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Thread: Anodized Aluminum

  1. #1
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    Mar 2018
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    Anodized Aluminum

    Sorry for flooding the forum with my issues, but I'm having some trouble at work and can think of anywhere else to turn.
    My job primarily consists of raster engraving AA pipe, but I seem to have run into a strange issue. I've been doing the same kind of work here with this laser for almost a year and I've never had this issue before. All other AA I work with is smooth sailing, but recently I've come across a batch that simply refuses to engrave, and here's the kicker, it seems to only happen with a certain length of pipe. It looks ever so slightly different as well, almost iridescent with a rainbow type look, while all other pipe has that standard anodized look (matte silver I guess?). The pipe is 6063 t6 satin anodized (201r1). I have attached an image depicting the problem pipe. The pipe resting atop the rest engraves perfectly fine, while the others won't at all. I'm pretty sure it boils down to poor anodize finish but would like input from others, especially if someone could help me explain the issue more uhhh, technically.pipeee.jpg
    Last edited by Chase Mueller; 03-13-2018 at 3:59 PM. Reason: grammar
    Epilog Fusion M2 40 Watt CO2 Laser

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Suwanee, GA
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    3,386
    Are you using the CO2 or fiber? If CO2 then try more power/less speed, if fiber try the same but increase the frequency too. If that doesn't work then bring some to me and I'll try it on my machine(s).
    I have done so much with so little for so long, that I can do almost anything with practically nothing...

    Trotec Speedy 400 80 watt 8/2015
    G. Weike LF-30, 30 watt galvo fiber - 1/2016
    G. Weike LF-30, 30 watt galvo fiber - 3/2015
    Fargo HDP5000 Card printer


  3. #3
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    Mar 2018
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    Suwanee, Ga
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    I keep forgetting you're literally in the same town.. It is the CO2 and I tried it, no progress. Let me check with my boss and see if I can bring some over tomorrow. Here's my work email, contact there with any questions. laser@gaexpoDOTcom
    Epilog Fusion M2 40 Watt CO2 Laser

  4. #4
    Unless it's hard anodized, in which case the CO2 isn't going to mark it. Try the fiber on it. If it marks with the fiber but not the CO2, it could be hard anodized. Why? I don't know, but just something to check.
    Lasers : Trotec Speedy 300 75W, Trotec Speedy 300 80W, Galvo Fiber Laser 20W
    Printers : Mimaki UJF-6042 UV Flatbed Printer , HP Designjet L26500 61" Wide Format Latex Printer, Summa S140-T 48" Vinyl Plotter
    Router : ShopBot 48" x 96" CNC Router Rotary Engravers : (2) Xenetech XOT 16 x 25 Rotary Engravers

    Real name Steve but that name was taken on the forum. Used Middle name. Call me Steve or Scott, doesn't matter.

  5. #5
    I have run across AA that didn't engrave well because the anodizing process was contaminated. I'm not saying that's your issue but I wouldn't rule it out. I had one customer who tried 3 anodizers before he finally switched to powder coat for his products.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300, 80 watt
    Woodworking shop CLTT and Laser Sublimation
    Evolis Card Printer
    CorelDraw X5

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Just sent you an email.
    I have done so much with so little for so long, that I can do almost anything with practically nothing...

    Trotec Speedy 400 80 watt 8/2015
    G. Weike LF-30, 30 watt galvo fiber - 1/2016
    G. Weike LF-30, 30 watt galvo fiber - 3/2015
    Fargo HDP5000 Card printer


  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Shepherd View Post
    Unless it's hard anodized, in which case the CO2 isn't going to mark it. Try the fiber on it. If it marks with the fiber but not the CO2, it could be hard anodized. Why? I don't know, but just something to check.
    I laser etch hard anodized almost daily, it engraves just fine. But these same pieces I can't fiber worth a crap, mostly because the hard is extremely thick...
    BUT, there's always a but -- there's a guy in town who personally, from his home shop, hard anodizes these small parts for a sheet metal shop, who brings them to me. Both lasers suck at these parts. The 40 watter I can only hit it with 18-20% power and full speed, and even then it's a dark gray. If I get above 25% power, it goes dark blue. At 100% power the mark is so dark gray it's barely noticeable. And once it's been hit that hard, there's no going back. I DO fiber these parts, but it's a 20-pass marathon to get to bare metal...

    While some anodizing marks very little, I haven't found any that simply won't mark. And the stuff that marks darkish, I've found less power works better than more power...

    Back to these pipes-- I'm guessing 2 things:

    1, those that are anodized are very very lightly anodized, just like many brands of clear anodized sheet stock, 'barely legal' so to speak -but that's all it takes to (a) lighten up when a C02 laser hits it, and (b) resist oxides used to blacken the engraving...

    -and-

    2, i'm going to guess your non-engravable pipes have been clear chem-filmed, and nothing more.

    You can test for this, if you have any oxide solution ("Aloxide" or similar) that blackens engraved lacquered brass or anodized aluminum: The oxide will NOT blacken anodized aluminum, but it WILL blacken chem-filmed aluminum...
    4 LASERS -- Gravograph LS900 -- GCC Explorer -- Triumph 1390 -- Triumph Galvo Fiber
    10 CNC ROTARY ENGRAVERS -- NH C2000 -- NH V3200 -- NH V3400 x2 -- NH V3400CL rotary -- NH V5000 -- NH V5000XT x2 -- Gravograph IS400 -- Gravograph IS7000
    Vinyl: NH 20" vinyl cutter
    Extraction: 3 -HF 'green' blowers, 1 HF 'big' blower
    4 -air compressors, 3 -drill presses, 3 -grinders, 3 -shears, 4 -saws, mini-lathe


  8. #8
    I have seen some hard anodized capable of being marked, but the mil spec stuff we get, won't mark with the CO2 well at all. I've also seen hard anodized be very inconsistent from batch to batch. We have parts that engrave a beautiful bright white and then the same parts from a different batch, with the same settings, engraving a duller gray. No matter what you do to them, you can't get them to go white.
    Lasers : Trotec Speedy 300 75W, Trotec Speedy 300 80W, Galvo Fiber Laser 20W
    Printers : Mimaki UJF-6042 UV Flatbed Printer , HP Designjet L26500 61" Wide Format Latex Printer, Summa S140-T 48" Vinyl Plotter
    Router : ShopBot 48" x 96" CNC Router Rotary Engravers : (2) Xenetech XOT 16 x 25 Rotary Engravers

    Real name Steve but that name was taken on the forum. Used Middle name. Call me Steve or Scott, doesn't matter.

  9. #9
    For the most part I don't get acceptable results on hard anodized with my co2 machine.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300, 80 watt
    Woodworking shop CLTT and Laser Sublimation
    Evolis Card Printer
    CorelDraw X5

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Iowa USA
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    3,031
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Null View Post
    For the most part I don't get acceptable results on hard anodized with my co2 machine.
    But he also has a Fiber if I am reading his Signature line correctly. For all the support for his job he is getting here, you would think he would be a Contributor.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , Ray Fine 20w Galvo Fiber laser , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller, MakerGear M2 3D Printer. Qe60+ Vinyl cutter. Fine Line Automation 4x4 CNC Router

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    Suwanee, Ga
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    I'm gonna try not to miss anything here:
    Bill: While I appreciate all the forum does, I'm still waiting for my work to approve the charge for contributor status, if it gets declined, ill just do it myself.

    Steve: I use the CO2 daily on all the pipe and never have issues until now. I'm going to assume we would have to order another part for the machine to be able to use the Fiber? I've never tried to and my boss has told me to stick to CO2, for whatever reason. You folks are MUCH more knowledgeable than myself, so if you can think of something I could say to change their minds, by all means, I'm all ears.

    Mike: I had my boss send out a piece of the pipe to have it tested as he now believes its the AA finish. I'll keep everyone posted if anyone ever decides to tell me the results.
    Epilog Fusion M2 40 Watt CO2 Laser

  12. #12
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    Mar 2018
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    Suwanee, Ga
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Hair View Post
    Just sent you an email.
    Gary, I'm sorry, but I didn't receive an email. Here's my personal email: cmuelle1996@gmail.com
    And yes, I am aware how young I am. Chalk it up to naivety if you will.
    Epilog Fusion M2 40 Watt CO2 Laser

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Iowa USA
    Posts
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    Chase its just $6 minimum, unless your Company wants to kick in more. For all the help your getting it would be a cheap payback. PS never post your email address online, send a PM.
    Last edited by Bill George; 03-14-2018 at 12:06 PM.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , Ray Fine 20w Galvo Fiber laser , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller, MakerGear M2 3D Printer. Qe60+ Vinyl cutter. Fine Line Automation 4x4 CNC Router

  14. #14
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    Mar 2018
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill George View Post
    Chase its just $6 minimum, unless your Company wants to kick in more. For all the help your getting it would be a cheap payback. PS never post your email address online, send a PM.
    Oh my bad, is it against the rules to post it? My apologies if it is.
    I'm aware, just figured I'd give the company a chance to make this account theirs since they own the laser. But like I said, if not, I'll do it myself when I get an answer.
    Epilog Fusion M2 40 Watt CO2 Laser

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Chase Mueller View Post
    Steve: I use the CO2 daily on all the pipe and never have issues until now. I'm going to assume we would have to order another part for the machine to be able to use the Fiber? I've never tried to and my boss has told me to stick to CO2, for whatever reason.
    That reason may likely be that the marking/etching can't penetrate the aluminum oxide layer, aka bare aluminum not allowed, which is exactly what you'll get via fiber...
    4 LASERS -- Gravograph LS900 -- GCC Explorer -- Triumph 1390 -- Triumph Galvo Fiber
    10 CNC ROTARY ENGRAVERS -- NH C2000 -- NH V3200 -- NH V3400 x2 -- NH V3400CL rotary -- NH V5000 -- NH V5000XT x2 -- Gravograph IS400 -- Gravograph IS7000
    Vinyl: NH 20" vinyl cutter
    Extraction: 3 -HF 'green' blowers, 1 HF 'big' blower
    4 -air compressors, 3 -drill presses, 3 -grinders, 3 -shears, 4 -saws, mini-lathe


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