Laser marking metal is a common process used in manufacturing industries. It can be used to mark metal products such as pipes, sheet metal, and other metals with logos or serial numbers for identification purposes. There are many different types of laser markers available on the market today that vary in price and capability.
CO2 lasers are one of the best options because they produce high quality marks at an affordable cost. They also have a long life span and require little maintenance if cared for properly. However, they do not work well on materials over 1/8″ thick due to their limited beam power which means you’ll need something more powerful like a fiber laser if your goal is to mark thicker pieces of metal.
Diode lasers are a less expensive option and work well for marking on thin materials like stainless steel, aluminum, or other types of light metals. They also require little maintenance but can only be used at short distances which makes them unsuitable for larger projects that need you to spend time moving your laser around the surface.
COB (chip) lasers have high reliability rates so they’re perfect if you want something that requires minimal upkeep over an extended period of time. These devices produce small dots with low power and this means they cannot penetrate deep into surfaces, often requiring more than one pass before the dot is visible from the opposite side.
QWIP lasers have a longer working life than other types of laser and as the power is increased, they can work at increasingly greater distances. However, they’re expensive to buy and maintain so you need high volume production for them to be worth your while.
You may notice that some metals are better suited to marking than others – stainless steel will show up really well on this type of metal whereas something like titanium would require more time and effort because it has such a thin reflective surface. Brass or copper are both good options but remember that copper tarnishes over time so if you want another color after engraving with blue ink, you should use brass instead.
When you’re ready to start the engraving process, make sure that your metal is at least a quarter inch thick and uniformly flat. If it’s not uniform in thickness or there are any raised areas, these can show up as shadows on the finished product which will detract from its professional appearance.
You’ll want to use a stylus rather than something like an engraver because this type of tool has much finer teeth so they end up creating a more detailed design. The best way to get started with using laser marking for metal is by practicing first on some scrap pieces until you have developed the touch needed for such intricate work.
The surface of your metal will need to be smoothed in order for the laser beam to make contact with it. One way you can do this is by using water and a bit of soap, but if you don’t want to go through all that trouble or are working on something large like an auto part, it’s best just to use sandpaper. You’ll want to start out with a low grit so as not to scratch up the surface too much before moving onto higher grades until you’re satisfied with how smooth things feel when rubbed over them.
Now that your metal has been appropriately prepared, find some engraving software online that will allow you put together what needs inscribed into it.
Laser marking metal can be used to identify and mark products for easy identification. You may want to consider your needs before making a purchase, as there are many different types of laser markers available on the market today that vary in price and capability.