>The coverage on the 500g bottle is supposed to be around 10,000 square inches or so, if you dilute it properly. The spray cans are easy, but you're paying for that convenience. <br> <br>I've also heard of de-focusing the laser a bit to create a smoother result (focus and then lower laser bed by about 1/8&quot;). I have yet to try that myself, but as it's recommended for acrylic and AlumaMark as well, I'm guessing that it works.
Not that I am aware of. It seems to be a liquified clay with alcohol as a drying agent and a propelant. I am sure there are other ingredients but the green gray kinda screams modeler's clay. Which when fired or layered in this process would harden into a ceramic.<br><br>You would have to laser glass a lot to get the depth needed to colorfill. It would be easier to laser the mask out and sandblast it. Usually you get a lot of fractures and chipping when glass is lasered too deep because it doesn't vaporize the material like wood or plastic.
I stand corrected. There is a product that is a little cheaper. The same company might even make it since this site sells both CerMark and TherMark.<br>http://www.thermark.com/<br><br>for 900/sq inch can I think it said it was $58 or so... but they recommend the CerMark for more permanent applications. This looks grey in color instead of the green CerMark is.
I'm thinking something like a French green clay in powder form, like used in a clay facial mask. Which is a lot cheaper if that's what they use. I guess the easiest way is to do an experiment.... A little of the clay powder and alcohol in a slurry and see if it works. LoL
Let me know if this was helpful! ;)

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