View Full Version : Engraving/marking brass tags

Paul Williams from Nunavut
11-01-2011, 3:33 PM
Hello. I've received a catalogue from a store that supplies engraveables and it includes brass items, some stainless steel and other like materials.

I've had no success engraving steel before (and marking didn't do so well either, with Cermark), but I wondered about brass and pewter. Should I be able to engrave brass trophy plaques, ornaments, pewter and the like, or should I steer far away from all metals? Thanks for the advice.

Joe Hillmann
11-01-2011, 3:41 PM
If you want to engrave on metals you need a YAG laser which start around $30,000 for a cheap Chinese machine and go up from there. If you want to engrave metal with a CO2 you need to have coated metal of some sort. That means the metal needs to be painted, anodized, or powder-coated or you need to use cermark. Which I have never used, so I will leave it to someone else to give you suggestions in that area.

Dave Gates
11-01-2011, 4:25 PM
JDS/Marco/Freeman all sell metal sheets designed for laser engraving.

Paul Williams from Nunavut
11-01-2011, 4:25 PM
Thank you Joe for that information. Wow, $30k? Not in the foreseeable future, if at all. I'll listen for more about painting, anodizing, powder-coating and/or cermarking. Thanks again.

Paul Williams from Nunavut
11-01-2011, 4:26 PM
Thanks, Dave, I'll look into them.

Richard Rumancik
11-02-2011, 12:27 PM
Paul, you should not have any problems getting stainless to mark using Cermark. Lots of people here do it with good success. Cermark and stainless are a pretty reliable combination.

As far as "plain" steel is - you can't use uncoated/unplated steel as it will rust. Therefore it will have a plating or coating on it. Cermark won't work over an organic coating (eg paint, lacquer etc). If you try to mark on plated steel it really depends on what the plating is. It is a often a trial and error process.

As far as using Cermark on brass tags, brass will conduct the heat away very fast so you have to go so slow it is not profitable. Pewter is hit-and-miss as you really won't know the composition or if there is a clear coating overtop. The problem with marking "unknown" materials is that you have to do a lot of experimentation. Which means you need to allow dfor some scrap. You can't assume anything as a lot of ware is not well-documented as to what metal it really is or what kind of coating is on it . . .

Paul Williams from Nunavut
11-02-2011, 5:05 PM
Thanks, Richard, I'll keep all that in mind. Going slow isn't a real big problem for us, as we are currently not a high volume company yet:).

Bill Cunningham
11-03-2011, 9:50 PM
Cermark also works great for high carbon steel, and knife blades.. I did a Cold Steel Bowie knife blade a way back, I was sweating a bit ($700.00 knife) but it came out great.. It was a gift for the customers bestman..
I bought a can of the spray stuff 8 years ago, and I'm still using it.. If you spray in a small glass or plexi booth the scape off and collect when dry, and clear the nozzle by spraying upside down into a glass, and washing the Cermarked parts off in a tray of alcohol, you would be amazed at how much you can salvage, remix with alcohol, store in a sealed glass container, and use for years.. It may be expensive to buy, but it will cover at lot of material if your exceedingly cheap like my wife says I am :cool: