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Sergio Arze
12-04-2009, 10:00 AM
For those that are interested in a low price compound to engrave on metal check the picture I have attached, it is a polished Hard drive metal disk.

If enough people are interested I will post the ingredients to make the compound.

Niklas Bjornestal
12-04-2009, 10:11 AM
For those that are interested in a low price compound to engrave on metal check the picture I have attached, it is a polished Hard drive metal disk.

If enough people are interested I will post the ingredients to make the compound.
How scratch resistant is the marking?

Bruce Volden
12-04-2009, 10:11 AM
I'm curious.

Bruce

Steve Clarkson
12-04-2009, 10:14 AM
If enough people are interested I will post the ingredients to make the compound.

What if only one person is interested? How many have to be interested in order for you to post the recipe?

Gary Hair
12-04-2009, 10:15 AM
Of course I'm interested.

Sergio Arze
12-04-2009, 10:16 AM
How scratch resistant is the marking?

Permanent!!:D

John Schulz
12-04-2009, 10:23 AM
Very interested. Any toxic aspects to be concerned about? Laser friendly, I'd assume...

Brent Endsley
12-04-2009, 10:41 AM
I'm interested...

Sergio Arze
12-04-2009, 10:46 AM
Very interested. Any toxic aspects to be concerned about? Laser friendly, I'd assume...

as with any compound you will have to read the warning labels on the containers. I have not had any trouble in the past year that I have been engraving with this concoction, it can be easily removed with a moist cloth or water.

David H. Mitchell
12-04-2009, 10:56 AM
Sounds great.

Sergio Arze
12-04-2009, 11:01 AM
What if only one person is interested? How many have to be interested in order for you to post the recipe?


The more the merrier:):)

Dean Rose
12-04-2009, 11:12 AM
I am also very interested. Thanks sergio.

Sergio Arze
12-04-2009, 11:59 AM
Are you all ready to run to the store????

you will need the following:
one bottle of Mothers Chrome polish, I paid $5.99 for it.

you will also need the following
Calcium Sulfate Hemihydrate
Calcium Carbonate
and Crystalline Silica

or instead of the three ingredients mentioned above, you can go to the Home Depot and buy Plaster of Paris the Dry Mix for under 12$ (if I remember correctly.)

Mix ratio by weight: 1 part Plaster of Paris, 1 part Mothers Chrome Polish, or to make it easier, mix till you have a ketchup like consistencyI mix mine in 2 oz cups, 4gm of Dry mix and 4gm of Chrome polish at a time, this is
good enough to cover a 4x4 inch area .


How to engrave: I use very little air pressure not to blow off the compound of the part being engraved I usually
used 80% power and speeds ranging for 5% to 10% on the M350 depending on the metal being engraved.


Please post your results and if you like to add anything to this thread, also if compound flakes off, try using 1 or 2
drops of soap in the compound.

Good luck to all and make sure to read the WARNING!! labels.

Bruce Volden
12-04-2009, 12:25 PM
Sergio,

You mentioned a ketchup consistency, how thick is this formula to be "coated" on the metal. Also, does it need to be completely dry?

Bruce

Joe Hayes
12-04-2009, 1:14 PM
I have to ask, what in the world made you ever think of mixing Plaster of Paris and Mothers Chrome together??

Very interesting and ingenious.

Thank you

Dmitriy Kumets
12-04-2009, 2:21 PM
Wow that is awesome!
So does the laser make the shiny surface permanent? How precise can you be with the edges? Is it almost like cermark?

Dee Gallo
12-04-2009, 3:05 PM
Thanks for posting this, I'll give it a try! (as soon as I locate the right chrome polish)

:) dee

Lee DeRaud
12-04-2009, 4:05 PM
...check the picture I have attached, it is a polished Hard drive metal disk.Those are aluminum, right?

Hmmm...if it works on aluminum and steel, it's probably not a chemical reaction like gun blueing. Which means it might work on ceramics too.

This could be very very cool.:cool:

Sergio Arze
12-04-2009, 9:45 PM
Those are aluminum, right?

Hmmm...if it works on aluminum and steel, it's probably not a chemical reaction like gun blueing. Which means it might work on ceramics too.

This could be very very cool.:cool:

it works great on aluminum and steel!!!:)
Personally I have not tried it on ceramics because I have been only doing metals with it.

Sergio Arze
12-04-2009, 9:51 PM
Sergio,

You mentioned a ketchup consistency, how thick is this formula to be "coated" on the metal. Also, does it need to be completely dry?

Bruce

Hello and sorry for the delay but the forums were down.

for best results I make sure I put a layer thick enough so that it is not see through . The formula does not need to dry but it does not make a difference, you may start engraving as soon as you are done applying it to the part to be engraved.

Sergio Arze
12-04-2009, 9:53 PM
I have to ask, what in the world made you ever think of mixing Plaster of Paris and Mothers Chrome together??

Very interesting and ingenious.

Thank you

I had a Dream!!:D:D

AL Ursich
12-04-2009, 11:13 PM
That is pretty COOL..... I can see it now.... Interested parties mixing up ingredients from under the sink just to see what it does.... Brasso and Baking Powder ?....

Add that to the "I got FLAME oooooO!!!" Group here..... The next BIG IDEA.... (Flame Polishers)

But Seriously..... THANKS !!!!

AL

Ray Uebner
12-05-2009, 2:43 AM
Well thanks for posting. I will have to try it. Sound great. I have some metal to mark for a friend so will pick up supplies tomorrow. Thanks

Andrea Weissenseel
12-05-2009, 6:10 AM
Great Sergio, thank you for sharing this ! I'll definitely try it on ceramics.

do you have recommendations for the settings ? :)

Thanks again, Andrea

Frank Corker
12-05-2009, 6:36 AM
Mix ratio by weight: 1 part Plaster of Paris, 1 part Mothers Chrome Polish, or to make it easier, mix till you have a ketchup like consistency. I mix

Ok anyone know if there is another brand name for Mothers chrome polish? I'd also like to see some more results from others.

Belinda Williamson
12-05-2009, 7:51 AM
Ok anyone know if there is another brand name for Mothers chrome polish? I'd also like to see some more results from others.

You could try just a generic chrome polish, Frank, but most bikers swear by the Mothers brand. I'm not sure what makes it the best but whatever it is, it might be what makes it perfect for this application.

Thanks Sergio! What can we add to make it mark black?

Michael Hunter
12-05-2009, 9:09 AM
I looked to see if there was an MSDS for Mothers Chrome Polish - nothing on their website, so clearly the bikers don't care if it is poisonous or not.
Not knowing the constituents, I can't compare brands - Mothers is, however, available mail-order in the UK www.mothersshop.co.uk (http://www.mothersshop.co.uk).

This is only of academic interest to me - I have a 5-year old unopened tub of Cermark which cost me 100 : I will use that up first before playing!

Sergio Arze
12-05-2009, 10:17 AM
I looked to see if there was an MSDS for Mothers Chrome Polish - nothing on their website, so clearly the bikers don't care if it is poisonous or not.
Not knowing the constituents, I can't compare brands - Mothers is, however, available mail-order in the UK www.mothersshop.co.uk (http://www.mothersshop.co.uk).

This is only of academic interest to me - I have a 5-year old unopened tub of Cermark which cost me 100 : I will use that up first before playing!


Mother's polish composition

Isopropanol 000067-63-0
2-Butoxyethanol 000111-76-2
Sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonate 025155-30-0

Hope this helps.

Lee DeRaud
12-05-2009, 12:00 PM
do you have recommendations for the settings ? :)See post #13: his machine is 35W.

Eric Allen
12-05-2009, 12:45 PM
As an avid cermarker, I've had some challenges getting this to work. The first, the plaster of paris tried to act...well....like plaster of paris:) It started to set after the 1:1 mix. Not one to be daunted, I put a drop of dish soap and some denatured alcohol in the mix and stirred on and off over the evening. It clumped very quickly when I tried to paint it on. It might take more power than cermark, my standard setting on the one piece I got so-so application on held at about 50%. It is, however, a very well bonded 50%:) So far, getting it suspended in a solution of the right mix to airbrush hasn't worked out, it seems to settle much faster than cermark and blocks up the tube and brush. I'm thinking more dish soap. Any chance there's some advanced application notes?:)

Sergio Arze
12-05-2009, 1:48 PM
As an avid cermarker, I've had some challenges getting this to work. The first, the plaster of paris tried to act...well....like plaster of paris:) It started to set after the 1:1 mix. Not one to be daunted, I put a drop of dish soap and some denatured alcohol in the mix and stirred on and off over the evening. It clumped very quickly when I tried to paint it on. It might take more power than cermark, my standard setting on the one piece I got so-so application on held at about 50%. It is, however, a very well bonded 50%:) So far, getting it suspended in a solution of the right mix to airbrush hasn't worked out, it seems to settle much faster than cermark and blocks up the tube and brush. I'm thinking more dish soap. Any chance there's some advanced application notes?:)


Hello and thank you for your comment, You could replace the Chrome polish with alcohol and you can even over reduce the formula with alcohol to be able to spray it, after all the real magic is in the Plaster of Paris. Make sure to wait till the formula completely dries before you engrave.

We don't like to spray due to the fact that spray guns and airbrushes make lots of overspray which is not so good for your lungs if you don't have the right equipment and also they are very hard to clean(time consuming). Good luck and let us know your findings.;)

Best regards
Surge

Eric Allen
12-05-2009, 3:15 PM
[QUOTE=Sergio Arze;1275720]Hello and thank you for your comment, You could replace the Chrome polish with alcohol and you can even over reduce the formula with alcohol to be able to spray it, after all the real magic is in the Plaster of Paris. Make sure to wait till the formula completely dries before you engrave.

We don't like to spray due to the fact that spray guns and airbrushes make lots of overspray which is not so good for your lungs if you don't have the right equipment and also they are very hard to clean(time consuming). Good luck and let us know your findings.;)

Best regards
Surge


Thanks much, I wondered if the chrome polish was chemically necessary:) I really appreciate you sharing the process in any case, I had been wondering if there might be an alternative, especially for other colors than black. Recon I'll be playing chemist this weekend:)

Frank Corker
12-05-2009, 4:00 PM
So it's plaster of paris and alcohol? Wow.

Sergio Arze
12-05-2009, 5:17 PM
Great Sergio, thank you for sharing this ! I'll definitely try it on ceramics.

do you have recommendations for the settings ? :)

Thanks again, Andrea


well it really depends I use 80% power and anywhere from 5% to 15% speed depending on the metal.
Best regards

Martin Boekers
12-05-2009, 5:36 PM
Sergio,

I imagine you have experimented a bit with this, so to save us a bit more time:) have you tried mixing pigments to get a color such as these;

http://www.directcolors.com/concretepigment/?gclid=CKyn8LKqwJ4CFRPxDAoddTCrog

It appears in your photo that the engraving shows up as "frosted", does this change in density and color with the increase in power or speed of the laser, or does it reach a "maximum" effect?

Have you tried a photo yet?

Thanks for your willingness to share your discovery!
If you search through past posts you'll discover this
is a process many have tried to find that can provide the quality and consistantcy that we want.


Marty

Sergio Arze
12-05-2009, 6:19 PM
Sergio,

I imagine you have experimented a bit with this, so to save us a bit more time:) have you tried mixing pigments to get a color such as these;

http://www.directcolors.com/concretepigment/?gclid=CKyn8LKqwJ4CFRPxDAoddTCrog

It appears in your photo that the engraving shows up as "frosted", does this change in density and color with the increase in power or speed of the laser, or does it reach a "maximum" effect?

Have you tried a photo yet?

Thanks for your willingness to share your discovery!
If you search through past posts you'll discover this
is a process many have tried to find that can provide the quality and consistantcy that we want.


Marty

We are here to help!!

sorry but I have not tried the pigmented cement so I can not comment on that. you may download the color separation chart (removed link) at the bottom of the page. this will allow you o engrave at different speeds to give you different results.

you can do photos:D

Best regards.

Eric Allen
12-05-2009, 8:51 PM
Well, it appears that omitting the Chrome polish and using denatured alcohol works pretty well for spraying. After lasering it won't stick to nickel plating like cermark, but it did do an excellent job on a piece of aluminum. I tried the power changes for color, no change on a test grid modified for my power levels, it always looks kind of white/grey. Still, nifty so far:) If you're experimenting with spraying, don't use dish soap. It settles the mixture at an almost visible rate and makes it gooey enough to plug a spray gun and tubes, even a small drop.

Sergio Arze
12-06-2009, 8:20 AM
Well, it appears that omitting the Chrome polish and using denatured alcohol works pretty well for spraying. After lasering it won't stick to nickel plating like cermark, but it did do an excellent job on a piece of aluminum. I tried the power changes for color, no change on a test grid modified for my power levels, it always looks kind of white/grey. Still, nifty so far:) If you're experimenting with spraying, don't use dish soap. It settles the mixture at an almost visible rate and makes it gooey enough to plug a spray gun and tubes, even a small drop.


I received an email from a cnc user, he said that he is getting good results spraying the formula reduced by weight ratio of 1:1 one part Plaster of Paris and one part rubbing alcohol. Application is by air gun nozzle: 1.3 HVLP ,pressure: 15psi, fan size: medium, spraying distance 8". Drying time he said is anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes and formula can be reused again by adding more alcohol.

Also I have been working on a new product but I still need to do some more testing, I will let you guys know what it is soon enough.

Best regards to all
Sergio Arze

Mike Null
12-06-2009, 8:38 AM
Sergio

I sent a pm requesting that you not include links to your site in your posts. Please comply.

Sergio Arze
12-06-2009, 9:01 AM
Sergio

I sent a pm requesting that you not include links to your site in your posts. Please comply.

Sure that is not a problem.

Best regards
Sergio Arze

Sergio Arze
12-06-2009, 11:01 AM
sorry guys I was asked to remove all links

so I'm uploading the Metal engrave Power speed color separation Chart. hope this helps.

Format .cdr coreldraw X3

Scott Shepherd
12-06-2009, 11:24 AM
sorry guys I was asked to remove all links:confused:


Sergio, there shouldn't be any :confused: as it's against the terms of service to post links to your own commercial website. I think many people on this post appreciate your help and support on what you're doing with metal marking, but there are many other people on this forum that sell lasers, equipment, and materials and they are not allowed to post their sites either. It's considered free advertising and it's not allowed. You should talk to Keith Outten, the owner of the forum and see about paid advertising if you wish to display links to your site.

I'm not a moderator, and not affiliated with Sawmill Creek in any way, but I'm sure someone can help you if you have any questions.

Sergio Arze
12-06-2009, 11:28 AM
Sergio, there shouldn't be any :confused: as it's against the terms of service to post links to your own commercial website. I think many people on this post appreciate your help and support on what you're doing with metal marking, but there are many other people on this forum that sell lasers, equipment, and materials and they are not allowed to post their sites either. It's considered free advertising and it's not allowed. You should talk to Keith Outten, the owner of the forum and see about paid advertising if you wish to display links to your site.

I'm not a moderator, and not affiliated with Sawmill Creek in any way, but I'm sure someone can help you if you have any questions.

Thanks Scott. I will edit my last post:). Now back to engraving on Metal compound:D:D:D

Bill Cunningham
12-06-2009, 11:57 AM
Hmmm I wonder if pre-mix Drywall compound as a thin paste or spray would work?
I'd love to play with this, but I never have enough time during business hours.. Non business hours are too absorbed by non business stuff:p

Lee DeRaud
12-06-2009, 1:02 PM
...it's against the terms of service to post links to your own commercial website.Or links of any kind in the signature, if I'm not mistaken.

Sergio Arze
12-06-2009, 1:25 PM
Hmmm I wonder if pre-mix Drywall compound as a thin paste or spray would work?
I'd love to play with this, but I never have enough time during business hours.. Non business hours are too absorbed by non business stuff:p


I'm sure some people will try it now that you mentioned it:D

Dan Hintz
12-06-2009, 3:43 PM
I'm sure some people will try it now that you mentioned it:D
Probably not, actually. I think you'll find the SMC fora to be of a different caliber than the typical online forum. We tend to police ourselves, mostly, with the administrators to do the actual dirty work. The admins also do not take a hands-off approach as you'll find in many online forums, where action happens weeks or months after a transgression occurs, as the owner of the board is a very active member. You'll get a fair warning once, maybe twice, but continue to break the rules and you'll find yourself banned in very short order. On other forums there are usually plenty of members who back up posting shenanigans... you won't find such people here. We love the community created here, and none of us will stand idly by while someone, new or old, trashes it.

Scott Shepherd
12-06-2009, 4:20 PM
Dan, I think he meant someone will try the dry wall mix now :D

Sergio Arze
12-06-2009, 4:20 PM
Probably not, actually. I think you'll find the SMC fora to be of a different caliber than the typical online forum. We tend to police ourselves, mostly, with the administrators to do the actual dirty work. The admins also do not take a hands-off approach as you'll find in many online forums, where action happens weeks or months after a transgression occurs, as the owner of the board is a very active member. You'll get a fair warning once, maybe twice, but continue to break the rules and you'll find yourself banned in very short order. On other forums there are usually plenty of members who back up posting shenanigans... you won't find such people here. We love the community created here, and none of us will stand idly by while someone, new or old, trashes it.


We are talking about premix drywall compound, what are you talking about?? please note that I had quoted a question someone had asked:).

Lee DeRaud
12-06-2009, 5:00 PM
Hmmm I wonder if pre-mix Drywall compound as a thin paste or spray would work?What do you thin it with? Most of the stuff I've seen is more like peanut butter...and that's even before it sits in my garage for a year or two. :p

Dan Hintz
12-06-2009, 6:16 PM
Sorry, I still had the quote from the last post (Lee's) from the prior page. Ignore my comment...

Eric Allen
12-06-2009, 6:50 PM
Sergio, are you actually getting colors by changing power? I haven't seen that change, but it could have to do with application. Bonding seems better than cermark on the aluminum pieces I've tested so far, inferior on nickel plating. Really an interesting experiment:) Is the color chart raster or vector engraving? The power is substantially greater in vector at the same speeds, I'm trying to get a handle on that color thing.

Sergio Arze
12-06-2009, 7:13 PM
Sergio, are you actually getting colors by changing power? I haven't seen that change, but it could have to do with application. Bonding seems better than cermark on the aluminum pieces I've tested so far, inferior on nickel plating. Really an interesting experiment:) Is the color chart raster or vector engraving? The power is substantially greater in vector at the same speeds, I'm trying to get a handle on that color thing.

Eric

with this compound you will only be able to make a white engraving on aluminum, on steel it's a different story, the lower the speed you use the darker the engraving will get. I'm currently working on something new that you may like....colors*hint*hint*

Sergio Arze
12-07-2009, 8:17 PM
Before I forget!!, you can also use the mix to cut on aluminum foil, if you are reducing with alcohol make sure to let your formula dry completely before vector cutting. I recommend 100%power and for speed use something equivalent to you laser power in mm/s
for example a 35watt machine 35mm/s.

Eric Allen
12-07-2009, 8:36 PM
I tried that using cermark once, no luck. This stuff seems to have a real affinity for aluminum, thanks for the latest hot tip:)

Bill Cunningham
12-08-2009, 8:04 PM
I'm sure some people will try it now that you mentioned it:D

Ahh See!! There's method in my madness.. Drywall compound and plaster are almost the same (maybe they are the same ?) Just figured it would give someone something to do.. All mine, like Lee's, is in the shed (mine would be frozen about now)..

Sergio Arze
12-09-2009, 7:48 AM
Sergio,

I imagine you have experimented a bit with this, so to save us a bit more time:) have you tried mixing pigments to get a color such as these;

http://www.directcolors.com/concretepigment/?gclid=CKyn8LKqwJ4CFRPxDAoddTCrog

It appears in your photo that the engraving shows up as "frosted", does this change in density and color with the increase in power or speed of the laser, or does it reach a "maximum" effect?

Have you tried a photo yet?

Thanks for your willingness to share your discovery!
If you search through past posts you'll discover this
is a process many have tried to find that can provide the quality and consistantcy that we want.


Marty

You may be on the right track with this if you want to use it on ceramic, I don't think that you would be able to use the same application of the formula, you should look into making a paste. I'll do a little more research and let you know my findings.

Mark Ross
12-09-2009, 8:08 AM
If anyone does try the drywall compound thing, there is a finer mix or premix that is used for the finishing coat. This finer grained compound might produce better results.

Mike Milli
12-09-2009, 5:45 PM
I have been following this thread with great interest. I am a custom gun builder, and have been looking, for YEARS for a good way to mark on stainless barrels. I have purchased special stamp-sets, and many other methods, but have yet to come up with a method that was good enough to show.

I just picked up my laser engraver. It's a 100 Watt ULS. I have very little time with it, but this morning I decided to get the recommended materials from Sergio's shopping-list.

I mixed the Mothers chrome polish 1:1 by weight with the plaster of Paris. At that ratio, it made a "catsup" like consistency. I took a cut-off chunk of barrel material (416 ss) and rubbed the paste on with my finger. I smoothed it out as best I could, and let it dry.

I Started at 70% power and 6% speed, and worked up and down with power and speed, documenting the settings. The result, regardless of the settings, were quite similar. I tried steel-wool on the printing, then sand-paper, and it held up well. It looks to be VERY durable.

After several different tries, the paste started to dry. I added a little rubbing alcohol, stirred it up, and it worked great!

Here are a couple of photos of the results.
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f340/dtech1/IMG_0908_s.jpg
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f340/dtech1/IMG_0906_s.jpg

Sergio Arze
12-09-2009, 6:26 PM
I have been following this thread with great interest. I am a custom gun builder, and have been looking, for YEARS for a good way to mark on stainless barrels. I have purchased special stamp-sets, and many other methods, but have yet to come up with a method that was good enough to show.

I just picked up my laser engraver. It's a 100 Watt ULS. I have very little time with it, but this morning I decided to get the recommended materials from Sergio's shopping-list.

I mixed the Mothers chrome polish 1:1 by weight with the plaster of Paris. At that ratio, it made a "catsup" like consistency. I took a cut-off chunk of barrel material (416 ss) and rubbed the paste on with my finger. I smoothed it out as best I could, and let it dry.

I Started at 70% power and 6% speed, and worked up and down with power and speed, documenting the settings. The result, regardless of the settings, were quite similar. I tried steel-wool on the printing, then sand-paper, and it held up well. It looks to be VERY durable.

After several different tries, the paste started to dry. I added a little rubbing alcohol, stirred it up, and it worked great!

Here are a couple of photos of the results.
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f340/dtech1/IMG_0908_s.jpg
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f340/dtech1/IMG_0906_s.jpg

what I really like about the formula is not that it just marks the steel but it actually engraves into it:D. I'm glad that this works for you

I'm currently working on a formula that will allow people to do the same dark engraving on aluminum, but it may take a few extra ingredients.

Scott Shepherd
12-09-2009, 6:51 PM
Looks kinda splotchy to me. Does it always look like that? Looks overpowered too, letters running together. Is that the normal look?

Sergio Arze
12-09-2009, 7:18 PM
Looks kinda splotchy to me. Does it always look like that? Looks overpowered too, letters running together. Is that the normal look?

the letters can be sharper if you dilute the Plaster with alcohol and spray it, but most people don't have the equipment to spray:(.

Mike Milli
12-09-2009, 7:49 PM
Looks kinda splotchy to me. Does it always look like that? Looks overpowered too, letters running together. Is that the normal look?

My company name and trademark was reduced way down from a large file for other use. I tried the same file, and the same ratio on other material and got the same results. The ".223 Remington" script is quite crisp and clean. It may not look like it in the photo, but it looks really great when you have it in your hands.

Just to give you an idea of the size and scale, the stainless piece is about .920" in diameter, and the print is about .150" high. The print that looks to run together below my company name "Bemidji, MN." is only perhaps .020" high.

As I have stated earlier, I am brand new to this forum and to laser engraving. I am not new to firearms, and the ".223 Remington" print, or any print of that quality would look good on any firearm.

Dan Hintz
12-10-2009, 6:32 AM
what I really like about the formula is not that it just marks the steel but it actually engraves into it:D.
I think this may be an illusion due to the thickness of the coating... you're not engraving into the metal, you're adding a thin layer on top.

Sergio Arze
12-10-2009, 7:22 AM
I think this may be an illusion due to the thickness of the coating... you're not engraving into the metal, you're adding a thin layer on top.

Try out the compound and you will see that the metal actually get's engraved. This is not a marking solution, did you notice that this allows you to cut aluminum foil? , so it is very clear this is not an "illusion". Dan I can understand your doubt but you really need to try it!;)

Mike Milli
12-10-2009, 7:55 AM
I think this may be an illusion due to the thickness of the coating... you're not engraving into the metal, you're adding a thin layer on top.

Dan, you can theorize all you want, but it IS engraved into the metal. I have held the part in my hand, and have inspected it carefully under magnification, trust me, the marking is not laying on the surface.

Dan Hintz
12-10-2009, 9:00 AM
Okay, I'll spend some time (later today, maybe?) thinking about the possible chemistry involved, see what I come up with. I'm open to the possibility it is etching by chemical means, I was doubting it strictly from a laser point of view... need to keep my mind open on this one. Calcium sulfate and stainless, hmmm....

Dee Gallo
12-10-2009, 9:28 AM
Dan,

I tried this mixture (Mother's and plaster) - and did not use my airbrush, just put it on thin in some spots, thick in others to see what would happen. I did my experiment on the bottom of a cheap pie tin and it actually cut (with raster-only settings) through the pie tin in one spot where the mixture was very thin. Where the mixture was thick, it etched the metal leaving a "feelable" roughness. It could be color filled, I think.

I'm still not sure if I like the looks of it, the white image on silver metal is a bit too ghostly, but it does work. It would be useful if you wanted a subtle background image and then cermarked over it for 2 different effects, or used the white for letters with a darker outline, etc. It might even be cool to invert a photo, make the white, then use cermark to make the grays and blacks.

One comment about the permanence factor: yes, rubbing did not remove it, but I put some permanent marker on it to see what would happen, then wiped it with De-Solve it (citrus non-water cleaner) and the whole thing wiped off the pie tin. The lightest areas disappeared completely, the deeper etched areas left a faint ghost and you could still feel the roughness. If I had used paint, the color fill would have stayed.

If I get time, I'd like to apply it with an airbrush for more control and try different settings. This process shows promise, but we would have to figure out the best use for it. I wonder what it would do on colored metals, such as brass, copper or gold. That's next!

cheers, dee

Dan Hintz
12-10-2009, 9:59 AM
Here's my initial thought on the (possible) chemical reaction going on for stainless steel (warning, mild chemistry coming up):

There is a vast array of possible stainless formulas, but I believe the basic formula is of most importance (i.e., the chromium content). Just as everyone is used to a dull oxide layer on aluminum preventing it from "rusting" further, stainless also has such a passivation layer (luckily, it's so thin it's completely transparent, for all intents and purposes, so we can see the pretty steel underneath), Chromium (III) Oxide. When that's combined with the Calcium Sulfate (the plaster) along with the heat of the laser (and I'm betting water vapor from the air), you get Calcium Oxide and Chromium Sulfate. I believe it's that Chromium Sulfate which is providing the mark, and the Calcium Oxide is blown/wiped away.

This is only an edumacated guess on my part as it has been quite a few years since I attacked chemistry with any gusto. I cannot say if the Chromium Sulfate will retard staining like the Oxide did, but it is probably irrelevant due to the color/contrast.

The actual formula is this:
3(CaSO4) + Cr2O3 + heat + 12(H2O) --> 3(CaO) + Cr2(SO4)3 *12(H2O)

douglas rubio
12-10-2009, 10:17 AM
why do you guys even bother with this, you can buy Cermark and will give you black marks on metals.

Dan Hintz
12-10-2009, 10:30 AM
why do you guys even bother with this, you can buy Cermark and will give you black marks on metals.
Well, let me think about this...
1) 250g bottle of Cermark for $140 shipped
2) 10,000 gram bottle mixed myself for about $7 in supplies.

Tough call...

Dan Hintz
12-10-2009, 12:47 PM
The actual formula is this:
3(CaSO4) + Cr2O3 + heat + 12(H2O) --> 3(CaO) + Cr2(SO4)3 *12(H2O)
Meant to add... the above was the hydrated version of Chromium (III). For aluminum, the process would be the same, except replace the Chromium Oxide (Cr2O3) with Aluminum Oxide (Al2O3), creating Aluminum Sulfate (Al2(SO4)3).

3(CaSO4) + Al2O3 + heat --> 3(CaO) + Al2(SO4)3
(I'm showing the anhydrous form here as it does not alter the main content, but I cannot say offhand which form is actually attached to the aluminum).

Anthony Scira
12-10-2009, 1:47 PM
Meant to add... the above was the hydrated version of Chromium (III). For aluminum, the process would be the same, except replace the Chromium Oxide (Cr2O3) with Aluminum Oxide (Al2O3), creating Aluminum Sulfate (Al2(SO4)3).

3(CaSO4) + Al2O3 + heat --> 3(CaO) + Al2(SO4)3
(I'm showing the anhydrous form here as it does not alter the main content, but I cannot say offhand which form is actually attached to the aluminum).


Check out the BIG brain on Dan ! ! !

(sorry Pulp Fiction reference)

Dan Hintz
12-10-2009, 2:53 PM
I like to consider it a small brain that enjoys thinking big :)

I'm still questioning if the material is actually being etched into or not. All of the above happens with the outer oxide coating, something that doesn't exist once the thin thin thin top layer has been removed. Once through that layer, there's not enough oxygen to continue creating the oxide.

As far as cutting of the thin aluminum goes, I'm wondering if the coating is allowing enough heat to be centralized and cutting it via melting (bare metal just reflects too much of the far-IR wavelength energy to cut it, why near-IR YAG wavelengths are so good at it)... proof of this might be found by using another IR-opaque material that is relatively inert to the oxide layer, which would allow heat to build up. If the aluminum foil is still cut, that proves a good way to cut thin metals and says the chemical reaction with the plaster is strictly surface-based. If it's not cut, it proves the plaster is etching deep.

This will certainly be a fun series of experiments...

Mark Ross
12-10-2009, 3:15 PM
If it cuts various foils, this means thin detailed metal inlay possibilities...cool...

douglas rubio
12-10-2009, 3:23 PM
my apologies, I though that you all were still on theory, but after reading through the entire post I realized that you guys had this thing working already. I guess I'll have to join in now!!

Rodne Gold
12-10-2009, 10:45 PM
Well , at least it adds another type of marking to the list..not so sure whether a white/frosted type marking would be a huge seller tho...
What about trying to add something like laser printer toner to the mix?
There are obviously other compounds other than cerdec that do give black results however , as I have had folk send me their "secret" recipes which do seem to do the same job as Cerdec at a far lower cost , however the results have not been as consistent and resistant and the one time we did use alternatives on a large job , it came back to bite us as the marking started dissapearing over time.
My take is that the amount of marking material is a small cost component of the job , yes , you might make a little more profit or be able to do it cheaper with something else , but not substantially so if you consider the job as a whole.
I recover almost all unused marking compound and find that the small amounts we use up to be small fry money wise.
I also found a "hidden" marking method , I was using bright gold and silver anacoil (the trophy plate stuff) and found that using high power and rastering thru masking tape left a darkish brown permanent mark on the material...never really used it as most of my customers dont want a darkish brown mark :)
I have never tried it , but I would imagine that some glazes in the pottery world would probably work with substrates that could accept a glaze , like metals and ceramics and so on.

Dan Hintz
12-11-2009, 6:41 AM
Rodney,

Assuming Christmas wrapping/shipping doesn't get in the way this weekend, I have a series of experiments planned to extend my previous work with colorants. The results have been very promising so far, I just don't have as much time as I would like to play. I know I'll be making a marble memorial plaque this weekend, so already being at the laser should prompt me to keep going for the day. I'll be sure to post what I come up with.

Mike Milli
12-11-2009, 7:18 AM
Dan, in the sake of experimentation, the material I was testing was 416F stainless. It is what all of my barrels are made of. Much easier to machine than the more corrosion resistant 300 series of stainless.

I have a 308 SS plate I may try it on, but I guess for me it's really accademic as all I ever have to engrave for stainless is the 416.

douglas rubio
12-15-2009, 3:07 PM
ok so I decided to give this a shot.
1st it works well on steel
2nd when i tried to engrave on aluminum the heat bent the metal:eek: and I only managed to get a white engraving.

I would like to know if there is anything I can add to make black marks on aluminum?

Dan Hintz
12-16-2009, 6:17 AM
I would like to know if there is anything I can add to make black marks on aluminum?
Hopefully I'll have an answer for you after Christmas when my schedule lightens up a bit.

Ed Kloppenburg
01-17-2010, 12:22 AM
I was wondering if anyone else has tried this formula. The post sounds interesting but just died.

Chris DeGerolamo
01-17-2010, 3:47 PM
I checked this out...from my experience with this, forget the chrome polish. Just get the plaster of paris and mix it with some rubbing alcohol to thin it out. I had a stainless knife at the office that I was able to etch on. Making the solution very thin allowed me to just pour it on the blade. I took a lighter to burn off the alcohol because I did not want to wait for it too dry. What was left was a very thin even layer of the plaster of paris. I etched at 100 power and 1-5 speed for testing (on a 35W). I found the 3 percent speed at 100 percent power made a "deep" dark etch onto the stainless. I probably should upload a picture...it's very evident by looking at the knife that the plaster did allow the laser to etch into the metal, not just mark the surface.

Michael Hunter
02-07-2010, 3:47 PM
I finally got my hands on some plaster of paris last week and had a play today.

I mixed the plaster with some methylated spirits and like Chris below, ignored the chrome polish. Painted it onto stainless steel sheets and let it dry.

Rastering was very very slow and the results hardly outstanding. The machine time was so long that this would not be a "cheap" method (the main constituent of my pricing is machine time).

Vectoring was another matter : the results are very good for simple part marking and good enough to do logos etc. (so long as it was for the back panel rather than the front).
The results were hardly affected by speed - I tried from 10% to 100% speed at full power and top frequency with little variation in the end result. 70% speed seems to be about optimum with my 60W laser.

The engraving does seem to etch into the metal surface a little bit : see the photo below where I attacked it with emery cloth.

I need to do a longer term test - leaving a piece in the bilges of my boat to see if it rusts around the engraving, but meanwhile for dry use it is a great method.


A big thanks to Sergio for inventing/discovering this process.

Dan Hintz
02-07-2010, 7:09 PM
Michael,

I see some real squigglies in your curves and angled lines...

Michael Hunter
02-07-2010, 7:17 PM
Dan - Yup, the Epilog shimmy has got to me. I think that the X bearing needs more pre-load, but my Epilog dealer tells me the bearing is not adjustable. Can't get truly round circles either, which is even more annoying.

Bob Argus
07-12-2010, 4:56 PM
Eric

with this compound you will only be able to make a white engraving on aluminum, on steel it's a different story, the lower the speed you use the darker the engraving will get. I'm currently working on something new that you may like....colors*hint*hint*

Do you have any update on your testing results for getting color on metals?

Dan Hintz
07-12-2010, 5:32 PM
Do you have any update on your testing results for getting color on metals?
I was able to get a dark red (like a burgundy) with my own formulation, still working on a bright red when time permits (yeah, I have soooo much of THAT :rolleyes:, especially now that the Stinger will be arriving soon).

Bob Argus
07-13-2010, 9:34 AM
I was able to get a dark red (like a burgundy) with my own formulation, still working on a bright red when time permits (yeah, I have soooo much of THAT :rolleyes:, especially now that the Stinger will be arriving soon).


Would you care to share the burgundy formulation?

Dan Hintz
07-13-2010, 9:59 AM
It will most likely be in my book, along with a number of other formulations... sorry to make you wait.

Ed Mihalack
07-14-2010, 10:26 PM
I tried it and it worked great on stainless.

Bill Cunningham
07-15-2010, 8:29 PM
I was able to get a dark red (like a burgundy) with my own formulation, still working on a bright red when time permits (yeah, I have soooo much of THAT :rolleyes:, especially now that the Stinger will be arriving soon).

Well, there ya go! Playtime you weren't counting on..ha..
Is the Stinger going in the spot you were going to put the Riso? :D

Dan Hintz
07-16-2010, 6:46 AM
I had a line on a Laguna bandsaw a day or two ago that would have filled the spot nicely, but it appears it likely won't happen. The Riso is still a future purchase, but for the moment I need to concentrate on the Stinger as I know that will add more to the business in the long run (and probably in the short run, too). And at this rate, the book is never going to get finished!

Harper Abbot
07-16-2010, 11:07 AM
which version of the 'formula' mentioned on here were you using?

Also, does anyone comprehend the chemical reaction taking place here? Am I going to poison anyone who chances past my exhaust pipe?

Dan Hintz
07-16-2010, 11:14 AM
Harper,

I posted the (most likely) chemical formula several pages back... you're not going to hurt anyone with it.

Ed Mihalack
07-22-2010, 6:40 PM
I used Mothers Chrome (I had some in the garage) and Plaster of Paris.

Dan Hintz
07-22-2010, 8:30 PM
I used Mothers Chrome (I had some in the garage) and Plaster of Paris.
I have no idea why people use the Mother's Chrome... it does nothing for you other than add in an expensive ingredient...

Chuck Stone
07-22-2010, 8:33 PM
I have no idea why people use the Mother's Chrome... it does nothing for you other than add in an expensive ingredient...

I use it because I had it.. came in a box of stains I picked up at a yard sale.
But this concoction didn't do anything on the aluminum, either.

I tried mixing it up thin enough to spray .. DO NOT mix it with denatured
alcohol, hoping to speed up the drying. The alcohol makes the chrome polish
curdle. and that clogs the airbrush.

.. or so I've heard.. :o

Dan Hintz
07-22-2010, 8:48 PM
I use it because I had it.
But that's like saying you threw some orange juice in there because you had it. It serves no purpose other than act as a carrier, which the alcohol does on it's own...

Bill Cunningham
07-22-2010, 9:24 PM
But that's like saying you threw some orange juice in there because you had it. It serves no purpose other than act as a carrier, which the alcohol does on it's own...

Heh..Heh.. You may have just stumbled onto the secret ingredient.. O.J. / / \ <esc>:D

Chuck Stone
07-22-2010, 9:28 PM
But that's like saying you threw some orange juice in there because you had it.

If that was the recipe someone posted and I knew nothing about the
process, I'd have bought orange juice.



It serves no purpose other than act as a carrier, which the alcohol does on it's own...

You've got knowledge that I don't.. I don't know what the polish does.
But I do know that a lot of people change a recipe they've never tried,
and then complain that it isn't very good. The least I could do (without
really understanding how or why something works) is to follow the posted
process first.. after that, I can experiment.

ok, now I'm ready to experiment.
So we're saying that plain old plaster of paris works as a marking agent?

Dan Hintz
07-23-2010, 7:06 AM
Chuck,

I didn't mean for my response to sound nasty (been doing a lot of that lately... need to slow down and reread before hitting 'send'). I'm pretty sure this thread is where all of the discussion happened (though it may have spilled to others, can't remember). Read it from the beginning and I think you'll find I even posted the most likely chemical reaction/formula. The plaster and moisture from the air are the most likely culprits for the mark, the alcohol is used as a fast-drying carrier to get an even coat.

One thing I will say, which I can't recall mentioning earlier (and I don't want to read the entire thread again)... if you have the time, make sure the plaster you get is of sufficiently high quality (i.e., no chunks). You don't want to clog up your air gun.

Chuck Stone
07-23-2010, 7:59 AM
Dan.. I didn't take it as being nasty, no worries. My own point was that
someone posted "This works" and so that's exactly what I tried.. I can
change it afterwards. I had the stuff here anyway, so there was no
additional expense. The recipe analogy was real enough.. if you look up
food recipes online you'll see reviews that say "I tried it and it didn't come
out right .. I followed the recipe exactly except for ..x, y and z and it
came out too dry/moist/sweet/sour/salty" etc. In other words, they
didn't follow the recipe and got different results. Hard to tell where it
went wrong if you start in a different place than recipe did..

I'm thinking that there's something about the aluminum stock I have that
is giving me trouble. The LMM 6000 came off. The LMM14 barely stayed on,
but also came off. The plaster/polish came off. But they all marked well
initially .. looked fine, plenty of detail.

I also sifted the plaster, so it didn't gum up the works. But thinning it
with alcohol certainly did!

I've been wondering about some sort of ceramic underglaze for color, but
do you think I can find a ceramic studio around anymore?

Dan Hintz
07-23-2010, 9:13 AM
Look for true art galleries in your area (not art stores) that display kiln-type pottery. Ask the owner if you could get the name/number/location of some of the artists... considering these people (the artists) want to sell their work, they should be happy to have the gallery owner hand out their info. Whether they want to help you or not is another story, but you may make a good friend or a new client.

Chuck Stone
07-23-2010, 10:53 AM
Look for true art galleries in your area

and therein lies the problem. This entire state has about 1/10th the population
of the city I moved from, so there's not much of anything local.. and the
choices are slim. Anything out of the ordinary*, the answer I get is "We can
order it for you". Well, I can order it myself.. and probably cheaper. Plus
it gets delivered to me, so I don't have to come here and pick it up.

*out of the ordinary means stain that isn't Minwax, lumber that isn't pine,
bread that isn't Wonder or shipped in frozen,.. you get the idea

.. but I digress..

I ordered some underglaze and I'll be trying that when it comes in. I'd
rather pick things up locally when I can, but I guess the business climate
just doesn't allow that anymore unless you want what they want you
to have..

Chris DeGerolamo
07-23-2010, 11:23 AM
If that was the recipe someone posted and I knew nothing about the
process, I'd have bought orange juice.



You've got knowledge that I don't.. I don't know what the polish does.
But I do know that a lot of people change a recipe they've never tried,
and then complain that it isn't very good. The least I could do (without
really understanding how or why something works) is to follow the posted
process first.. after that, I can experiment.

ok, now I'm ready to experiment.
So we're saying that plain old plaster of paris works as a marking agent?

yes. the p.o.p does the trick.