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Scrap Metal and Lasers: Cermark'd Keychains

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Picture of Scrap Metal and Lasers: Cermark'd Keychains
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With many members making projects at TechShop, there is almost always a bountiful supply of scrap materials whether it is metal wood or plastic. (And everything in between). When looking through such a scrap bin I found a handy piece of scrap metal that left plenty of room for various projects. While it was rusty, it was an insignificant obstacle when using the tools at TechShop San Jose. In combination with Cermark laser marking solution, I could use the sheet steel as is without worrying about finishing first. In the Laser Safety and Basic Use class here at TechShop, the basic project is always an anodized dog tag; I thought it would be nice to switch it up a bit and mark it black instead of metallic. 

For this project I used:
  • Random Scrap Metal
  • Nitrile Gloves
  • Safety Glasses
  • Angle Grinder (With Flap Wheel)
  • Bench Grinder
  • A Hammer
  • Straight Hand Shear
  • Rotex Punch
  • Deburring Wheel
  • Simple Green
  • Cermark Laser Marking Spray
  • Epilog Laser Cutter and Engraver
The classes required for this equipment are: 
 
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Step 1: Prepping the Metal

Picture of Prepping the Metal
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As pictured, The metal I found was in a rusty state which definitely doesn't work for Cermark to work effectively. This is an easy fix. Using a clamp and an angle grinder with a flap wheel, you can give the metal a slightly polished surface which complements the end product! For this step be sure to where safety goggles or a face shield because sparks will be flying. Since this is a rotary tool, I would definitely advise against using gloves. In addition, if you are going to be working with aluminum, the material will clog the grinders unless they are specifically for the metal.

Simply clamp the metal to whichever worktable you want, but be sure not to over tighten otherwise it will likely mark up the surface too much. Here I would also flatten out the piece, if needed, with a soft-ish hammer. This will make things easier as the project goes on. Once that is done, that's all that is needed to begin resurfacing. Turn on the grinder and go at it! Be sure to keep in mind how this the material you are grinding is since heat will build up. I did not keep this in mind until I accidentally ground through one spot on the metal.Beyond that, just flip over, re clamp and do the second side as well. The newly finished sheet is now ready to be shaped!


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