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View Full Version : How long should this piece take to make?



Alex Smith23
12-13-2018, 11:14 PM
I bought a 20w MOPA fiber laser from China last year and have had a blast figuring it out and making pieces of jewelry for my online business. I mark on stainless steel and my objective is to get a dark black. Color would be nice, but I've found it's extremely difficult to find a nice, solid color that marks reliably! I'm able to consistently mark black, but the issue I am running into is how long it takes for me to produce a piece of jewelry. In the picture below, this takes me ~10 minutes and I'm wondering how long other user's machines would take to make this. I paid about $7k for my machine and I'm kicking around the idea of selling it and upgrading to something that'll produce a piece of jewelry faster.

Hoping others chime in with machines specifics, how much they paid, and an estimate of how long it would take to replicate something like in the attached picture.

398708

chris szlachetka
12-14-2018, 2:18 AM
On my epilog 40w + cremark would take 5/6mins. I know youíre running a fiber, idk maybe thatíll help.

Gary Hair
12-14-2018, 6:55 AM
You will never get a black mark on a fiber in a reasonable amount of time unless it's very small. My Trotec with Cermark would mark that in just a couple of minutes.

John Lifer
12-14-2018, 10:23 AM
Gary is right. And depending on the base metal and surface, never is attainable. :(

I think for the most part, if smooth finish, engrave somewhat deep, take a couple of minutes, and paint fill with enamel if you want BLACK.
Do as Jewelers do. Or cermark with CO2 machine.

Alex Smith23
12-14-2018, 10:56 AM
You will never get a black mark on a fiber in a reasonable amount of time unless it's very small. My Trotec with Cermark would mark that in just a couple of minutes.

Thank you for the info, Gary. Any idea ballpark $ figure what I'd be looking at for a Trotec Speedy setup? I think I saw those are ~$20k?

Gary Hair
12-14-2018, 12:54 PM
Thank you for the info, Gary. Any idea ballpark $ figure what I'd be looking at for a Trotec Speedy setup? I think I saw those are ~$20k?

I only know what I paid for my 80 watt Speedy 400 just over three years ago so it wouldn't apply now. If you want to mark stainless with Cermark then I'd suggest a Speedy 400 and 120 watts, but that's going to be nowhere near $20, probably twice that much. Depending on your throughput it may make sense to spend $40k++ or it may not, but don't base your purchase solely on price, you have to look at your needs and throughput.

Alex Smith23
12-14-2018, 1:29 PM
I only know what I paid for my 80 watt Speedy 400 just over three years ago so it wouldn't apply now. If you want to mark stainless with Cermark then I'd suggest a Speedy 400 and 120 watts, but that's going to be nowhere near $20, probably twice that much. Depending on your throughput it may make sense to spend $40k++ or it may not, but don't base your purchase solely on price, you have to look at your needs and throughput.

$40k?! Wowzas. Definitely makes more sense for me to buy another Fiber vs. spend $40k on a Speedy. I appreciate the info!

Mike Null
12-14-2018, 1:45 PM
Look at a Speedy 300. A lot less money and you don't need 120 watts. I mark stainless with mine almost every day; fast and with no issues.

Gary Hair
12-14-2018, 2:53 PM
Look at a Speedy 300. A lot less money and you don't need 120 watts. I mark stainless with mine almost every day; fast and with no issues.

If he wants to mark lots of parts with Cermark then a 400 would give him significantly more speed than a 300, you can't use that speed unless you have the power, so 120 might be appropriate. I would have Trotec do some speed tests on his parts to be sure.

Mike Null
12-14-2018, 4:48 PM
The 400 is only faster if the wattage is higher. The 400 table is larger but it's really a rarity when I have to turn away work that won't fit my 300.

Kev Williams
12-14-2018, 5:38 PM
here I go again ;)

Speaking strictly Cermark engraving:

Three 40w $10k machines will engrave more stainless faster than one $30-$40k Speedy 120w machine...

speaking in general: three machines for whatever reason will be infinitely more practical and versatile than one....

As for faster fibering to black, more power is counterproductive, you'd actually be money ahead to buy 2 or 3 10w fibers for annealing...

>late edit< -- and here's a thought: you should explore using your fiber to emulate diamond etch engraving and 'full cut' bright engraving on stainless, those 10 minute pieces will take about 10 seconds ;)

Alex Smith23
12-14-2018, 9:10 PM
>late edit< -- and here's a thought: you should explore using your fiber to emulate diamond etch engraving and 'full cut' bright engraving on stainless, those 10 minute pieces will take about 10 seconds ;)

Kev, could you show me what you mean by diamond etch/full cut bright?

Kev Williams
12-14-2018, 11:30 PM
No problem :)

this is an old reject SS switchplate I tested on...
Did a couple of practice runs and after a few tweaks I got this..
398782

Closeup shows it really does look like diamond etching!
398783
There's no hatch, but what I did was use a very small wobble
at 2000 speed, 40% power and 40 freq (or so)
-- it really dug in, looked a bit burnt even...
So I removed the wobble and ran a few low power/high freq 'polish' passes,
and it came out like this! While I took a few minutes with practice runs,
the total engrave time was probably 45 seconds...

this is the font I used, it's a Truetype version of
New Hermes Old English, which BECAUSE it's Truetype is not a true single-line font,
but worked okay for this.
398784
Normally I do this on watches and lockets, but not nearly this aggressively...

This is what I mean by 'full cut bright', full hatch filling rather than
simple outline engraving. Depending on the particular piece you're engraving
and it's application, this works out very well. I've engraved many knives
like this, SS license plate frames, wrenches, etc...
398785
Note the top engraving, it's has a yellow cast to it- this is likely because
I used a .050 X-hatch, and it cooked the metal a bit. The bottom version I
went to a .080 X-hatch, and was able to up the power a bit and got it brighter
with much less yellow. Wider hatch spacing works better for this type of
finish, less burn and reflects light better (I'm assuming ;) )
These were ran around 3000 speed, 35 freq and 40 power, about 5 passes,
runs about 3 passes in 2 seconds :)

I did these for a friend awhile back, the knives almost look black
although of course they're not, just the lighting angle, but
that same light really highlighted the etching...
398787
IMO this was a much better result than black would've been.

Grab some practice material and have fun! :D

Alex Smith23
12-15-2018, 8:34 PM
Awesome pictures. Thank you, Kev!

Darren Wilson
12-16-2018, 4:16 PM
Hi Alex,

10 minutes seems a bit excessive, what fill and speed and power settings are you using to get your black? Do you need an annealed mark or just black?

Daz

Alex Smith23
12-20-2018, 4:32 PM
Hi Alex,

10 minutes seems a bit excessive, what fill and speed and power settings are you using to get your black? Do you need an annealed mark or just black?

Daz

500mm/s, 100% power (20W), 200KHz, .001mm hatch. I've tried other hatches, but .001mm is the only setting I could find that got me a solid black color.