Darkly Labs Community

Emblaser metal engraving

Will the E2 be able to engrave on metal or aluminum?

Not directly onto bare metals as this would require a laser system with significantly higher power.

The Emblaser will engrave onto anodised and painted metals.

Ok! And can STL files be engraved with it? I own a CNC and I was curious if it can Carve sort of like the CNC can

The Emblaser machines work with 2D file formats such as DXF, AI, vector PDF, JPG etc.

You cannot work directly with 3D files such as STL

I have version 1 and was considering 2 at the early discount price but with no information as to cutting/marking/engraving capabilities it’s a pig in a poke at this time.

 

Have you tried marking metals with CERMARK or it’s equivalent yet?

 

TIA

 

Hi Ralph,

We have Thermark on hand and it is our our test list.

We were trying to rush and get some results out recently but decided to take some ore time and do a more comprehensive performance evaluation. As a result the pre-order price has been extended accordingly.

Heya guys,

Just placed my order for an emblaser 2 with air assist. Can’t wait.

Regarding thermark and cermark.

I used to run a GCC Spirit GX 100w CO2 laser and we did a lot of stainless steel marking with cermark.

We started out high power low speed and it was okay (turned slightly brown as we were cooking it too hard).

Finally did a speed power grid (after like a year of it taking AGES to do 130x150 compliance plates…about 50 minutes each) with power on x axis and speed on y axis and found at about 20w and 85% speed we had excellent results (albeit with focus being super critical). Given at 20w and a very fast speed we got down to 13 minutes a plate.

We were using cermark paste thinned with acetone (dried for all intents and purposes instantly) sprayed through an air brush. Quite thin coat made a good transfer not needing excessive laser power to fuse.

By extrapolation a 5w diode should be able to do the same in 4 times more time (fine for me). I guess the sticking point would be the absorbsion energy transfered by the different wavelength laser light.

That being said. There is a product (available from the same supplier we used to use) which is non carcinogenic and reportedly can be used on much lower power machines (or same power machines but with increased production speed).

Would you be able to test it using that product as well as thermark?

I’ll be buying some myself anyway for my own testing, but others may find it interesting to see the results.

Sorry. Forgot the link ^-^

Http://www.signtechnologies.com.au/spectrumark-laser-metal-marking-ink

Available in black or red at a third of the price of the cermark we used to buy ^-^

Great information Kevin.

We have Thermark on hand. I will also organise Spectrummark for our tests as well.

What we have learnt from previous attempts to activate Thermark is that on very thin metals (<0.25mm), it activates fine. Once the thickness increases, the activation becomes unreliable. We have put this down to the fact that as thickness increases, so does the heat dissipation. This means rather than the laser being concentrated on the material to activate it, it is being carried away by the metal.

With 30+ watts of laser power this is probably insignificant, but when working with 5ish watts, it becomes very relevant.

Heya Domenic,

Yeah, I’ve found and suspect much the same. That’s why running slower we found to do the trick as more energy in the area for longer. Hopefully the spectrumark is the low power reliable answer. And love the fact it available in black and red.

Heya Domenic.

Now you’ve been able to ascertain the cutters performance (cork video and news about the optics) any further news on test runs of thermark/cermark and spectrumark?

Hi Kevin,

Our tests with Thermark have so far been unsuccessful. There is only partial bonding of the compound to the metal.

We don’t have any of the other brands on hand to test but suspect they will behave in a similar way.

 

Not saying you don’t know what you are doing but for a long time we worked with cermark with totally the wrong settings (and I’m talking like 18 months). We found that or settings were way too aggressive and we were not only burning it on but then burning it off again. We did a speed / power grid and realised we could go from 95% power at 2.5 inches a minute to 35% power at 36 inches a minutes (could have gone faster with marginally more power but the carriage changing direction in such a short space was causing the 400kg machine to rock and blur the engraving) and get a superior mark.

Now. Granted we had a 100w c02, but a client of ours was doing the same (granted at much slower rates) on a 20w machine.

Obviously the laser wavelength will be a major contributer as well.

You’ll just have to send me my emblazer 2 so I can run some tests and post the results for others :blush::sweat_smile::laughing:

Just had a brain fart.

Electrochemical etching is a pain in the ass due to the stencil making…but a stainless steel plate that had been varnished and had the varnish lasered off may work quite well.

Just a thought

I’ll go back to my corner now :zipper_mouth_face:

Hi Kevin,

We certainly would love to be proven wrong with respect to cermark/thermark. It has been something we have been keen to use with the Emblasers for a number of years now.

The varnished SS is a good idea too.

Working hard to get the E2 in your hands for you to test all these things!

 

Well, I have finally gotten around to testing Spectrumark and without further dithering.

 

It works.

 

Top mark is at 25mm/min

Next is 50mm/min

next is 75mm/min

next is 150mm/min and bottom is

1500mm/m (I started from the bottom and the 1500mm/min was a typo ^-^ Glad to see it still left a mark though)

 

Will recoat and try something a little more ambitious. maybe in half red and half black.

Will keep you all posted.

-Kevin

Apologies for the crappy photo.

My phone doesn’t like focusing on a mirror polished bit of stainless, keeps trying to focus on the curtains instead being reflected on it’s surface.

None of the lines are fuzzy, the bottom one is wavy like a sawtooth pattern, the rest are straight and true, I suspect the sawtooth pattern is a product of running at 1500mm/min ^-^

Righty oh,

The red seems to need more energy / longer burn time, granted it goes on as a very light green colour as opposed to the black which goes on a dark grey (Darker the colour the more heat transferred given this is a 445nm laser I am guessing)

 

I will need to further experiment with the red, but the black came up nice. Had some movement issue but that was because I didn’t burn the white space and my job speed on x and y is set to 1500mm/min, so a bit of the shaken happening.

Anywho, pics speak a thousand words.

This was run at 200mm/m, full power. goes funny half way up the black because the metal heated up and deformed and popped the little business card holder open.

One on left done first, @ 150mm/min, one on right done second @ 300mm/min, again, lid popped open part way through and skewed the engrave.

This is the engrave done with a 100W CO2 with cermark about a 2 years ago Next to each other the Spectrumark is a much nicer, darker engrave, granted it is kinda pixelly, but I was in a hurry and couldn’t be bothered pulling out the Autocad so used a low res version from a jpg I had lying around. and given it is done with no toxic carcinogens from cermark (Moly etc), was painted on by hand and is done with a laser 5% of the power of the monster co2 from the above 2 photos I am more than happy with the results.

FYI the AFM plane on the left is about 50x50mm and took 37 minutes elapsed (55 total accumulated), the one on the right is a little smaller @ 40x40mm and took 12m 20 sec elapsed (29 mins 40 sec total accumulated) to run.

Anyone know the difference between elapsed and total accumulated. I am assuming elapsed is the actual time it took to run, total is since last engrave finished until this engrave finsihed (Taking design and code generation time into account). Only speculating, be nice to have some confirmation on that.

Also, why in the stupid can’t I raster from a vector file? It has to be a JPG or a PGN? Really? Why can’t I write text in Autocad and then choose to raster it instead of vector it. It comes in as individual entities…add the feature *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge*

Anyways, movie and desert time. 

Happy to run further experiments for peeps if they want.

  • Kevin

 

Kevin,

These are some great results.

Can you tell us how resilient the coating is after engraving?

Is is permanent or can it be scratched or washed away with some effort?

How thick is the metal you are using and have you noticed any difference with thicker or thinner with respect to the coating bonding?

With respect to raster / engraving. Rastering is purely associated with an image or photograph (anything that is made up of pixels). For what you are trying to do, use the ‘Laser Fill Path’ operation. Vectors will always come in as individual entities, that’s the nature of a vector. You can select the whole document and work on all of it at once if you like, or choose individual letters to engrave etc.

 

Heya Domenic,

It cannot be washed off.

It feels like a bonding of sand paper (400 or 600 grit).

I rubbed the corner of a wooden dowel against it and all it did was mark the stainless steel. The mark got lighter, but the corner of my dowel was missing, so I washed the piece again and as suspected it was coated in sawdust after the rub.

It is a very similar bond to the one left by the Cermark on the 10w CO2, all be it darker and with a ton less power. The one thing I will note is each laser pass can be felt.

Now I don’t know if this is because of the size of the spot diameter in laserweb, or of it the heat affected zone caused by the passage of the laser.

The first lines I did left a line wider than the laser’s kerf, which makes me think it is more the heat radius caused by thw passage of the laser.

It means you end up with laser ridges you can feel and kind of see, I suspect because the outer edge gets passed over twice, even three times.

Will changing the beam diameter in laserweb cause it to move the laser over more beteeen passes? If so then I can use this to possibly lessen the issue.

The metal os very thin, it’s an el-cheapo business card holder, so probably 0.4mm stainless. Will hit some 2 or 3mm stainless this arvo and see the results if thickness affects. I have a funny feeling it won’t make a great deal of difference from my experience with cermark on the 100w, even though it acts as more of a heat sink.

I will see if I can dig up my calibration file for the 100w and make me a speed / power grid as I have a feeling I am overbaking the spectrumark.

Seems to be a very resilient mark anywho, even the light marks left of the red didn’t budge much with the dowel rub test ^-^

-Kevin