Engraving Steel

I’ve been saying that the laser can’t engrave metals, with the possible exception of light engraving on stainless steel. Well, after class this afternoon we decided to try it. Turns out, the laser really can engrave stainless steel, for at least this one (unknown) type of stainless. It cuts a nice little divot out of the steel. The skull logo is about one inch across:


Emboldened by this result, we also tried engraving one of the steel weights. These are standard cold-rolled steel, not stainless. They aren’t rusting because I sprayed them with clear spray paint. The laser successfully marked the surface of the steel, but didn’t penetrate to any significant depth. (Or maybe it just burned the clear spray paint. I didn’t have any unpainted steel handy.) The text is about two inches across.


Both of these were vector jobs cut at 100% current, 100% power, and 10% speed. The speed could be lowered even more to get a deeper cut. Even these big thick chunks of metal were noticeably warm after the job.

On both jobs, you can clearly see the spot where the laser started to cut each vector. There’s less discoloration and a bit more depth in that spot. The rest of the cut is pretty consistent, but somewhat rough. You’d have to test your specific material and decide if you like the effect.



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About Sol Diego

Sol Diego is an art collaborative, whose mission is to fortify the San Diego Regional Burning Man community through art making, by utilizing, sharing and developing the unique skills of its members while following the Ten Principles of Burning Man. Sol Diego achieves its mission by: * Annually, creating a large-scale, interactive installation to represent the San Diego region at the Burning Man festival through CORE (Circle of Regional Effigies) project or as an independent art project. * Outreaching within the San Diego Regional Burning Man community, to recruit new members and enrich our culture, through events such as YouTopia and Figment. * Developing outreach to the greater San Diego community.

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