View Full Version : Engrave powdercoating?

Doug Thompson
05-30-2010, 1:16 PM
You can bleach the color out of anodized aluminum but a aluminum part that has been powdercoated... can it be done with good results or a waste of time? The plan is to etch a name in a few products so it has to look good.

I ended up with a Epilog mini 24 (40 watt) and a Purex 4000 series venting unit... they appear to work just fine even though the filter weights in at 140 pounds which is tough to load into the SUV.

Gary Hair
05-30-2010, 2:32 PM
You can laser off powder coating. The results are really dependant on two things, the thickness of the coating and the metal underneath. Give it a try, I think you will like the results. I started with the same settings as I used for anodized aluminum but it took a bit more power than that.


Joe Pelonio
05-30-2010, 2:35 PM
I have done a quick check of the MSDS for some powder coat powders and find that it's a thermoplastic, made from one or more of polyethylene, nylon, polystyrene, or polypropylene. Those would all be safe to laser, and being plastic should engrave. I'd find something to try it on and see what happens if no one else has tried it.

Dan Hintz
05-30-2010, 2:52 PM
There are two main types of powder coats, thermosets and thermoplastics. Thermosets are a one-shot deal, whereas thermoplastics can be heated and resoftened again and again.

James Terry
05-30-2010, 3:38 PM
As usual, I would really like to see the result of this, so please share some photos regardless of the output. The community as a whole learns by your own contribution of success and failure.

Doug Thompson
05-30-2010, 9:25 PM
Thanks, I'll contact a company Tuesday. I would like to post pictures but the product I make has to do with another part of this site so that would be against the rules to post my own product. I can still talk about engraving... this stuff is amazing.

Mike Null
05-30-2010, 9:34 PM
I've done a good bit of powder coat engraving and it produces good results.


Sandy Henry
05-30-2010, 10:43 PM
I've purchased laserable alum & brass plated steel quarter sheets from JDS, had them powder coated (on finished side) & when lasered, resulted in beautiful mirrored finish.
If the powder coater has problems & paints more than 1 coat, I cannot etch it off cleanly - kinda scorches the paint around edges & I'm stuck with material that I cannot use. Cannot find quality, consistant power coater in Indiana.

Mike Null
05-31-2010, 7:08 AM

Sometimes, depending on the paint and process, the coat is thicker or irregular in thickness. I have found that masking will prevent the scorching you're describing.

Michael Hunter
05-31-2010, 10:53 AM
I did a trial piece for someone, with mixed results -
It needed a lot of power and a second clean-up pass to get all the paint residue off the metal.
The aluminium underneath was rather stained - I think that they had used an etching primer before the powdercoat.

The result was OK for the use, as they wanted to paint fill the engraved bits.

I think all you can do is try a piece and see if the results are satisfactory.

Tim Bateson
05-31-2010, 12:28 PM
I've tried PC Dog tags with VERY poor results. Many high powered passes. If you're going for that antiqish look, then they are the ticket. The Red lasered pinkish & the Black lasered muddy brownish.