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  • Laser etching dials.?

    This looks like a nice way to do things.Im such a fossil in my apprenticeship as a toolmaker 35 years ago we would have done this on a pantagraph. I wonder how expensive this laser burner is and how difficult is the learning curve.
    The laser is at 6 minutes and forty seconds.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owwK...annel=Mr.Craft

  • #2
    You, too, can have a laser engraver for the minuscule price of $6,200 US.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by SLK001 View Post
      You, too, can have a laser engraver for the minuscule price of $6,200 US.
      Question answered . That will put an end to the desire to have one of these.

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      • #4
        If you own a 3D printer you can get a laser head for it. I don't know how easy it is to make the program to do what you want but probably not terribly difficult. With that laser head you can do more than just etch dials too.

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        • #5
          Amazon shows several around $300. Just for flat work. Indexing around a cross slide dial, for instance, would be more complicated. Clough42 has a few YouTube videos in depth about laser etching.

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          • #6
            The laser he is using is probably a fiber laser. They start at a couple thousand and go up. Another option is blacking the steel and using a CO2 to mark it or use something like the ceramark in the other video. There are only a few lasers that will mark metal directly.

            A $300 laser off amazon or anything that will fit on a 3D printer will not directly etch metal.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by SLK001 View Post
              You, too, can have a laser engraver for the minuscule price of $6,200 US.
              For a fiber laser etching metal like that it costs more than 20,000 Eur. With some help from a spray at 60+ Euro a can, you can engrave some metals with a cheap 40W Co2 laser like my Chinese K40
              Helder Ferreira
              Setubal, Portugal

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              • #8
                I've heard that plain old mustard will help engrave metal with a Co2 laser but I haven't tried. I use the laser to make brass or stainless steel nameplates by using mat black auto spray paint as a mask drawn by the laser and then electro etch it with a small power supply and salty water. It doesn't more than a few minutes to remove a significant amount of metal that is then covered in paint to bake some shiny plates.
                Helder Ferreira
                Setubal, Portugal

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                • #9
                  Shureline (the watch lathe people) will laser engrave dials for a fee.
                  Never used them, just saw their service on their web site.

                  -Doozer
                  DZER

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by macona View Post
                    The laser he is using is probably a fiber laser. They start at a couple thousand and go up. Another option is blacking the steel and using a CO2 to mark it or use something like the ceramark in the other video. There are only a few lasers that will mark metal directly.

                    A $300 laser off amazon or anything that will fit on a 3D printer will not directly etch metal.
                    Sometime ago I went down the road of wanting to laser engrave things as well. After reading and asking questions this is the result I got as well.

                    You can paint parts and engrave the paint easily with a cheap laser but it takes a lot of money to do anything straight onto metal.
                    Andy

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Noitoen View Post

                      For a fiber laser etching metal like that it costs more than 20,000 Eur. With some help from a spray at 60+ Euro a can, you can engrave some metals with a cheap 40W Co2 laser like my Chinese K40
                      If you want a quality one, sure. But there are cheap Chinese fiber laser units out there that are not that bad. Some will even do color on stainless (has to do with pulse width and rep rate).

                      https://www.alibaba.com/product-deta...242fj7PqzE&s=p

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                      • #12
                        None of the infrared or blue-diode lasers, the cheap ones, anyway, will engrave metal. It's not a "power" thing, it's a wavelength issue.

                        As noted, there are sprays and other coatings that can be used to make marks, but basically what the laser is doing is "spot welding" the spray to the metal- kind of like a precise, limited-are powdercoating. It's still just a coating- some of the better ones are surprisingly durable, but they're still basically just paint.

                        An option is to make the dial in aluminum, have it anodized, and then use the laser to engrave the lines. The cheap "K40" type desktop lasers mark anodized aluminum nicely. You'll need a 4th axis or indexer to do it, though...

                        If I were making new handwheel dials- and I recently have - I'd make the marks mechanically. Something that absolutely can't wash off or rub off.

                        Doc.
                        Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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                        • #13
                          While wavelength does make a difference on how well it works it is power in the end that matters. If it absorbs less of a specific wavelength you just need more power or smaller spot size. There are infrared direct diode lasers that cut steel

                          You could do this with blue laser diodes too if you had a big enough diode array. But that would be one BIG array. I have cut copper with a green DPSS laser.

                          The machines we build at work use 500w CO2 lasers that end up at around 20-30w at the surface but at a super tiny spot size to blast holes down to about 30um.

                          But yes, nothing you are going to find under ~$1500 is going to do much damage to metal. I have gotten a 80w CO2 to mark carbon steel but it was not pretty. I have seen people use the cheap Chinese fiber lasers to cut very thin metal. I am hoping to be able to cut thin metal with the laser cutter I am building. We will see how that works out.

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                          • #14
                            Wasn't there some detail on here by his Lordship, John Stevenson, on his work with laser etching?
                            While on the subject of handwheel dials I like the Hardinge ones, creamy white with black numbers. Is there any source of two layer engraving substrate in tube form? Engraving white plastic and filling, or painting and filling seems a bit 'cheap'. I can't remember if the Hardinge ones are flush or recessed engravings. If the latter the colour choice makes sense as dirty cutting oil wiped off maintains the contrast while any other method shows the dirt.

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                            • #15
                              Even a cheap "K40" Chinese desktop engraver will do most plastics, and fairly easily.

                              And there are sticks of a sort of solid lacquer paint that are basically meant for filling in dial hash marks. Make yourself a ring out of white Delrin, engrave it in a K40 with a cheap eBay indexer/4th axis, fill in the marks with the lacquer stick, and you're set!

                              Doc.
                              Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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