View Full Version : Nameplate Process?

Bill Jermyn
04-15-2009, 10:27 AM
Does anyone know the process used to produce nameplates like this? I could cermark them, but I'm thinking there must be a more cost-effective solution.

Mike Null
04-15-2009, 10:31 AM

That's most likely a screened plate. The numbers and dates are added later by hand stamping, pantograph or other mechanical marker.

Carl Sewell
04-15-2009, 10:42 AM

Would laser toner transfer yield similar results? Durability?

Mark Winlund
04-15-2009, 10:47 AM
These are etched and filled nameplates. It is a fairly complex process, requireing acids, an etching machine, and precise equipment to do the paint filling. It is more suited to thousands of identical plates rather than just a few. The resist (the part that prevents etching in the wrong places) can be applied with screen printing or using a photo sensitive resist and high contrast negatives along with UV light.

You can sort of fake it with anodised aluminum and a laser, but it won't be 3 dimensional. You can also make one offs by lasering through a resist and etching in a tray of ferric chloride. It is difficult to paint fill, however, but it can be done. I have done a number of these with all of these processes, mostly for people that are restoring old machinery, and cost is no object. anodised aluminum is the easiest, followed by alumamark, then cermark on stainless.


Dave Johnson29
04-15-2009, 11:15 AM
Does anyone know the process used to produce nameplates like this?

Hi Bill,

What about anodized flat stock?

You could use single line fonts, drop them out of focus slightly, bump up the power and vector for throughput speed.

Just a thought.

Richard Rumancik
04-15-2009, 11:24 AM
If you want to match it exactly, you will be limited to the process you can use. If you can offer a "similar" label, you could consider the Metal-Photo process. It is a division of Horizons. You use sensitized aluminum and UV light and you will need to generate a negative. (Some laser printers might be able to make a dense enough image on film to act as a negative.)

It is not really a laser-engraving process. You would need a small shear to cut the aluminum.


Horizons also has a polymer product marketed as ID-Mark which uses sensitized plastics films (eg. polyester) with UV light and water. No chemicals. I have experimented with this; it is a neat process but have not really marketed it. For small quantites of front-panel labels or SN labels etc it could be useful. In some cases you can laser-cut the labels after imaging but you would need to experiment. You would need to figure out a registration method to align the text and required cutout.

I am not sure how you would handle the variable data (numbers, dates). For aluminum, the customer can hand punch as in the photo. Maybe you could leave a black field and laser the variable data (silver characters on black)? I cannot say for sure if it would work. Again, you need to register on the label. The ID Mark people are familiar with laser engraving so they should know (they sell the Horizons laserable products.)


Mike Null
04-15-2009, 11:31 AM

I will defer to Mark's first hand experience but color laser transfer is not durable in this application and laser sublimation is not uv safe though it would be better.

Metal Photo is the best but it is also most expensive. I just had some estimates done.

Martin Boekers
04-15-2009, 12:46 PM
These are screen printed, my brother's company Paddock Inds, Smithton Illinois does these.

They have to be made to specific guidelines.

The ink coating is baked on after printing.

He does 100,000's of these. Pricing stucture is real tight so any other process may not be competative in that market.


John Frazee
04-15-2009, 1:37 PM
I guess I'm wrong but to me it just looks like aluminum sheetstock with black paint. I buy different colors on brass and aluminum and cut them on my sheer. Couldn't these be done the same way? The metal is not anodized, it is painted and lasers fine.

Bill Jermyn
04-15-2009, 1:50 PM
Thanks for the responses. I have a customer looking for 100-200 pieces made from 12 ga stainless, and I was looking to find out what kind of shop I could farm them out to. I can get them laser cut locally, but I was unsure where to find someone to mark them. I'll see where I can get them etched and filled.

Martin Boekers
04-15-2009, 2:02 PM

your not wrong, you could and can do it that way.

Some industries where these are displayed, say furnaces for example, the government regulates materials and processes.

So the end use is a factor.

Quantity is another factor many companies order large quatities so screen printing is the recommended option (pricing for a plate like that is likely under $.50 so it's hard to compete with on a laser)

If it's a handful for special use say a restoration process you could swing it on a laser at a fair fee for yourself.

Most of these are done on aluminum so material cost is cheap.

On this job since it needs to be on stainless, Bill may want to check the environment that it's going to be in. It may be a caustic or corrosive space and that could determine the marking method as well as pricing.


AL Ursich
04-15-2009, 3:01 PM
Could you get Cermark dark enough on Stainless?


Gary Hair
04-15-2009, 3:51 PM
Have the stainless parts cut then have them sprayed with automotive paint. Laser off the silver parts and you have your piece.


Relletta Palamaris
04-15-2009, 4:58 PM
I have had to remake a few of these, the originals were screened but I just scanned it recreated it and use the black/aluminum laser stock and am able to add the numbers while I am at it, I do it for airplane panels and equipment. The companies that need them every now and then say they work great

Rodne Gold
04-15-2009, 5:03 PM
Just use Cermark on SS , reverse the plate so the background isnt black and the info is. We do lots of SS with cermark that go into a nuke and the powers that be tested em and found then to be durable enough for a nuke plant that has EXTREMELY tight specs for labeling.

Larry Alles
04-15-2009, 7:25 PM
I made quite a few of these for people restoring old automobiles and putting on machinery. I use alumimark material on my Epilog 24TT using 30 speed and 10 power with the focus about 1/16" above focus point.

Rodne Gold
04-16-2009, 4:51 AM
A tip to make cerdec darker is to spray the plate with pledge or put on a furniture oil , makes it nice and black.

AL Ursich
04-16-2009, 11:50 AM
A tip to make cerdec darker is to spray the plate with pledge or put on a furniture oil , makes it nice and black.

That is a Tip I have never seen. Thank YOU !!!


Dan Hintz
04-16-2009, 11:57 AM

As long as you realize the darkening is temporary... if someone wipes it down (say, with alcohol), it goes back to the dull black.

Richard Rumancik
04-17-2009, 11:26 PM
. . . color laser transfer is not durable in this application and laser sublimation is not uv safe though it would be better.

Mike, is color laser transfer not suitable because of the "reverse video" effect with large black areas and "white" lettering? If it were black text on aluminum, would color laser transfer be suitable? Or do you feel that it still would not stand up to abuse in either case?

I have been considering buying equipment to do color laser transfer for legends on aluminum control panels (mainly black) but if you think it is not durable enough then I would like to know. Also, is it feasible to overcoat the black toner to make it more durable?

Mike Null
04-18-2009, 6:57 AM

I would not use CLT in any application where it may be subject to use or wear or frequent cleaning. The only application on metal is for a plaque which, of course would get no handling or wear.

I use it for black on brass or aluminum plaque labels and my most common use is for name tags where I prefer to transfer it to white engraving laminate. It holds up well and because of the matte finish of the engraving plastic it will stand up t the fingernail test.

I frequently use laser sublimation for black on brass or aluminum as it cannot be removed. It will, over time, give in to uv deterioration.

This example is on brass but I use it on standard engraving aluminum in both brushed brass and polished aluminum.