View Full Version : vector laser engraving wax

Robert Walters
11-18-2013, 3:52 PM
I'm considering using wax as an etch resist, then vector engraving (vaporizing?) the wax from the substrate.

Since paraffin wax melts at about 180F, and if I play around with settings a bit, I thought I might be able to engraving / vaporize the wax before it could reflow and let it solidify a bit.

I do have access to various chemisties of paraffin wax; so if I need different temperature rating, wet points, etc I can probably get it.

Am I gonna muck up my laser with vaporized wax reseating itself on the lenses/mirrors or something?

I've seen the vaporized acrylic reseat itself on the exhaust port build up over time, though never an issue.

Has anyone tried vector engraving wax before?
If so, any photos of the results?

Gary Hair
11-18-2013, 6:58 PM
I can't speak to the way wax would, or would not, work, but I can tell you from experience that paint works great as an etch resist and lasers very well. Any particular reason you want to use wax?

Robert Walters
11-18-2013, 7:16 PM
Any particular reason you want to use wax?

WAX ON, WAX OFF (sorry, couldn't resist)

Dries almost instantly
No chemicals/solvents/neutralizers needed to apply/remove.
Can be removed with hot water or low heat
Can be reused
Non toxic
Easily available anywhere
Adheres to almost anything
Resistant to most chemicals.

From a KISS perspective, just kinda made sense.

Steve Clarkson
11-18-2013, 7:45 PM
I don't think that you will find that wax will work. Try liquid latex instead.

Dave Sheldrake
11-18-2013, 8:19 PM
Heat dispersion from the substrate will likely cause problems with melt back.

Acrylic spray paint works very well for masking if that helps?



Kim Vellore
11-18-2013, 8:31 PM
I am curious on how do you plan on getting a thin uniform layer of wax ON like paint.

Mike Tavares
11-25-2013, 7:47 PM
Hi Robert,

I used to laser etch some really high end cigar humidors back in the early 90's for an employer. My boss came up with an idea to mask the
surface with a thin coat of liquid laxative before etching. I beleive it was Phillips regular liquid laxative. We applied it using a regular spray bottle.
It drys pretty quickly. ( like a white-out correction fluid ) After etching we would use a wet cloth to wipe the surface. You can also use car wax. These two methods worked great for non porous surfaces. Doesn't scratch the surface!! ----Hope this helps?

Rodne Gold
11-26-2013, 1:45 AM
You can use either paint or a laser friendly vinyl..the issue is that the laser does NOT fully remove the resist and you need a way of cleaning to do so. If we use vinyl , we sandblast the plate prior to etching which gives a clean metal surface, if we use paint , we use slightly abraisive household cleaner rubbed into the plate via fingertips (a toothbrush is too harsh) , the problem with this way is that you risk losing the inside of small lettering.
The Vinyl is the best , but you need a blaster to get rid of glue residue and you struggle to strip the vinyl after.
Wax wont work at all...