Stainless settings - So many Questions!

Morning Everyone and Happy New year!

I purchased the Emblaser 2 mid last year and have had some fun playing with Traffolyte and wood etc, but have recently upgraded to testing stainless and Aluminum.

I am using the latest version of light burn to engrave/ etch the stainless, with a light coating of mark Solid spray to dull the surface.

I am however running into a few issues and wondering if the brains trust can help?

Running my speed low to ensure max exposure (3.0mm/sec), power is at maximum, with a surface height of 10mm. but the sharpness/ quality of the engraved etched line is extremely poor.

I have calibrated a number of times and am unable to improve the line quality.

So …
1 - Optimal height settings? closer to the material or further away?
2 - Does the image mode effect the line quality?
Will increasing the power and number of passes maybe improve the line quality?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Luke,

Thanks for posting on the Darkly Labs Community!

I do not have any experience with ‘Mark Solid’ though we have used similar products - I’m curious to hear how you go with this.

To answer your questions:

1 - The optimal height is set automatically if you have the Support & Material values in the Cuts / Layers tab set accurately to match you set up. Assuming a Z-Offset of 0mm, this will place the lasers focal point at the surface of the material. Any deviation from this in either direction will increase the beam size at the surface, lowering the resolution.

2 - The different Image modes will likely give the appearance of different resolution / line quality, though this can be due to a number of factors.

Can you share an image of the Cut Settings Editor for this layer, the artwork to be engraved as well as the results you are currently able to achieve?

So…

Managed to do a few tests yesterday and found some good results.

I used both Mark Solid and CerMark to coat the Stainless prior to etching. The CerMark applies a thicker coat than the Mark Solid and thus created a better bond to the markings as apposed to the lighter coating of the Mark Solid. (preference is to now use the CerMark)

I had originally been creating the templates in an excel spreadsheet and copy and pasting to lightburn. This was effectively creating an image of the original information, and as you pointed out lowered the quality of the line definition.

I spent some time and recreated the template in lightburn, also adjusted the settings to focus the laser (Z offset of 0mm), slowed the speed to 20mm p/sec, and increased the power output to 100%.

After reading some of the previous threads it made sense to allow the material to semi heat (similar principle to welding I guess) as it etched.

The results were instant! A superior bond and etch. Will post a pic of the quality soon
Uploading: cermark.jpg…

Wow

Highs and Lows.

So just did another batch this time did eight sperate tags with 5 layers of images and lines. 3/4 of the way through the system faults and the alignment went berserk etching over previous markings. Had to throw out 8 stainless tags.

Retried again and paused the system in between to ensure the alignment issue didnt resurface. Finished batch two to find that the bonding of the spray and material did not work. rubbed off under water with little effort. Total opposite to the first trial.

Back to the drawing board

Hi Luke,

I have had really good success with Spectrumark and Stainless steel.
The most important factor was making sure the surface was perfectly clean. No oils, fingerprints etc. We get our SS with a protective film and only remove it right before applying the Spectrumark coating.

We have a video showing the process on our youtube channel here:

Make sure you are using the correct support and material thickness heights and that your focus lens is clean.

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Here are the settings we used for the EyeChart.

Screen Shot 2022-02-14 at 3.41.23 pm

Can you explain overscanning?

Over-scanning basically tells the laser to over-shoot its starting point a little when it makes a direction change.

That means that it can change direction and get up to speed before the laser turns on, giving you a better result in some situations.

It’s not really critical, but it does help when you are doing detailed engravings like this.

In the attached image you can see the red areas where the laser overshoots the letters a little when it changes direction. Note that this will increase your job time.

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Thank you, makes perfect sense