Metals are very hard as their molecules are very close, and their melting temperature is too high. Therefore, it is one of the most frequently asked questions from beginners as well as users. Many of the users are usually confused about it, and they do not get an adequate answer or solution to the problem.
Typically, there are three types of laser machines: Diode Laser, CO2 Laser, and Fiber Laser. Undoubtedly, a Fiber laser can easily engrave and mark on metals, and it is specifically made for these purposes. But the question arises for CO2 and Diode Lasers.
There are dozens of brands and types of laser machines available, and their capabilities also differ a lot. Therefore, in this article, our discussion is limited to the capability of a diode laser machine, Atomstack S series, to engrave different types of metals. We will see how metal engraving can be done, what kinds of metals can be engraved, and what you need to do to get the best results.
What is the Difference Between Engraving and Marking?
Before we get into whether Atomstack S series can engrave on metals or not, we should understand the difference between laser engraving and marking.
Laser engraving refers to the vaporization of the material when it comes in contact with the laser beams. The material is instantly vaporized, and the object is engraved in no time. The depth of the engraving is visible, and it can be felt easily. Furthermore, due to excellent depth, the object appears to be 3D.
On the other hand, marking refers to creating marks on the surface of an object. The depth is minimal and unnoticeable.
Metals can be marked as well as engraved, and it depends on the power of the laser machine whether it can engrave an object or only mark it. If the power is low, then only marking is possible.
Can You Engrave Metals Using Diode Lasers?
Atomstack S series is a diode laser machine, but it is quite powerful compared to other laser machines on the market. The diode module uses multiple laser sources, and then the laser beams from these sources are combined to get a powerful laser. Thus, the output is quite immense and robust.
The best thing is that you can engrave and mark metals using Atomstack S series. But to get the best results, it is better to apply an additional chemical that will help in engraving and will give better results.
You can apply Dry Moly Lube on the metal before engraving. When a uniform layer of the lube is applied to the metal, it reacts with the laser beams. The laser increases the temperature of the lube, and the reaction happens on the surface of the metal. The lube reacts with the metal and results in a darker color and visible engraving/marking.
Atomstack S series is a versatile laser engraving and cutting machine. There are two laser modules available: 10W and 20W, and both can be attached to the machine with any modification.
The 10W module can easily mark on different metals, such as copper, brass, mild steel, and stainless steel. The depth will be minimal, but the marking will be visible if you apply the lube first. On the stainless steel, only one pass is more than enough to get a perfect mark. On other metals, you might need to go with 3-5 passes, which is only feasible if the size of the graphics is small.
The 20W module is splendid as it is the world’s most powerful diode laser module. It is more intense and can easily engrave on metals in one or a few passes. It is perfect for saving time and is suitable for engraving metals. After engraving stainless steel, you can easily feel the texture of the engraved area.
Stainless steel can also be engraved without Dry Moly Lube, but there will be a difference in color. The result of applying the lube is better.
Safety Precautions for Engraving Metals
Whether you are a beginner or an expert, you need to take safety measures before engraving a piece of metal.
Keep in mind that metals are lustrous, so they can reflect the laser beams, which is quite harmful. Therefore, the machine should be in the enclosure to prevent any harm. Secondly, there are chances of fire because the laser beams can also fall on combustible materials.
Secondly, it is necessary to let the lube dry because while drying, volatile compounds come out of the lube, and they can be favorable in starting a fire.
How to Engrave Metals with Atomstack S series?
To get started, you need to gather the things required for metal engraving. You need Dry Moly Lube, Isopropyl Alcohol, metal pieces, and a piece of cloth.
Step 1: Turn on your computer and Atomstack S series. Connect the machine with your computer.
Step 2: Now, you need to get the graphics ready. Keep in mind that Atomstack S series can raster engrave on metals, so choose appropriate graphics. It gives excellent results. Upload the image in the software and adjust its size.
Step 3: Clean the piece of metal with a cloth. Apply Dry Moly Lube and wait for 15 minutes. Now, apply the second coat of the lube and wait for 15 minutes. Finally, apply the last coat and wait for 15 minutes. Once the lube is completely dried, you are ready to engrave.
Step 4: Place the metal piece in the engraving area. Adjust the laser module and its focus. Set the parameters for engraving according to the type of metal. For stainless steel, you can go with 100% power and 5 mm/s speed. These settings are for the 20W laser; if you are using the 10W module, you need to adjust the parameters. Click on Start. Click on Framing to see the position of the graphics. Finally, click on the Start button.
Step 5: Once the engraving is completed, clean the metal with isopropyl alcohol. It will instantly remove the lube from the surface.
Metals can be engraved and marked using a diode laser machine, but it depends on the power of the laser. Atomstack S series can easily engrave and mark on different metals, such as stainless steel, copper, and brass. According to the type of metal and the power of the laser machine, you might need to go with multiple passes. It is recommended to use the 20W laser module and apply Dry Moly Lube to get optimal results.