I often find myself wanting to put designs onto metal objects. We often see drink containers that have some design or logo placed onto it, and in this instance, I am going to show you how to place a design onto metal drink containers (in this case, a tumbler) using a laser engraver. One thing of note is that this spray in particular will apply a design or logo onto your drink container in a black color, so if you do not want a design colored in black, you may want to find another solution. This one just worked for me. Before you can begin, there are a few materials you will need. They are listed below...
· Epilog Fusion M2 Laser (or other laser engraver)
· Metal Drink Container (uncoated metal/stainless steel)
· CerMark 12OZ Metal Marking Spray (Item #LMM6000)
· Denatured Alcohol
· Towel or cloth
· Mask and gloves (Personal Protective Equipment)
Step 1: Clean Your Container With Denatured Alcohol
The reason you want to clean it before anything else is to ensure that there are no smudges, fingerprints, or scratches that are going to severely undermine the quality of your drinkware’s appearance. After it has been cleaned enough, it will be time to apply your spray to the drinkware.
Step 2: Shake the Can of CerMark Well, Then Apply It to the Container
You will want to make sure that the can of CerMark spray is shaken up really well, because there is a chance that if it was left sitting for a long period of time the spray has solidified inside the can. Also, be sure to apply an even coat to your chosen drinkware. Where you spray is where you would generally want the laser to apply the design. After the spray has dried onto the object (this takes about 20-30 minutes), you will be ready to load your design into the machine and begin the laser engraving*
*Important Note: Please be sure to wear gloves and a mask when using CerMark to ensure you don't inhale any potentially harmful fumes from the spray, and wear gloves so that you don't absorb any harmful chemicals into your skin.
Step 3: Load the Design Into the Laser Engraving Software
Once you are done spraying your object down and letting it dry, you will want to load your design into the laser engraving software. Your design, specifications, and drink container will vary from mine. The settings I used were for an Epilog laser. I’ve attached a document that has some laser settings suggestions from Johnson Plastics Plus.
Step 4: Place the Drinkware Into the Laser Engraver
After placing the design into the laser engraver, you can place the drinkware into the laser engraver and begin the process of engraving the design onto it. Wait until the laser is done engraving, and then pull your container out and check to make sure your design is on it in enough detail and in the correct spot that you intended. If you didn’t apply the CerMark properly or place everything in correctly, you may have to start over again, so it’s always nice to check after the process is done, or even in the process being able to peer inside the laser engraver as your object is being engraved.
Step 5: Rinse the Dried Spray Off of the Drinkware With Water
After you are satisfied with the overall look of your design and your drinkware, you will want to go over to the sink and rinse off the excess CerMark material with some water. With this CerMark spray, it should come off pretty easily by running your finger over it and running water over it as you do so. After it is dried off, your engraved object should be finished!
Step 6: (Optional) Storing Your CerMark Spray
When you are done using your CerMark spray, there is a way to store it to ensure that your spray does not solidify in the can as easily, and to ensure that the spray will be ready for use the next time you have to use it. You will want to store the can of CerMark horizontally on a shelf, so that it doesn't solidify as easily.
After doing this, you will want to remove the cap/spray cap and store it into a small container of denatured alcohol, in order to clean out more of the CerMark from that area. Just remember before using it again to shake the can well, especially if the CerMark spray hasn’t been used for an extended amount of time.