Things to consider when marking metal with lasers

marking metal with lasers

Marking metals with barcodes, serial numbers, and logos is easy with lasers, both CO2 and fiber.

Fiber lasers are ideal for industrial marking applications, since they have a long operating life, require little maintenance, and are relatively inexpensive.

By using this type of laser, permanent marks will be produced that will not affect part integrity.

Metal cannot be engraved with CO2 lasers without first being treated with a spray (or paste). Permanent marks are made on metal by bonding marking agents with CO2 lasers.

Wood, acrylic, and natural stone can be marked with CO2 lasers; they are fast and affordable. Learn more by visiting lasitlaser.de.

With Epilog’s laser systems, virtually any Windows-based program can control them.

Different kinds of lasers

Depending on the type of laser used, different materials are affected differently. There are several considerations to be made.

When marking metals, CO2 lasers require more time because they need to be coated or pretreated with a metal marking agent.

Metal marking agents should be quick to bond with metals. Clean the laser mark and run the piece slower with a higher power after lasering.

By using CO2 lasers to mark metal, we are not removing material, so the tolerance and strength of the metal remain intact.

A special mention should be made of painted brass and anodized aluminum which do not require pretreatment.

Since metals are bare, fibre lasers can be used to engrave them. Marking metals, engineered plastics, nickel-plated metals, aluminum, brass, copper, and nickel-plated metals with laser fibers is an excellent technique.

Some materials may not be able to be marked by the laser’s wavelength; for example, the beam may pass through transparent materials and leave marks on the engraving table.

Despite their ability to mark organic materials such as wood, clear glass, and leather, fiber lasers are not necessarily the best tool for the job.

An explanation of the different types of trademarks

Metal can be marked with fiber lasers in a variety of ways depending on the type of metal to be marked.

A laser engraving process involves the vaporization of material from the object’s surface. Because of the shape of the beam, the mark appears cone-shaped.

During the engraving process, deep engravings are created that will not wear away under even the harshest conditions.

Most commonly, the top layer of ablation is removed so that the material underneath can be seen. As well as powdered metals, anodized metals can also be abraded.

Surfaces can also be marked by heating an object. Annealing forms a high-contrast mark on metals by exposing them to high temperatures.

The raised effect of a material is caused by trapped gas bubbles that form when it is melted, causing a foam to form.

A polishing process reverses the color of metal by quickly heating it. This results in reflections that look like mirrors.

Typically, annealed metals include steel alloys, iron, titanium, and metals with abundant carbon and metal oxides.

Most of the time, foam is used for marking plastic, but it can also be used to mark stainless steel. In general, darker metals with matte finishes produce the best results when polished.

The following materials may be helpful

You can also mark stainless steel by annealing, etching, and polishing by adjusting the laser’s speed, power, frequency, and focus.

Aluminum anodized with fiber lasers has a higher brightness compared to standard aluminum; CO2 lasers are more expensive than aluminum lasers.

Fiber lasers produce grey, not black, shades when engraving bare aluminum. Further, you can deep etch aluminum by using oxidizers and color fills.

Lasers can also be used to mark titanium with a variety of colors in addition to the marking systems titanium. It is possible to adjust the frequency in this case, so that different colors can be produced.

Both worlds at once

The versatility of these systems and their ability to handle any situation make them an excellent option for businesses with tight budgets or limited space. Therefore, one cannot be used at the same time as the other.

Black, white, and grey markings on anodized aluminum

A variety of marking effects can be achieved by removing the color or material of aluminum. Anodized layers can be partially or completely removed by laser.

To protect and make it scratch-resistant, anodized aluminium is coated with a ceramic layer (5 to 30 mm thick). Colors can be added to the porous coating for decorative purposes.

You can achieve different results with lasers of different wavelengths (including removing thin and thick layers of material).

Among other uses, anodized aluminum can be seen in the construction of machinery. Here you will find items like housings, screws, covers and other related materials. 

Ideations

As well as laser marking stainless steel, lasers can also be used to etch, polish, or anneal stainless steel based on speed, power, and frequency parameters.

In contrast to CO2 lasers, fiber lasers often have anodized aluminum surfaces for more brightness.

In contrast to black engraving, gray engraving is used for aluminum. Oxidized or colored aluminum can be deep etched as well.