View Full Version : Cermark Help

Eric Allen
09-02-2007, 5:59 AM
Anyone try using the newer Cermark LMM-6038, also appears to be called RD-6038? It's supposed to be good for harder to adhere situations like chrome and such. So far, it's been an exercise in frustration in that department. I've tried thin, slightly thicker, 20s/100p, 15s/100p, 10s/100p, 5s/100p, down to 3s/100p in raster, all at 600 dpi, closest thing to their recommended 500 dpi. I'd hate to have to move to 1200, I'll be old before a pen gets done:) I've hit it twice in 5/100, that cleaned up one that didn't look fully darkened, but adhesion is still poor. It performs fine on stainless, but adhesion is either short term or non existent on chrome/shiny materials. I clean everything very well with denatured alcohol first (also the thinner used). At this point, I'm thinking of writing and asking them for the difference between this stuff and LMM-6000, I see no difference in performance to justify the extra cost.

Scott Shepherd
09-02-2007, 8:06 AM
I have no experience with this, but I do recall an earlier thread where the person who works for them said that Chrome was a very tough one and that a lot depended on where the item was chromed. US chromed items seemed to have no problems sticking, but Chinese chromed parts were hit or miss. Apparently the lack of quality control in that market leads to not so pure batches of chrome.

Not sure what you're trying to do, product wise, but that might be part of your issue?

Eric Allen
09-02-2007, 4:37 PM
I have no experience with this, but I do recall an earlier thread where the person who works for them said that Chrome was a very tough one and that a lot depended on where the item was chromed. US chromed items seemed to have no problems sticking, but Chinese chromed parts were hit or miss. Apparently the lack of quality control in that market leads to not so pure batches of chrome.

Not sure what you're trying to do, product wise, but that might be part of your issue?

I bought this particular type because it's supposed to be good on smooth or polished surfaces. It seems to work fine on the standard stuff, but it was not effective on a 10' Stanley PowerLock tape measure except where I blasted it so hard the chrome is starting to bubble a smidge, even then this stuff is kind of spotty, comes away in little tiny bits. Then I did a pen for the Mrs. last night with paw prints on one side, her name on the other. It's a Pierre Cardin, supposed to be brass, coated in a very shiny surface material. Her name scratched right off, haven't tried the paw prints, pretty sure they'll chip off fairly easily. I hit that at 5s/100p/600dpi twice, so it wasn't hurting for power:) So far I'm just not getting anything that resembles extra adhesion

David Leedy
09-04-2007, 6:48 AM
Funny timing on this thread. Just yesterday I tried doing some things with cermark on Aluminum and stainless steel...

We had some new "6038" and some older "6000".. This was the first time I've really tried to use either...

I couldn't get either of them to adhere well at all... most of it seemed to wipe off.... The best that I could achieve was a faint impression that would stay.. certainly not a nice black marking.:(

I tried spraying the cermark with it thinned 2 parts to 1, denatured alcohol to cermark and I tried applying with a brush with it thinned 1 part to 1.

I used a 75 Watt Epilog EXT and tried speeds all the way down to 10 with 100 power.

Any advice about this, or the original poster's issue with the "6038" would be really appreciated!!!


Ed Newbold
09-04-2007, 7:46 AM
As the title says, I also managed to try some of the LMM stuff and discovered that it produces less than acceptable results. I was lasering on some made-in-China Zippo-like lighters, and the results were horrible.

I tried a variety of settings, and the manufacturer's recommended settings produced the best of the bad results. I also tried Cermark last year with the same poor results, so I'm giving up on the stuff and moving on to sand blasting for all future glass and metal projects.


Brian Robison
09-04-2007, 8:21 AM
I'm wondering if there might be a coating like a clear lacquer on the materials? If there is a scrap part try lasering a spot out and then spray and laser with the LMM. I had to do this with some tags for an aircraft a while back.

Sean Weir
09-04-2007, 4:56 PM
Hello Eric,

Sorry to hear you've been having trouble, hopefully I can help you out.

Our data sheets may be a little confusing on the properties of the LMM-6038 product, so I'll try to clarify. Our LMM-6000 is our general purpose metal marking material. Sometime this product will not stick well to a very shiny surface and the coating will tend to flake off during the marking process. You will see actual flakes of the applied coating coming off during laser marking. We aren't describing the actual mark obtained, but the behavior of the unlasered coating on a shiny surface. LMM-6038 is basically LMM-6000 with an adhesion promoter added to prevent this from happening. The marks obtained from LMM-6000 and LMM-6038 will be virtually identical.

As for the poor performance you are seeing, I have a few comments. As Scott has mentioned, chrome is a difficult substrate to mark. Chrome baths can vary from plater to plater. From our experience we can say that chrome from Taiwan and China will have very different properties than US chrome. Chrome from US sources, such as Harley Davidson usually works very well. Chrome from the Far East will rarely work with our product. You may need to check on where your chrome part was manufactured.

Your laser should have enough power to get a good bond to the chrome. We have a 45 watt here in the lab, I would think something like 100% power and somewhere between 5-150% speed would work.

I just posted some suggestions to Becky over in Engraving Etc. David, so check with her. I suggested to check some of these things:

1. The metal being marked. Always make sure the metal is clean, use alcohol or solvent to remove any oils from machining. Clear coatings on the metal will interfere with the bonding, as Brian has noted.

2. Applying too much Cermark will cause difficulty in bonding. We strive to coat with just barely enough Cermark to hide the surface of the metal underneath.

3. Power settings. Finding the right settings are important. Also, the type of metal you are marking, different metals may require different speed settings. We always recommend a test piece with a power grid.

4. More rarely, but common, is laser power output. I've seen some people have difficulty when their laser power output begins to drop. Since our material requires a lot of power, you'll notice any power drop in your laser using our material first. You may not notice power loss on things that require less power like Romark or anodized parts.

Hopefully, some of these suggestions may help. Please let me know if I can be of any more help. Also, we are always open to trying to mark materials for everyone. If you'd like to send us a piece of the material, we'd be glad to give it a try.

Good luck!


David Leedy
09-05-2007, 9:39 AM

Thanks for the reply. I did check with becky (she's my wife afterall :) ) and she's getting better results now.

She's presanding with an abrasive and also used a vector beam rather then a raster.

But now the mark is black and not coming off.

Thanks for the assist!

Eric Allen
09-05-2007, 1:04 PM
I'm glad you chimed in Sean, if I couldn't find something with folks here, I was going to give you guys a call on this. It's nice having you on the board, you can knock out a lot of us at once:) Couple of questions that might help us all out. 1. Is there any easy way to tell if something is lacquered? I'm pretty sure the things I'm doing are just plated, but I'd like to be absolutely sure. I can see the grain structure of my stainless clearly, and it marks fantastically well at 20/100/600. It's any other slick metal that's giving me fits. 2. What are the signs of too much power, or is that possible? I'm looking at trying vectoring on slick surfaces. It's a LOT more power than raster at any speed, so I'm going to try and find a happy medium. I appreciate you explaining the issue of the newer cermark being more about wet adhesion vs. actual material adhesion as well, it clarifies things for me. I suspected, but wasn't sure:)

Sean Weir
09-05-2007, 3:50 PM
Hello Eric,

I don't know of any easy way to tell if a metal is lacquered or not. You can try scratching a test piece to see if you can scratch through any coating. Paint stripper from the hardware store should remove most types of lacquer. Acetone may also take off some lacquers. Examining the metal while turning it through many angles of view may also help, if it has a coating it may display a rainbow-like or iridescent effect while you turn it.

You can tell if you've used too much power if you start seeing the markings lose blackness. Marks made with too much power will begin to turn brownish or bluish, and you may even begin to dimple the metal. We recommend marking a test power grid on a scrap piece to optimize your power settings whenever possible. Mark a series of test squares using 100% power and varying your write speed. If your laser is powerful enough, you should be able to see the point at which the mark starts turning brownish. Use speed settings to make your mark that are just before that point.

Hope this helps, if you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.


Eric Allen
09-05-2007, 5:08 PM
It helps a great deal, thanks much! It certainly helps to know the signs of overdoing it, I was starting to wonder if that was possible since 3 speed on raster left it black. It was starting to look like the material was invincible:)