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Laser Engraving questions for a complete newb
3

Laser Engraving questions for a complete newb

Laser Engraving questions for a complete newb

(OP)
Good morning everyone,

I tried to search a bit, but to piece together my own answers for my questions wouldn't really give me a justifiable grasp of what I would actually need. Hopefully someone can help me out.

Currently, the company I work for marks our products with a dot-peen machine. It works great for what we are currently using it for, which is just marking text on steel and bronze nameplates. The problem is, we are trying to do something different now for a new product, and I think Laser is the way to go. We are making a product that basically is a small titanium shaft (about 5/8" diameter) and we would like to have the logo of our company engraved on the outside diameter of the shaft. If we were to get a laser, we would also replace some of our peen operations with laser etching/engraving.

Basically all I know that we would need is a laser and something to rotate the shaft on axis to do the cylindrical shape. Aside from that, I have no idea what I would need to use a laser on stainless steel, carbon steel, bronze, titanium, copper-nickel, etc. etc.

Can anyone help me to understand what kind of machinery I would need and maybe some suggestions on what brands of products to look into?

Thanks in advance!

-Evan

RE: Laser Engraving questions for a complete newb

I would suggest you search for "rotary co2 laser" There exist many makes and sizes; from small wattage machines for engraving to higher ones for cutting thick pipe. My experience is with the larger ones, and I have worked very little with machines under 2000w. Hopefully someone else on the forums can help you more.

RE: Laser Engraving questions for a complete newb

I can understand the seductiveness of being able to laser etch some pretty patterns, but is it going to be cost effective? You may want to see if you can leverage the laser into doing other things.

TTFN
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RE: Laser Engraving questions for a complete newb

(OP)
Thank you Azariahz, I'll look into that.

IRstuff, the peening process is working fine for us, but if we were to ultimately get a laser, we would be replacing the peening process with laser etching our nameplates and code plates (which we do for mostly every job that goes out the door).

RE: Laser Engraving questions for a complete newb

Just bear in mind that it's probably 5x to 10x the upfront cost, and the maintenance will be substantially higher, in addition to increased costs for worker safety.

TTFN
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: Laser Engraving questions for a complete newb

(OP)
IRstuff,

I see your point, and it may not in fact be cost effective if all we are doing is nameplates and random decorative pieces.

I think I need to continue doing research on the costs associated with this type of machinery, and see if outsourcing is a better option for us.

RE: Laser Engraving questions for a complete newb

For metals, you can use either YAG or CO2 lasers.
There are lots of marking laser systems out there, and everything is a LOT cheaper than it was 10-15 years ago.
Depending on location and volume, you may want to outsource the new work.
If everything you want to mark is smallish, then personnel protection is trivial.

If you make small stuff out of thin metals, you could go with a slightly more powerful system, to be able to cut also.

cheers
Jay

Jay Maechtlen
http://www.laserpubs.com/techcomm

RE: Laser Engraving questions for a complete newb

If you want to actually engrave into the metal, you'll want to use a YAG / fiber. If you want to simply mark it, you can spray with a marking material (such as Cermark) and use a CO2.

For speed, I would highly suggest a YAG / fiber setup, especially one with a galvo.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Laser Engraving questions for a complete newb

(OP)
Thank you Jay and Dan, both very good pieces of information! I'm looking into it!

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