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View Full Version : Forget Cermark and Plaster of Paris, try this



Greg Bednar
04-01-2011, 10:38 PM
This flask, made of stainless chinesium, was sprayed with Dry Moly then rastered at 3% speed and 100% power, air assist and two passes. $7.00 for a spray can. Photo taken with webcam. No weird angles to alter the photo; it's a straight on shot.

No amount of Glenfiddich Scotch was harmed in the marking of this hip flask.

I just thought I'd share, since the SC has been so good to me.

Ed Mihalack
04-01-2011, 10:45 PM
Greg
Please say April Fool before I go out and invest in Dry Moly :-)
Ed

Greg Bednar
04-01-2011, 11:11 PM
No April fool joke - this is legit.

Bruce Clumpner
04-01-2011, 11:17 PM
OK....So what are the particulars? Brand, your prep/process, etc. I know you've got everyone's interest! please share!

-bc

Dee Gallo
04-01-2011, 11:19 PM
So Greg, what ever made you try a lubricant to mark metal with your laser?

Bruce Boone
04-02-2011, 12:22 AM
Very cool. I assume that you are actually sintering the molybdenum metal with the laser? It melts at 4750 degrees, so maybe there's something else going on. That makes you wonder what other materials might work like that.

I will be experimenting to see if selective laser melting is possible in stainless steel or titanium powder with my new YAG laser. It would be very cool to be able to do 3D models in that fashion. It would take some fancy interfacing with a computer to actually have it all work, but it would be a wild ride.

Greg Bednar
04-02-2011, 12:25 AM
Ok Bruce, you want particulars.. The brand of the dry film moly lubricant is “Sprayon LU200”. I purchased it locally at a bearing shop. It should be available everywhere. The prep and process was simple.


Purchase flask at World Market
Place flask onto laser bed and manually focus. I split the difference between highest and lowest marking area on the curved flask.
Remove flask from bed and start the prep.
Use Isopropyl alcohol – 70% will do (NOT DNA)
Saturate cotton ball with alcohol and clean parallel to the brush marks on the flask.
Spray two coats of moly held about 4 inches from the surface. This particular brand is nice since it has a fine spray cap like Krylon. Very, very nice flat spray pattern.
Allow lubricant to dry thoroughly!!
Place flask onto laser bed. I kept my flask closed.
Pick your artwork and send it to the laser with appropriate settings, in my case it was 600 DPI, 3% speed and 100% power, air assist ( yes I said air assist ) and two passes.
Remove flask from laser and place in cleaning tub.
Spray liberally with “Krud Kutter,” let sit for a couple minutes and use one of those sponge backed scrubbers usually reserved for removal of baked on food from dishes. ( I liberated mine from the kitchen and when asked if I saw it, I lied! )
Again, use the scrubber in a parallel motion with the brush marks on the flask.

Dee, - I have to be honest and say that after scouring the Internet, I came across a fellow named Jelle who works in the Netherlands who used it to mark his tools. He discovered it contained a high level of molybdenum disulfide with the usual carrier agents. The particular brand I used contains: Acetone, Butane, 2-Propanol, Propane, Heptane, and Mineral Spirits. Hence the “allow lubricant to dry thoroughly” warning.

I thought if it was good enough for a stainless wrench, it should be good enough for a stainless steel flask. And it was!

So I can not in all good conscience take credit for the discovery, just the share since I don't think Jelle is a member of SC. So thanks Jelle. His original blog post can be found here at
h t t p : / / b l o g s . f a b f o l k . c o m / j e l l e / ? p = 3 6

I hope I don't get spanked for the link.

As usual – please use all I have shared at your own peril,........ uh risk that is.

Tristan Ranatza
04-02-2011, 1:29 AM
You guys know this is the same stuff (molybdenum disulfide) that re-loaders use to lubricate bullets... you can get 5 oz of it for about 15 dollars. Mix it with some isobutyl alcohol and airbrush it on. I have to admit... when I learned what cermark was I looked for lab grade molybdenum powder and fount that it was really expensive. Never thought to look for something that would break down during heating and liberate pure molybdenum.

On a side note I would be careful of this stuff I think by adding heat to this molecule it would peel off the sulfur side and the sulfur would almost certainly bond to any free water and make H2SO4... sulfuric acid, and you run the same risk as having HCL that comes from the PVC and vinyl in your machine. It may also void your warrantee, just saying...

Aaak I seem to be rambling again...

Gary Hair
04-02-2011, 3:03 AM
Purchase flask at World Market
Place flask onto laser bed and manually focus. I split the difference between highest and lowest marking area on the curved flask.
Remove flask from bed and start the prep.
Use Isopropyl alcohol – 70% will do (NOT DNA)
Saturate cotton ball with alcohol and clean parallel to the brush marks on the flask.
Spray two coats of moly held about 4 inches from the surface. This particular brand is nice since it has a fine spray cap like Krylon. Very, very nice flat spray pattern.
Allow lubricant to dry thoroughly!!
Place flask onto laser bed. I kept my flask closed.
Pick your artwork and send it to the laser with appropriate settings, in my case it was 600 DPI, 3% speed and 100% power, air assist ( yes I said air assist ) and two passes.
Remove flask from laser and place in cleaning tub.
Spray liberally with “Krud Kutter,” let sit for a couple minutes and use one of those sponge backed scrubbers usually reserved for removal of baked on food from dishes. ( I liberated mine from the kitchen and when asked if I saw it, I lied! )
Again, use the scrubber in a parallel motion with the brush marks on the flask.
[/LIST]


Or, wipe with dna, spray with Cermark, wipe with a wet sponge, write up your invoice. For me, the time it would take to go through all of your steps would pay, many times over, for the miniscule amount of Cermark that I use. Although I greatly appreciate finding an alternative to work with, the time taken to prep, apply, dry, laser and cleanup is not worth it. Considering I laser Cermark at 100% power and 15% speed, one pass, your 40 watt laser should be able to do it even faster, can't believe it takes 3% speed and two passes - sorry, not worth the trouble.

Frank Corker
04-02-2011, 7:42 AM
Well I think you have made a fine mark on the item, finding alternatives which are much cheaper are a good thing for all laser engravers, keep up the good work.

Greg Bednar
04-02-2011, 11:57 AM
Thanks Tristan and Frank. When I get some scrap stainless steel, I'll increase the speed settings and see the speed limits of making a lasting mark. I didn't want to do my recommended 40/100 speed and turn the flask into, well,...... a crap looking flask. Thanks again.

Robert Walters
04-02-2011, 1:23 PM
No amount of Glenfiddich Scotch was harmed in the marking of this hip flask.

Maybe not harmed, but how much was consumed? ;)

Greg Bednar
04-02-2011, 1:31 PM
Maybe not harmed, but how much was consumed? ;)

Can you believe it? Not a single celebratory shot!! I must be slipping. Thanks for the wake up call.

Lee DeRaud
04-02-2011, 2:24 PM
An alternative source: http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/LOCTITE-Anti-Seize-Compound-5E202

Chuck Stone
04-02-2011, 3:47 PM
$22 per can? Wow .. I saw it somewhere for $60 for a case!

Dan Hintz
04-02-2011, 4:19 PM
I'll comment on this thread later... but for now, it's been marked...

Scott Shepherd
04-02-2011, 4:40 PM
but for now, it's been marked...

My Dog used to do the same thing :p

Russell Ludwick
04-02-2011, 10:57 PM
I was looking at the ingredients to cermark the other day. I wasn't sure where the actual pigment came from, and I was expecting to see some kind of oxide or dioxide. What I found was that most of them were solvents and I am pretty sure one of the only solid ingredients that could mark a pigment was molybedenum. Don't take me to court on it, but I will double check. If it is, why don't you try mixing the molyb with some of the other solvents in the cermark. It would be nice to figure out a little ghetto brew that costs a fraction of the cost.

Dan Hintz
04-03-2011, 10:04 AM
Russell,

Take a stroll through their patent... the contents are pretty straightforward. Clay to absorb the laser power (wavelength dependent), glass frit to seal it all in, a carrier (e.g., DNA), and a pigment (take your pick, minerals galore).

Dean Fowell
04-08-2011, 9:41 AM
I just orderd some Because I make some shipping tags then the customer throws away, so I might use it the next time im going to test it first, which will be cheaper for throw away tags

Thanks

Jiten Patel
04-08-2011, 10:42 AM
Great find. Now is this stuff available in the UK. I would love to offer metal invitations! Amazing!

Dave Russell Smith
04-08-2011, 1:51 PM
Awesome find Greg thanks, I hope thats good Scottish malt thats been harboring in the flask

Greg Bednar
04-08-2011, 2:35 PM
Jit, - Rokol sells it online over there called Rocol Dry Moly Spray at - online bearings Dot co Dot uk - It's just one place to begin. I must say your VAT sure drives up the prices! If you don't like online , try to look for a bearing company in your particular area. That's what I did and it worked out OK. BTW - if you let the stuff dry completely, which takes three hours on the particular spray I have mentioned to you, you'll get a better burn. I know it's a long wait. But for short runs or a one off where you don't need a constant supply of Cmark or Tmark, it will work. If I had a production line of X hundreds of units, then obviously I would use Cmark or Tmark and cook the cost of the marking material into the final price. If you factor all these high end solvents, into the price of possession which can sit on your shelf and in some cases go beyond the expiration date, you will loose money.

The dry Cmark should last a long time. And it's recyclable.

I like experimenting with different materials, some I see others using on the Net and others which I look at and say " Hmmmm. I wonder what kind of a mark that will leave?"

Incidentally, I did another flask with the dry moly completely cured at 600DPI - 6 speed 100 power one pass and it left a darker than the first one. So that saved time. If I really wanted to save time, I'd buy an Epilog FiberMark. Talk about the price of possession for ten or twenty odd units a year!! - So I hope you see my point and my methodology.

I just use the method which I feel will make the most sense to me with all given variable constraints.

Dave - Single malt Glenfiddich 15 year old is a nice middle of the road brand for me.

Mary Geitz
05-08-2014, 3:08 PM
This flask, made of stainless chinesium, was sprayed with Dry Moly then rastered at 3% speed and 100% power, air assist and two passes. $7.00 for a spray can. Photo taken with webcam. No weird angles to alter the photo; it's a straight on shot.

No amount of Glenfiddich Scotch was harmed in the marking of this hip flask.

I just thought I'd share, since the SC has been so good to me.

I was just wondering if anybody uses this regularly for marking metal. I've never needed it before, but I'd like to try this instead of the expensive CerMark for a project I'm working on.

Tim Bateson
05-09-2014, 11:23 PM
A can of Cermark really isn't that expensive. Considering it goes a long, long way & can pay for itself over & over & over. I don't bother recycling it either. Not worth my time.

Kev Williams
05-09-2014, 11:56 PM
I recycle the dry chunks that form and fall off my bottles. But I go thru a ton of the stuff, spent over $700 on Cermark so far this year. Going thru a ton of DA to mix it with too. I'd love to find a cheaper alternative! One of these days I may remember to buy some plaster and moly!
;)

Bill Cunningham
05-11-2014, 2:09 PM
I recycle the dry chunks that form and fall off my bottles. But I go thru a ton of the stuff, spent over $700 on Cermark so far this year. Going thru a ton of DA to mix it with too. I'd love to find a cheaper alternative! One of these days I may remember to buy some plaster and moly!
;) You don't need DNA ordinary hardware store methylhydrate works fine.. I Recycle the stuff. I'm cheap.. I've used two spray cans in just over 10 years. Even when it's empty, you can cut it open and get enough for dozens more jobs. I charge $3.50 er sq inch with a 5 sq inch minimum charge.

Kev Williams
05-11-2014, 5:20 PM
Neither HD or Lowes has methanol on their websites. And where I did find it online, it costs more than the $15 a gallon I'm paying HD for DA...?

And yeah, it's amazing how much Cermark can be in an 'empty' can! I've cut up every can I've ever bought... ;)

Chuck Stone
05-13-2014, 1:32 PM
I stopped buying denatured or methanol when the office equipment repair place next
to me closed shop. He gave me lots and lots of 'duplicator fluid' (aka Ditto fluid) the
stuff they used to make copies with. (remember smelling the pages in school?)
I wondered why shellac flakes would melt in about 48 hours with denatured alcohol,
but be ready to use in about 2 hours with the ditto fluid. Turns out it's around 190 proof.
(95% ethanol, 5% isopropanol and a little N-propyl acetate)
Great for cermark leftovers, dries almost instantly.
And it cleans just about anything.

Steve Crawford
05-18-2014, 8:43 AM
Ok thought I would give this a go as wanted to try metal engraving for the first time since I got my Speedy 300 in March.

Purchased can of dry moly spray (under 17 here in UK).
Method... Clean with Isopropol Alcohol, spray with moly until black, wait until dry (about 2 or 3 mins), laser, clean with alcohol.

Look at this great result on a steel hammer head... Power 100, Speed 10.

Steve Crawford
05-18-2014, 4:25 PM
Don't know why my posting I made earlier was not added to the bottom of this thread?
Anyway, check out the steel hammer head I marked in no time at all (whole process including Corel design, in less than 5 mins). Simply some alcohol to clean, quick spray with cheap dry moly spray, lasered and then cleaned with alcohol again. Picture in posting above.

Keith Upton
05-19-2014, 10:16 AM
That looks really good Steve. I got my can in last week but have not had a chance to try it yet.

Andrei Georgescu
05-19-2014, 11:56 AM
We don't have Dry Moly around here. I tried today the motorcycle chain grease spray I use for the lifting table chain belt. It was about $5/ can. It took 6 minutes at 80 power 3mm/s speed and came out like this:
289654

Steve Crawford
05-19-2014, 12:25 PM
Andrew, is it totally engraved INTO the surface like on my hammerhead. Just to ensure it was permenant I rubbed it like hell with an alcohol cloth and then some abrasive pads. I'm very please with the detail I managed... It took like 40 seconds too. :D

Andrei Georgescu
05-19-2014, 12:49 PM
I rubbed it with isopropyl alcohol to clean the grease. It seems to be permanent but tonight I will engrave a kitchen knife that I use daily and see how it holds.

David Somers
05-19-2014, 1:20 PM
Is anybody sticking a dry moly piece out in the sun for an extended period to test its UV resistance? Just curious. This has been fun to read about. Wonder what else will surprise us when lasered?

Dave

Kev Williams
05-19-2014, 2:54 PM
What I'm wondering is what happens when the moly-engraving is sanded with 120 grit?

Ross Moshinsky
05-19-2014, 3:29 PM
I think someone should sit down and actually try to find out what power/speed works. At 6% power on a 40W machine, I can't imagine this being worth the savings. Cermark would be over 6x faster to mark. That's considerable. A 10 minute job would be over an hour. The difference in actual cost might be $.50 in that situation. So you're losing out on a potential profit, assuming $2/min, of $100 to save $.50. I just don't see the sense in it.

Something to use in a pinch? Absolutely. Better idea? Keep some Cermark on the shelf.

Andrei Georgescu
05-20-2014, 2:49 AM
Next picture of the knife - a month from now.
289686

Mary Geitz
05-20-2014, 10:45 AM
These picture are amazing! Andrei, can you give me the name of the product you used and where you got it from? I don't ride motorcycles and wouldn't even know where to look. And, thank you all for your input. It was quite helpful.

Mike Null
05-20-2014, 12:38 PM
Steve

With the power you have you can engrave the item without any chemicals. Just slow the speed a bit more.

Andrei Georgescu
05-20-2014, 5:02 PM
I will look at the brand name in the morning but it's not likely you'll find it in the US. It's a grease spray, the cheapest I could find at the motorcycle shop. The grease is for protecting the chains from dirt and solidifies like cold butter (but it's more transparent) on the surface in a few seconds. I used a piece of paper towel to even it out on the surface. I hope that helps.

Andrei Georgescu
05-21-2014, 11:38 AM
This is it. 289760

Michele Welch
05-21-2014, 12:03 PM
Hey Greg,

I am so excited that I found this post. My husband works for an electrical supply warehouse and he carries the Dry Moly lube by CRC (I think?) and I had a flask in my stash and decided to try it last night. Don't know what I did wrong, but you could barely see the image once put through the laser. I followed your steps to clean with alcohol, 2 coats of Moly, let dry thoroughly and then laser. I didn't come out anywhere as good as your flask. Any suggestions? I did try one of my husbands wrenches and it came out pretty well, but it was more gray than black. Does the brand of Moly spray different colors maybe? Even adding additional coats never really darkened my flask. I tried multiple (4) coats just to see, but it stayed the same darkish gray color.

I'm up for any suggestions as this would help me a ton. I used the 6 speed/ 100 power settings and I'm working with a 45 watt machine.

Thanks,
Michele

Chris DeGerolamo
05-21-2014, 12:24 PM
Slightly off topic, but I found out today that Cermark stings if it gets in your eye.

Yep, found out the hard way.

Mike Chance in Iowa
05-21-2014, 1:05 PM
Slightly off topic, but I found out today that Cermark stings if it gets in your eye.

Yep, found out the hard way.

Chris, Can you test out the dry moly & motorcycle chain lube for us too? :D

Hope your eye is doing better.

Dan Hintz
05-21-2014, 1:22 PM
Chris, Can you test out the dry moly & motorcycle chain lube for us too? :D

Hope your eye is doing better.

He has one good one left, I don't see why not...

Robert Silvers
03-20-2015, 6:07 PM
I don't see any reason why CeraMark would be faster. I think the people using the Moly spray just happen to have never tried it at the same time as CeraMark because they don't want to spend $75 to compare them.

Do we think these will work?

http://www.amazon.com/ANTI-SEIZE-TECHNOLOGY-12014-Moly-Spray-Lubricant/dp/B00K6ZSOS4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1426885209&sr=8-2

http://www.amazon.com/CRC-Quick-Moly-Aerosol-Black/dp/B00CSXJA3A/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1426885462&sr=8-12

I ordered both and will report back on April 1st.

Clark Pace
03-20-2015, 10:28 PM
$22 per can? Wow .. I saw it somewhere for $60 for a case!

I tried the grainger version and it worked, but 3% speed it way to slow. It don't have that kind of time to wait for an engrave. cermark etches much faster for me.

Jeff Bromagem
03-21-2015, 5:04 PM
Does this on other metals such as aluminum, chrome plated steel, etc. or just stainless?
Thanks.

Clark Pace
03-22-2015, 1:37 AM
I don't see any reason why CeraMark would be faster. I think the people using the Moly spray just happen to have never tried it at the same time as CeraMark because they don't want to spend $75 to compare them.

Do we think these will work?

http://www.amazon.com/ANTI-SEIZE-TECHNOLOGY-12014-Moly-Spray-Lubricant/dp/B00K6ZSOS4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1426885209&sr=8-2

http://www.amazon.com/CRC-Quick-Moly-Aerosol-Black/dp/B00CSXJA3A/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1426885462&sr=8-12

I ordered both and will report back on April 1st.


No sure. But bermark takes less power than moly for me, and I had to run my laser much slower with moly. With cermark I can run it at about 50% speed. Moly around 5%

Ernie Balch
03-22-2015, 10:16 AM
I can mark SS directly without any Cermark or moly spray. I don't make a practice of this because the reflected beam might cause damage to my optics. I learned not to do this when marking a curved part sent the reflected beam into my red laser and destroyed it.

ernie

Don Corbeil
03-22-2015, 10:46 AM
I happen to have a very dependable local supplier, just a short drive up into the san juan mountains to the climax molybdenum mine :D


http://www.climaxmolybdenum.com/art/headers/header_products.jpg

Greg Mortensen
10-13-2016, 12:13 AM
I recently played with Dry Moly thanks to finding this particular topic via Google, it sure works a treat.

Cermark in Australia is about $150 (sold by Trotec Australia), there's another company that makes a clone of Cermark for about $110 (O'Brien Engineering).
Dry Moly spray costs about $23 at an industrial hardware shop www.blackwoods.com.au (http://www.blackwoods.com.au) (sadly one of the few in the country that actually stock dry moly).

I've done a few tests last night and seems to work well, so after I'm done tweaking the power vs speed, I'll probably start having a go at engraving a mug or flask.

Neville Stewart
10-13-2016, 10:48 AM
Ok thought I would give this a go as wanted to try metal engraving for the first time since I got my Speedy 300 in March.

Purchased can of dry moly spray (under 17 here in UK).
Method... Clean with Isopropol Alcohol, spray with moly until black, wait until dry (about 2 or 3 mins), laser, clean with alcohol.

Look at this great result on a steel hammer head... Power 100, Speed 10.
Steve - how are you measuring your laser power ( 89.9 on an 80 Im guessing? )

John Lifer
10-13-2016, 1:03 PM
One thing I've noticed in trying to figure out which Cermark to purchase is that in looking at the MSDS of all of the Ferro items, (Cermark and Thermark) is that Molybdenum Disulfite is NOT the constituent in ANY of the formulas. it is Molydbenum Trioxide. A much different substance. And they all contain Mica and at least one metal, Iron, nickel, chromium or manganese. I expect we have a chemical reaction with the trioxide and the mica (form of silica which is another chemical in several formulas) and the metal. The Disulfite might work to a degree, but the sulfur might be getting in the way.
But that is the problem with the moly lubes.
I'm kind of tempted to buy some of each of the chemicals in the formulas and play with making my own..... only about $50 to try and I'll have everything about the time my laser shows up...... But % of each is proprietary and I think it would be hard to determine. I really don't want to pay relatively big $ for the Cermark, but I for sure don't want to run at 10% of the speed either. Kind of defeats the purpose of reducing cost.

Kev Williams
10-13-2016, 3:21 PM
This may not be accurate (no stretch), but--
One of my wife's hobbies is ceramics. She/we haven't messed with them in years, but we still have a kiln, and a garage full of molds. One of the things that always intrigued me was the change that takes place in a 2000 kiln, whereas fragile clay greenware turns pure white and hard as stone...

Ergo, I've always considered the distinct possibility that, because intense heat is a common denominator, CERmark may contain at least some ingredients found in CERamic slip; soda ash, talc, sodium silicate, barium carbonate, whatever's in the different clays, or possibly ingredients in porcelain, etc... But then, I'm no Walter White ;)

John Lifer
10-13-2016, 11:08 PM
Kind of my thoughts as well. Like I posted, I'm leaning towards experimentation :)

Klaus Madsen
11-01-2016, 9:36 PM
Yeah Great I found this because I was holding back on all Metal Engraving because Cermark is way to expensive.

Got the Dry Moly and tried it out Yesterday, I'm quite happy with the result.
This is made with two layers of Dry Moly, let dry for an hour, engrave with 225m/s and 65% power in RDWorks, which on my machine is equal to around 100W.
And yes I know the logo is "hanging" to low :)
346789

Kev Williams
11-02-2016, 12:56 AM
I'll have to locate some 'dry' moly- I have tons of 'wet' moly - a quart can of MP-50 Moly Paste and a can of Moly spray lube--

no matter how I've tried using them, they do absolutely nothing except stink up the joint...

Brett Winston
11-02-2016, 10:30 PM
I've used this dry moly with good results: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CSXJA3A/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1