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Etching powder coat: laser power?

Discussion in 'General Talk' started by DrDash, Mar 24, 2018.

  1. DrDash

    DrDash New
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    Hi. I'm brand new here (and not sure whether I should post this here or in the laser cutting forum...)

    I'm interested in CNC laser cutting and etching. One of the things I'd like to do is etch a design onto powder coated die-cast aluminium (just removing the coating not any Al.) I've seen it done online, but with some serious equipment.

    Is this feasible for a smallish setup? Can anyone tell me the laser power needed?

    Many thanks
    Dave
     
    #1 DrDash, Mar 24, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2018
  2. Rob Taylor

    Rob Taylor Veteran
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    According to Wiki it's a mixture of thermoplastic and thermoset... "The most common polymers used are polyester, polyurethane, polyester-epoxy (known as hybrid), straight epoxy (fusion bonded epoxy) and acrylics."

    Then it's a case of looking up if/how you can laser-ablate any of those, which should give you your testing settings (and machine type, unless it's fiber). I haven't seen any laser cutting of any of these materials, tbh, which is weird because they're all quite common in propmaking. Except for acrylic, of course, which is the usual cutting material.
     
  3. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
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    Here is a method for laser setting the powder coat with a low power laser. While it is the reverse of what you seek, you could just as easily burn in the background and dust off the lettering to achieve the same results.
     
  4. DrDash

    DrDash New
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    Thanks to you both. It looks like it will need experimentation, but is quite possible.
    In particular, reading Rick 2.0's link, their 3W laser is backed right off to avoid burning off the coating. Sounds promising!
    I'll update when I have any results.
     

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