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Metal Marking Control Panels with a C02 Laser (using CerMark)

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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)

COST:
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.
 
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rbneville2 years ago
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.

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.

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.

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"). I have yet to try that myself, but as it's recommended for acrylic and AlumaMark as well, I'm guessing that it works.
mookiechan (author)  rbneville2 years ago
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.

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.
mookiechan (author) 2 years ago
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.
http://www.thermark.com/

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.
mookiechan (author) 2 years ago
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
mookiechan (author) 2 years ago
Let me know if this was helpful! ;)
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