View Full Version : Thermark LMM14 vs LMM6000

Keith Downing
02-27-2016, 8:19 PM
I'm finally ready to start ordering my first round of supplies to try some engraving on some stainless steel shaker tins and flasks.

I've been reading for hours on the Thermark site and also searching the forum. I can't seem to find a clear answer on which is better to use the LMM14 or the LMM6000. The only difference Thermark states definitively is that the LMM14 can't be handled after spraying (before lasering) and the LMM6000 dries hard so it can. That doesn't make a huge difference to me.

Anyone tested both head to head? I'd do it myself but it's so damn expensive I don't want to have to buy both just to test.

I'm looking for the best, darkest mark I guess.

Mike Null
02-28-2016, 9:18 AM
I have not tested Thermark. I have been using Cermark LMM6000 for years and this year I am just about to complete 1200 pieces which were done with a sponge brush (I prefer an air brush) with as few a 5 redo's.

I buy the 250 gram bottle which is enough to do few thousand pieces with nearly a 5 figure income. These 1200 pieces produced nearly $5000. 1000 of the pieces took 18 seconds each in the laser. When $129 in material produces that kind of income I consider it very cheap--not expensive.

Keith Downing
02-28-2016, 11:07 AM
Thanks for the info Mike.

Mind if I ask what you're marking? Or at least what type of metal?

And do you feel you get a true "black" mark?

Kev Williams
02-28-2016, 12:57 PM
All I've used is the LMM6000. They've recently changed their formula, because (from what I understand) one of their proprietary ingredients became unavailable. When I got my first 500gm bottle, I was upset at not getting my usual 1/3 full bottle of molasses-type mud, but instead a 2/3 full bottle of 'runny' mud, more of the consistency of gravy. My first thought was it had been 'watered down' and I would get less usable product. However, after doing some thinning tests and measuring the results, I came to find that the total usable product was almost identical.

But there are other differences, good and bad. Both versions "settle" badly once mixed. The new version re-mixes much easier than the old. I also like how the new version thins in general. For spraying, it doesn't seem to clog the airbrush nozzle like the old version. And for brushing, the new version has a 'sweet spot' where it flows perfectly from a brush, and levels itself out nicely, with perfect consistency. The old version didn't seem to have as much actual Cermark when thinned this much. In fact, I like brushing the new version so much, I haven't sprayed it in months! I know Mike loves foam brushes, and I've learned to love a 2" brush when doing large areas! For smaller areas, find the cheapest looking and costing brushes you can find, with not-tightly spaced coarse bristles. The 3 for $1 kind that an artist would never use! ;) -- They make GREAT Cermark brushes, as they seem to suck up more Cermark than 'good' brushes, and they lay it down good too...

Ok, that was the good. For the bad-- The new version is no where near as black as the old version. The old version wasn't quite "black", but the new version is lighter.
This pic is a little visual I made in Corel to explain how I see it. Left is black, center is how the old version comes out, right is the new version.
click on it, then click the pic again to take it full size and remove the background...Not perfect, but a fair representation of how I see the difference...


--note that the black also depends on ambient lighting, reflections, etc... But just know that "dark gray" is a black as any LMM6000 has ever been by my eye ;)

And one more negative, and my least favorite issue-- The old version easily washed off with plain old water. Not sure what's in the new version, but it is nowhere NEAR as water-soluble as before. Whereas I used to be able to just rinse off and wipe off, I've found that even using a scrub brush and dishsoap sometimes won't remove all the Cermark haze. In most cases a rag will work but the easy way is to use a magic eraser LIGHTLY while running water over the part, it's abrasive enough to remove the haze pretty easily. And sometimes I still do a final wipe with a clean rag and some alcohol.

But all that aside, it seems like it costs a lot, but last week I made nearly $1000 on maybe 2 tablespoon's worth of very-much thinned Cermark. I go thru a 500gm bottle in about a year. And Cermark engraving accounts for probably 1/4 my total sales. I'll just say that's a substantial return on a $250 investment :)

Keith Downing
02-28-2016, 4:33 PM
Great information Kev, thanks for taking the time.

I was leaning towards the LMM14 because it did say the solution was water soluble. But since everyone seems to be using the LMM6000 I'll probably just start with that as others seem (mostly) satisfied with the results they're getting.

As per their website:

Different TherMark products make darker black marks on different substrates. If blackness of mark is a key factor, we recommend:

Stainless steel – LMM6000 (http://www.thermark.com/content/view/36/78/) aerosol or paste ink
Chrome or nickel plating – LMM14 (http://www.thermark.com/content/view/35/78/) aerosol or liquid ink
Anodized metal – LMM6018.LF (http://www.thermark.com/content/view/38/78/) self-adhesive tape
All other metals – LMM14 (http://www.thermark.com/content/view/35/78/) aerosol or liquid ink

Mike Null
02-29-2016, 7:59 AM
I am marking glossy stainless steel pan lids with a logo. That's the 18 second per piece job. I just bought a new jar of LMM6000 from JDS and it was the same as my old stuff--thick syrupy and I mixed it like I always do with dna. I get a black mark--not gray. Everything I do is on stainless steel. I've had zero success on non ferrous metals.

I prefer an air brush because I can get a more uniform application but some jobs are not suited for air brushing. for those I use a 1" sponge applicator.

Kev Williams
02-29-2016, 10:44 AM
JDS must have some old on the shelves still. Another way to tell the difference between the two is the color-
The old is a grayish tan, the new is a yellowish tan. I spilled some last night and used this piece of plastic
to scoop it off the laser table. You can see how well it flows out just looking at it. It really does brush a lot better
than the old stuff (which I just sprayed from a can).


Ross Moshinsky
02-29-2016, 2:07 PM
A piece of advice, go even thinner on your application.

Don Corbeil
03-01-2016, 10:39 AM
I recently purchased a 250g bottle of the older LMM6000 mix (lot #2701) on ebay for only 60 bucks. I called Ferro to check on the lot number (and if there was any 'expiration') before I purchased, and he confirmed that they had changed the mixture, because they were no longer able to procure one of the chemicals from the older mix.
Previously, I had tried all the alternatives (molybdenum, plaster of P) and nothing worked as well for dark marking as this. Have not tried thermark.