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Marking Stainless Steel with Moly Spray

Second try on this post. Not sure what happened with the other one last week but the text was odd when I posted it in the projects section and editing didn’t help.

The test sample was food grade stainless steel (a bartender’s bottle opener), I did a light scotch bright pad scrub, wiped with denatured alcohol and then three coats of CRC 03084 dry moly spray ($10 on amazon) applied with a 15-30 min dry time between coats.  Then it sat around for days before I ran these tests.  I doubt it needs to sit that long I just didn’t have time to play, but it is something to note just in case the results aren’t the same for someone else.  The laser tests were done using an EM2, 100% power, air assist off, and a 45 deg cross hatch at 0.2mm spacing. The circle is 5mm.

This was done at 1000mm/min AND the material thickness accidentally to 0mm instead of 1.8mm. This was a good accident!  The lines are nice and dark. The blur on the right side was from me trying to scratch off the marking.  It’s a permanent reaction to the metal so the black needs to be ground off.

Here is a side by side comparison of the material height set correctly to 1.8mm (right side) vs. no thickness (left). The zero thickness blurred the lines together.

This one was done at 125mm/min.  Yes, it’s nice and dark but the time it took to run a job at that speed would take forever! Save the wear and tear on the laser and the amount of heat the part is going to retain and go fast and defocused and maybe reduce the line spacing some.

Here is an overview of my test samples.  From left to right: 1000mm/min (zero thickness), 1000mm/min, 500mm/min, 250 mm/min, 125 mm/min and 1250 mm/min.

Happy lasering everyone!

The results look great! Have you tried Grey Poupon mustard?


No joke, it works, at least in the minimal testing I’ve done with a CO2 laser. I found it in a reference to a diode laser, so the Emblasers have as much of a chance of success as any other.

Hi Fred - It was on the list to try and reading up on it that’s when I came across the moly spray.  I also read about a method using a paper towel that was moistened with vinegar but figured I stink up the basement enough with the laser and didn’t want to add vinegar to the mix!  For batch runs, once the moly spray is dry I stacked parts with a tissue between each so it doesn’t scratch the dry film and now I’ve got parts ready for marking.  I’m going a bunch of bottle openers each night for the holidays.

Thx for sharing the results Wayne.

We will have to test this again since last time we did, the dry moly spray just wiped off after engraving. It may have been the scrap of SS we were using or perhaps not prepping it before hand.

Something that occurred to me from the closeups of your tests is that the pattern looks remarkably like the ‘newsprint’ option in LightBurn’s image engraving. I suspect this image engraving option would produce very good tonal effects, since it can be set to always use 100% power and trigger dry moly to bond.


Domenic do you remember which moly spray you used? When I was looking into it most people referenced the one I used, other ones had mixes of other stuff which made it not work well.

That was quick! I just finished running a batch of 6 bottle openers with 100% success. After I wiped off the unlasered moly, I tried scrubbing with scotch bright and no loss of the marking.