PDA

View Full Version : Recommendations for setting up Cermark work



David Rust
11-23-2012, 11:14 PM
Hi All,

I want to use Cermark for marking knife blades, gun barrels, porcelain mugs, etc... I want your help to get set up to do this the right way...

To all of you who know what your doing, here are my questions:

1. Should I go with the aerosol can or an air brush system? I assume the airbrush system is best.
2. Is there a decent priced compressor, airbrush combo that you guys/gals recommend? I was browsing Harbor Freight and they have a compressor and airbrush combo for $89... has anybody tried that system?
3. What is the difference between the Cermark metal marking and the Cermark Hi-Stick formula? Wouldn't I be better off always using the Hi-Stick formula for knife blades and gun barrels? When would I want the regular formula over the Hi-Stick?
4. I also want to mark porcelain mugs, does the Cermark tile and glass solution work well? Does it apply and burn similar to the metal Cermark or does it have another set of tricks to make it work well?

Lastly, are there any special application tips that I should follow for metal and for glass/porcelain? I read the brief tips on page 84 of the current Laserbits catalog, any other good info out there?

Thanks!

Dan Hintz
11-24-2012, 8:45 AM
1. Should I go with the aerosol can or an air brush system? I assume the airbrush system is best.
2. Is there a decent priced compressor, airbrush combo that you guys/gals recommend? I was browsing Harbor Freight and they have a compressor and airbrush combo for $89... has anybody tried that system?
3. What is the difference between the Cermark metal marking and the Cermark Hi-Stick formula? Wouldn't I be better off always using the Hi-Stick formula for knife blades and gun barrels? When would I want the regular formula over the Hi-Stick?
4. I also want to mark porcelain mugs, does the Cermark tile and glass solution work well? Does it apply and burn similar to the metal Cermark or does it have another set of tricks to make it work well?

Lastly, are there any special application tips that I should follow for metal and for glass/porcelain? I read the brief tips on page 84 of the current Laserbits catalog, any other good info out there?

1) Air brush... the aerosol can will be significantly more expensive over time.
2) I use the $15 airbrush from HF without issue (though it's a little fiddly at first). I'm not familiar with their compressor, but I would suggest spraying from a tank rather than an always-on compressor... that way you avoid pulsing.
3) Ferro could answer this one better than me, but I chose the high-stick formula... no problems so far with any materials, but then I don't do a ton of it.
4) I'll let someone else take this one...

Dee Gallo
11-24-2012, 4:23 PM
You should definitely go to youtube and see the Ferro video on applying Cermark... makes it crystal clear how to apply it correctly. I also recommend airbrush, I recommend a cheap single action brush even though most people go for double action. But, I find single actions are easier to clean and less likely to clog for newbies. Any compressor which gives you 35-60 psi will do, add a moisture trap to avoid spitting water. I do recommend you check the decibel level, though, they can be noisy! I have used both the metal (LM6000) and ceramic (LMC) types, they both work well and pretty much the same, except the settings are different. I got a settings/instruction sheet from Ferro and it has always worked well.

If you get into using the airbrush, consider using a CO2 tank instead of a compressor. It gives you clean and dry air, makes no noise and needs no electricity. It just won't work in a cold basement, it will freeze up, but 65+ is fine. You can buy a tank, regulator and gauge from a soda supply place and I only get mine refilled once a year for like $12.

cheers, dee

Ernie Martinez
11-25-2012, 4:10 PM
I just did a stainless license plate this morning, and used the Cermark tape for the first time. Excellent for small areas, I did 10" x 1" line of letters. I liked it because I was able to mark the center on the tape using a pen, and use the centering feature of my laser. 100% power 13 speed on my 50w laser worked great, minimal cleanup or waste. For large jobs may be more expensive than spraying.

Gary Hair
11-25-2012, 6:36 PM
I use the paste and airbrush it on. I thin it very thin, maybe as much as 10:1 - the consistency of milk is a good way to describe it. I spray it on VERY thin as well, just enough so that it takes away the shininess of the metal. If you can't see the metal through the Cermark then you have too much.
Use a test piece and run the attached grid to determine the best speed for your laser. Use 100% power and vary the speed from 20 to 60 in increments of 10, then when you find the best mark do the same test and vary the speed +5 and -5 in increments of 1 from that setting. This will save lots of time messing around. I use 600 dpi and get a good tradeoff of speed vs detail.


Attached is the grid I use. I usually make the boxes different colors to correspond to the pallette in my laser driver but I don't know if you have that ability.
Gary

Dan Hintz
11-25-2012, 8:18 PM
Gary has it nailed, IMHO... I think we're the only two who suggest thinning around a 10:1 ratio, but whatever works for you is the most important. His power grid is exactly as I do mine, though mine is in the 10-40S range initially... I found thin SS plate to work well at around the 20S mark, give or take. Be aware, too slow and you will start to warp metal, so build up your library of settings with as many non-customer items as possible ;)

Albert Nix
11-26-2012, 9:02 AM
If you plan on doing any volume Dan, Dee and Gary are right, the airbrush is the way to go. Most of my cermark jobs are SS data plates and most of the times just one or two pieces so a rattle will last me a while and all I have to do is pop the nozzle off and run a little water through it and blow it out and it is good to go the next time. P.S. I run 25S 100P most of the time on SS. Good luck

Mike Null
11-26-2012, 9:10 AM
There are many jobs where a small sponge brush is the best applicator.

David Rust
11-29-2012, 8:02 PM
You guys are great. Thanks for all the advice. I just bought a airbrush/compressor from HF on sale for $89... next I'll get the Hi-Stick black Cermark and start testing!

Bill Cunningham
11-29-2012, 9:39 PM
I don't usually do a 'lot' of Cermark stuff, usually ones and twos of knife blades etc.. I use a 1" wide soft paint brush and just wipe on a coat and let it dry. I just dip the brush into my jar of Cermark scavenged from larger jobs and diluted with alcohol. Most stainless I work with is at least 16ga. so I have no worry about warping...Usually run about 15spd 600dpi and 100%pwr

Kevin Cederquist
11-29-2012, 10:56 PM
We have so far only used the rattle cans. They seem to work quite well. I believe the advertised cost for the aerosol can was about $.06/square inch. And the airbrush stuff was closer to $.02. I think eventually we will go to the airbrush/paste, but we don't do enough metal just yet.

As for ceramic, it was really finicky getting a good setting to work. I ended up needing to do a low power with very low speed. Last one I did we were still using a 30 watt laser, and it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 30% power and 12-20% speed with about a 500 ppi. (I'm working by brain here, I have since deployed to Afghanistan, so it's been almost a year since I've worked with the laser. Can't wait to get back to it in a few months.)

I did some tests on tempered glass pie pan. It looked fantastic, however after around 3 months, and I'm not sure if it was the dish washer or the oven, but it started to get a 'wet' look to parts of it. I've attached an image. Like I said though, I did this job right before deploying, so I haven't had a chance to experiment any more to see how to fix it. Maybe a simple "hand wash only" instruction would solve the problem. We also use the rattle can for the glass/ceramic.

I agree with what was said above, the airbrush is much cheaper in the long run. But if you just want to get started and try it out, the aerosol is not a bad option and we've been very satisfied with it.
246670