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Thread: Experimenting today with 50w Fiber to apply Cermark on lasered aluminum surface.

  1. #1

    Experimenting today with 50w Fiber to apply Cermark on lasered aluminum surface.

    Experimenting today with 50w Fiber to apply Cermark on lasered aluminum surface.

    I usually apply blackening which oxidizes the aluminum. That works well for small text, but for larger areas I am having problems with consistency in blackness.

    So my idea is to hit the laser engraving with a final cermark application to achieve a durable final black finish.

    Feedback on speed/power to use in this test would be appreciated.
    Red Bolt Laser Engraving
    Houston, Texas

  2. #2
    Wrong wavelength laser I'm afraid...

    I've successfully Cermarked a lot aluminum with my 80w glass Triumph.

    Your fiber will simply vaporize the Cermark and etch the metal beneath. Try your 60w C02 at what you know is its max power, between 150 and 250mm/sec speed, .04 gap...

    >edit< If you're needing to blacken deep engraving the fiber did first, with some patience you can align the C02 engraving to the fiber engraving. Depends on the complexity of what your're doing as to whether the time spent is worth it.
    ALSO, I need to point out that while Cermark works great on RAW aluminum, it works bupkis on anodized aluminum...

    ceralum4.jpgceralum3.jpgceralum1.jpg
    Last edited by Kev Williams; 11-20-2016 at 1:14 PM.
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  3. #3
    Against your advise, I tried anyway and and sure enough, the Cermark burns off revealing clean aluminum.

    Well I feel like a big ole' dummy. I saw fiber on Cermarks website but neglected to read the detail...

    "If you are using a "typical" 20 watt pulsed fiber laser you can use LMM 6000 to make a black mark on Stainless Steel with the following settings:
    90% power, 200kHz @ 300mm/s .04mm fill"

    https://www.cermarksales.com/lmm-600...a-fiber-laser/

    Why would someone use Cermark on stainless when you could just anneal instead?
    Red Bolt Laser Engraving
    Houston, Texas

  4. #4
    My assumption was that Cermark and Thermark were basically the same. Since I had Cermark in hand, I figured why not give it a try.

    This video is what gave me the idea, however he is using Thermark on Steel.

    Red Bolt Laser Engraving
    Houston, Texas

  5. #5
    You're assumption was correct. Thermark is the original company name that marketed Cermark, and Thermark was bought out by Ferro last year. So for all intents and purposes, All 3 names mean the same thing

    Here's a screenshot of the 'Ferro/Thermark" laser setting chart. Notice all the Cermark part numbers

    ferro.jpg

    As for why to Cermark instead of just annealiing, I've come to find there's no such thing as 'just' annealing- each piece of SS requires its own hour of practice time to find settings that work. And usually, Cermark is MUCH faster. I don't even bother trying to anneal any more for the most part. Although I am experimenting with settings Gary posted for doing knives. Works, but Sloooooowwwwww...

    And who is FerrTherCermark trying to kid... The top two plates are the 2 results thru the Cermark itself. I took pics to show the Cermark didn't turn black. At all. Third plate down shows the settings I used- Cermark said 90% of 20 watts, with is 18 watts, so I used 60% of 30 watts to get the same 18 watts. After less than stellar results the first try, I lowered the speed (rather than raise the power) and it got worse instead of better. The bottom plate I put on the machine and ran it with NO Cermark at the same settings as the second pass. All the Cermark did was slightly tint the bronze-ish mark gray-ish. And don't let your monitor fool ya, the gray marks aren't the least bit dark, and no darker whatsoever than the fiber-only mark. I would get a blacker mark using fiber-only at lower power... That might just work with Cermark too, but then-- it still wouldn't be because of the Cermark...
    cmarkss.jpg

    I absolutely love Cermark, but my fiber at least will never make it work...
    ========================================
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  6. #6
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    Black shoe polish?
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  7. #7
    I wish shoe polish was viable, however the blackening needs to be permanent and very resilient against cleaners, solvents and oils etc.
    Red Bolt Laser Engraving
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kleiber View Post
    I wish shoe polish was viable, however the blackening needs to be permanent and very resilient against cleaners, solvents and oils etc.
    If you can get it to fill the engraved areas, Plastikote engine paint (i.e. enamel paint) should be resistant to solvents once cured. I have used it with success on a 1911 slide that needed to be recoated - it actually looked better than the factory parkerizing.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Kev Williams View Post
    Wrong wavelength laser I'm afraid...

    I've successfully Cermarked a lot aluminum with my 80w glass Triumph.

    Your fiber will simply vaporize the Cermark and etch the metal beneath. Try your 60w C02 at what you know is its max power, between 150 and 250mm/sec speed, .04 gap...

    >edit< If you're needing to blacken deep engraving the fiber did first, with some patience you can align the C02 engraving to the fiber engraving. Depends on the complexity of what your're doing as to whether the time spent is worth it.
    ALSO, I need to point out that while Cermark works great on RAW aluminum, it works bupkis on anodized aluminum...

    ceralum4.jpgceralum3.jpgceralum1.jpg
    Kev Williams , sorry to butt in, I'm wondering about your results on raw aluminum. I used the same process I do for stainless LMM 6000 and it was easily removed after lazing. Does it need more energy to fuse it onto Al.?
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kleiber View Post
    Why would someone use Cermark on stainless when you could just anneal instead?
    Easy answer - CO2 & Cermark is about 10 x faster than using the Fiber. When you have 300-400 Yetis to mark, it's a no brainer.
    Tim
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    My thought with Fiber, and someday mine will be here. Was I have black power coating powder and some "special" liquid to mix it with (not water) so it will stick to just about anything long enough to add heat, just wondering if the Fiber with the correct settings would do the bonding?
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller, MakerGear M2 3D Printer. Fine Line Automation 4x4 CNC Router- Mach4 ESS

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Neville Stewart View Post
    Kev Williams , sorry to butt in, I'm wondering about your results on raw aluminum. I used the same process I do for stainless LMM 6000 and it was easily removed after lazing. Does it need more energy to fuse it onto Al.?
    My 40w LS900 (Synrad) will not fuse Cermark to aluminum reliably, no matter what the settings.
    My 80w Triumph (RECI) will... but it takes all 80 watts-

    In addition to the aluminum in those pics (which were Chem-filmed, but didn't seem to matter), I've also Cermarked over 700 raw 6061 pieces (2 characters in 12 places) for a customer who WOULD reject any non-satisfactory parts, and I've received no NCR's for any of them.

    The alum parts pass the same tests as SS, which means it stays consistently fused (no flaking off) during heavy red-scotchbriting or sanding, both which will eventually sand off the Cermark. And both the alum and SS take about the same amount of abrasion to remove it...

    Dave Sheldrake can better explain the differences between RF metal and DC glass laser output, but from my own observation, the two are quite different. I bought the Triumph specifically to do Cermark, hoping the higher power would do Cermark faster, and to free up my metal lasers for other work. As it turns out, I am totally unsatisfied with how Cermark looks on SS via the glass laser, simply, it's not near black enough. Another difference between the two when magnifiying Cermark results, all of my metal lasers Cermarking appears as a relatively smooth and consistent matte finish. But the magnified Cermark done via glass laser shows distinct grooves, much like vinyl record grooves. It's as if the metal lasers are flattening the Cermark down, and the glass laser is carving a V-ditch in the Cermark...

    The how and why of all that, I don't know, but the same reason my 80w Triumph DOES do aluminum okay but NOT stainless, may be why your 80w Trotec does exactly the opposite...
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill George View Post
    My thought with Fiber, and someday mine will be here. Was I have black power coating powder and some "special" liquid to mix it with (not water) so it will stick to just about anything long enough to add heat, just wondering if the Fiber with the correct settings would do the bonding?

    I have used Powder Coat (dry) in a lot of wood projects. Simplified Instructions (details can be found with a search here) - Laser, add powder, laser again (CO2) with lower power and no air assist (air can blow the fine powder out of the groves). Then apply a clear finish over the top. Never tried on metal.
    Tim
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    I'm wondering if there was a way to get a fine coat of powder on metal and then laser it what would happen. I would try it but can't figure out how to get and even and fully cover coat of powder. any ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Bateson View Post
    I have used Powder Coat (dry) in a lot of wood projects. Simplified Instructions (details can be found with a search here) - Laser, add powder, laser again (CO2) with lower power and no air assist (air can blow the fine powder out of the groves). Then apply a clear finish over the top. Never tried on metal.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bert Kemp View Post
    I'm wondering if there was a way to get a fine coat of powder on metal and then laser it what would happen. I would try it but can't figure out how to get and even and fully cover coat of powder. any ideas
    A powder coating setup would be exactly what you need. Basically, it uses static electricity to adhere the powder to the substrate and air to blow the powder onto it. I think that by the time it's all said and done, you'd be better off using something like a very thin sandblasting stencil and spray painting it with Rustoleum.
    I have done so much with so little for so long, that I can do almost anything with practically nothing...

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