View Full Version : Epilog Zing 24 suitable for alu panels?

Halgeir Wold
10-28-2011, 5:23 PM
I'm concidering exchanging our old engraver with a laser engraver, possibly a Zing 24 40W, as this is probably the max price I can defend budgetwise, given the importer markup here in Norway.

My prime target is nature anodized alu plates , - front and rear panels for electronic instruments, as well as some signage for internal company use. I have no experience with laser engravers as such, so looking for some advice towards usability for our purposes.

A few additional questions, if someone will care to answer:
What kind of ink/colour fill is necesseary for alu panels, - and maybe brass?
Read some older threads about laser tube reliability and life time - what todays situation?
Any other brands in the same price level, sporting roughly the same performance or better?

TIA in advance... :)

Bruce Volden
10-28-2011, 5:39 PM

You mentioned ANODIZED aluminum---it is usually very easy to "engrave"--after all you are just bleaching off the color and 40W laser will do just fine. As far as "marking", (you state color fill), other aluminum it can be tricky. Aluminum is an excellent heat sink and you will have varying results due to this fact. I, personally, don't like it. Brass---forget it!! Epilog as a rule makes a fine machine. You will just have to experiment and get to know the machine. If I had lots of money to spend, I'd have to get a Kern system.

håper dette hjelper


Halgeir Wold
10-28-2011, 5:46 PM
EDIT - finger trouble :eek:

Halgeir Wold
10-28-2011, 6:06 PM
Takk for info så langt...:)

Most of the system boxes we use are clear of natural colour anodized alu. I've had some panels made out of premises, that were ink or paint filled, so I sort of assumed that it was necesseary as with regular rotary engraving...?
BTW - why not regular engravers brass for laser engraving?

( besides - a large extension to our company premises will be finished sort of late february, and the total number of door signs etc.etc will probably pay more htan half the cost of the system )

Michael Hunter
10-28-2011, 7:03 PM
Sounds like a misunderstanding here.

Low power CO2 lasers (less than 150W) will not remove any metal at all. Even the higher powered ones (150 to 250W) will not work on aluminium, but only on metals with high thermal resistance like stainless steel. This being the case, there is nothing there to fill with ink or paint.

When people here talk about engraving anodised aluminium, they are generally referring to burning the coloured dye out of the anodised layer. Natural or silver coloured anodising will not show much effect.

There are various products where a layer of glass or ceramic dust is melted onto the surface of metal ("Cermark" etc.). Generally these materials work best on metals with high thermal resistance, though some have said that they get good results on brass.

For marking metals Fibre or YAG lasers are more effective (and much more expensive than a Zing!). These types DO have the capability of removing metal, though again, most reports have been about stainless steel or titanium and I'm not sure how effective they would be on aluminium.

Tony Lenkic
10-28-2011, 7:10 PM
Good post Michael.

Rodne Gold
10-29-2011, 5:04 AM
You can't use a laser for what you want to do , you need a machine that actually has a cutting bit , like your engraver. Maybe look at a Overhead CnC router type machine if you want to do bigger stuff.

Halgeir Wold
10-29-2011, 10:11 AM
I hear you guys, - and thanks for your responses..
However, - I may have been somewhat unclear in formulating my needs..
I'm not necesseary looking for deep engraving, like one would do with a classical engraving machine or CNC, rather for something more like labelling of panels, like text and markings for buttons and switches.
Some of the demo videos at the Epilog site rather clearly seems to indicate that this is possible,
I do know that some of the panels we had made, were laser "etched" or engraved on a rather low powered system, and then colour filled of some sort..... but I don't know exactly which system was used.
What is the purpose of this "marking liquid" referred to at the Epilog site...?

You may very well be right in your comments. I am quite certain the a Zing system will fill other needs for us, but I was indeed rather hoping to kill two birds with one stone.....

Dan Hintz
10-29-2011, 3:30 PM
I do know that some of the panels we had made, were laser "etched" or engraved on a rather low powered system, and then colour filled of some sort..... but I don't know exactly which system was used.
What is the purpose of this "marking liquid" referred to at the Epilog site...?
The "marking fluid" (Cermark/ Thermark, etc.) is not a color fill, it is a glass frit/pigment combo that (in essence) applies a colored mask on top of the metal (though there is a manner of mechanical adhesion in the process). It's sprayed on the area of interest, then wherever the laser hits, the frit melts and traps the pigment at that spot. The rest is washed away (or recaptured/reconstituted for later use).

Low-power CO2 lasers simply cannot remove any material from metals, so colorfill is a non starter. If you're able to source panels with a color anodizing, you can bleach the color with the laser... I personally love anodized aluminum as it's a very simple material to work with and is a very high resolution substrate.