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
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.