View Full Version : Thermark VS Cermark

kyle bonnell
05-13-2010, 12:58 PM
What are the differences between these products? I am interested in the black for metal. I currently use the Thermark LMM 14 liquid ink and was wondering if the results are better with cermark SUS 19. Is it darker or faster to laser or does it have a more durable mark?


Dan Hintz
05-13-2010, 1:42 PM
Same formula, different companies that ended up cross-licensing with each other to avoid a patent lawsuit nightmare.

kyle bonnell
05-13-2010, 1:50 PM
Thats what I fugured because when I order some items from Thermark.com I get one thing labeled with the thermark logo and others with the cermark.

Gary Hair
05-13-2010, 4:33 PM
Same formula, different companies that ended up cross-licensing with each other to avoid a patent lawsuit nightmare.

I thought the Cermark was alcohol based and Thermark was water based? Other than that I think they do about the same thing.


Dan Hintz
05-13-2010, 6:13 PM

It depends upon which solution you purchase, I believe, not which company sells it...

Andrea Weissenseel
05-14-2010, 5:57 AM
I use Thermark LMM 14 and Thermark in Germany says it can either be mixed with DNA or water, when mixed with DNA is just dries faster cause of the alcohol

Mike Null
05-14-2010, 10:28 AM
I do not believe they are the same formula. They do not perform the same on various metals. Thermark must be used in a heavier consistency than Cermark.

I have stopped using Thermark altogether due to less than satisfactory results.

I agree with Dan on the thinning of Cermark--I shoot for a skim milk like consistency.

kyle bonnell
05-14-2010, 11:57 AM
What bad results are/were you seeing with thermark? I have seen a few myself as customers have complained that the mark had come off stainless after a day. It's very random that this occurs but seems to be happening a lot lately.

Dan Hintz
05-14-2010, 1:12 PM
If it comes off of stainless after a day, you either didn't prep the substrate properly or your marking parameters are off. That stuff is tough...

kyle bonnell
05-14-2010, 2:44 PM
I don't know if thats the issue because if my settings were off then the whole days work would be ruined and we only get a very small percent that wont bond properly. We do on average 60-70 orders a day with all stainless and titanium medical bracelets and pendants and we may get one report of this in two weeks. I'm starting to believe there is a machine oil that doesn't get washed off during the manufacturing process of the jewelry. Maybe a hand full get thru QC that are not absolutely clean.

I have heard of kids bracelets getting so scratched up that they wear off the engraving in a week. That's their fault though.

Dan Hintz
05-14-2010, 4:22 PM
If it comes off of stainless after a day, you either didn't prep the substrate properly or your marking parameters are off. That stuff is tough...
Oil would constitute an improperly prepped substrate...

Mike Null
05-15-2010, 1:43 AM
In my case the problem was with Thermark and aluminum tags. I always prep my material carefully but in my experience I was unable to get a permanent bond. I tried everything Thermark suggested and more. As a result I no longer offer Thermark or thin alumunum tags. (switched my customer to anodized alum. and they are happier.)

greg lindsey
05-15-2010, 12:27 PM
I have been using cermark ( spray on can) for years, making valve tags for the US Air Force, NASA and several other companies, several hundred a day, I have only had a few that faded, that was caused by beam alignment was off. According to Ferro any marking that will be exposed to UV will fade if not oversprayed with clear enamel. I have been using clear coating and never had a single failure in two years. As for preping, one wipe with DNA rag then a thin spraying of cermark and washed and coated, works everytime.

kyle bonnell
05-17-2010, 11:51 AM
I'll try wiping with DNA and see what happens.

Bill Cunningham
05-18-2010, 9:53 PM
I didn't have any DNA handy, so just used plain methyl hydrate from the hardware store to thin out the Cermark, and it works just fine. I clean my parts with Acetone..

Bob Rath
05-18-2010, 10:02 PM
FYI--I tried engraving on steel with Cermark for the first time today and it turned out great. Just mixed the Cermark (LM-6000?) with an equal volume of Acetone and put into a $10 Preval disposable spray unit that I bought at Sherwinn Williams. I set my 45W laser to 100 power/ 15 speed/ 500 dpi and away I went. Everything was easy and I liked the result so much that I marked a number of my hand tools with a small logo and my name.

kyle bonnell
06-30-2010, 10:47 AM
I bought some Cermark two months ago and now I seem to be getting more and more people complaining that the engraving is coming off. Any ideas? Same settings I use for thermark 100p 25s 500 ppi on a 30 watt ULS Versa laser. I have been wiping the items with alcohol which helped with getting a nice even coat of marking compound. This has got me bothered because I cant find the problem. I'm going back to using thermark but I hate to since it turns everything it touches black including hands.

Andy Joe
06-30-2010, 11:01 AM
i dont know if you can change focal heights, but i found when doing stainless that if i get it real clean and dry, then switch to a taller focal tube then my etching sticks better

Mike Null
06-30-2010, 11:23 AM

I would try a speed of about 5% and dpi of 1000.

Also it is better to spray it on with an airbrush.

kyle bonnell
06-30-2010, 11:27 AM
Alright I'll try the lower speed and see what happens. I do spray with a spray gun.

Dan Hintz
06-30-2010, 11:41 AM
25S on a 30W is entirely too fast... I'm a bit slower than that and I'm working with over 70W. It may appear to be a good mark at first, but the bond is weak and the frit will eventually begin breaking off under handling. The best test (assuming you can afford the test piece) is to take a handful of medium-pressure scuffs with some fine-grit sandpaper. If it stands up to that abuse, you should be fine.

Andy Joe
06-30-2010, 12:17 PM
on a 150w im using 12 speed and 38 power with a 7.5" focal tube and 600dpi and it works just fine. I clean with DNA and dry the cermark with a heat gun. I sprey it on out of a rattle can, i shine a light on it and llok for metal, i keep spraying even coats till i see no metal under the light

kyle bonnell
06-30-2010, 12:21 PM
Thats the speed the laser dealer has told us to use and has worked well since we got the machines 3 years ago. We are just now seeing cases of the marks coming off. I'm almost starting to believe the whole lot of compounds are bad.

Chuck Stone
06-30-2010, 6:18 PM
It is possible that your laser tube isn't as powerful as it was 3 years ago.
Still, on a 30W laser, 25s seems very fast.

Mike Null
06-30-2010, 6:39 PM

Did you try it at the lower speeds recommended here? I have a 45 watt machine and run it at 18% speed.

kyle bonnell
07-09-2010, 3:39 PM
I did go down to 20 speed and switched back to thermark. We haven't had any complaints yet but I don't like thermark since using cermark. Thermark makes your hands black at the end of the day and it doesn't come off very easy. As for cermark being white it doesn't like I've been working on a car all day. That is one little detail nobody told me about cermark, ITS WHITE!! Thats a big difference between thermark and cermark. So these products cant really be the came formulation if they are different colors.