Marking metals with a CO2 laser engraving machine
Typically, a CO2 laser engraver is limited to processing coated or painted metals and is unable to laser mark or engrave on blank metals. However, with the additional application of laser marking solutions (also known as “coating sprays”), blank metals can be processed with your CO2 laser machine. Once the spray has thoroughly dried and the workpiece is properly coated, the laser beam will burn the spray into the material allowing a laser mark to be produced. After the laser machine has marked the material, the workpiece can be gently washed to remove any excess residue. (We used stainless steel in our example.)
For cleaning sensitive surfaces or high-priced workpieces (such as a watch), laser marking spray is a necessity. Prior to first time use, it is essential to become familiarized with marking solutions as they are classified as hazardous materials and should be handled as such. It is of the utmost importance to adhere to the corresponding safety regulations so all individuals operating the laser machine remain safe and are not exposed to potentially toxic chemicals.
Without the use of coating sprays, CO2 laser machines are not compatible for processing blank metals due to fact that they offer wavelengths of only 10.6 µm. Therefore, a higher laser power as well as slower processing speed is required for the metal to react to the laser. This can result in an excess of energy and heat being applied to the workpiece, which can lead to material deformity as well as fine details and small fonts to be illegible.