How to remove laser etching from stainless steel
9 Laser Engraving on Stainless Steel Best Practices
Aug 25, · This video is to answer a few questions I received on how to tell if the laser etching on your gun would be easily removed or not. Aug 13, · Laser engraving stainless steel removes an important protective layer. In fact, any method that digs markings on the surface (deep or shallow) will remove this layer. This thin protective layer is composed of chromium oxide. Chromium oxide .
How laser types, marking goals, and material choice affect metal marking. Laser engraving metals with barcodes, serial numbers, and logos are very popular marking applications on both Remvoe and fiber laser systems. Thanks to their long operational life, lack of required maintenance and relatively low cost, fiber lasers are an ideal choice for industrial marking yow. These types of lasers produce a what are the parts of the pistil, permanent mark that does not affect part integrity.
When marking bare metal in a CO2 laser, a special how deep do you want me to go or paste is used to treat the metal prior to engraving. What is a japanese box called heat from the CO2 laser bonds the marking agent to the bare metal, resulting in a permanent mark.
Fast and affordable, CO2 lasers can also mark other types of materials - such as woods, acrylics, natural stone, and more. Both fiber and CO2 laser systems manufactured by Epilog can be operated from almost any Windows-based software and are exceptionally easy to use.
Because different types of lasers react differently with metals, there are some considerations to be made. More time is required for marking metals with a CO2 laser, for instance, because of the need for coating or pre-treating with frok metal marking agent. The laser must also be run at a low-speed, high-power configuration to allow the marking agent to adequately bond with the metal. Users sometimes find that they are able to wipe off the mark after lasering - an indication that the piece should be run again at a lower speed and higher power setting.
It should also be noted that coated metals, such as anodized aluminum or painted brass, do not require pre-treatment. For bare metals, fiber lasers represent the engraving remoe of choice. Fiber lasers are ideal for marking many types of aluminum, brass, copper, nickel-plated metals, stainless steel and more - as well as engineered plastics such as ABS, PEEK and polycarbonates. Some materials, however, are challenging to mark with the laser wavelength emitted by the device; the beam can pass through transparent materials, for instance, producing marks on the engraving table instead.
In order to best suit the type of material being marked, a fiber laser system offers a range of options. The basic process of engraving involves the laser beam vaporizing material from the surface of an object. The mark is often a cone-shaped indentation, due to the shape of the beam. Multiple stainess through the system can create deep engraving, which eliminates the possibility of the mark being worn in harsh-environment conditions.
Ablation is similar to engraving, and is often associated with removing a top coating to expose the material underneath. Ablation can be performed on anodized, plated and powder-coated metals. Another type of mark can be made by heating the surface of an object. In annealing, a permanent oxide layer created by exposure to high temperature leaves a high-contrast mark, without changing the surface finish. Foaming melts the surface of a material to produce gas bubbles that get trapped as the material cools, producing an elevated result.
Polishing can be achieved by quickly heating a metal surface to change its color, resulting in a mirror-like finish. Annealing works on metals with high levels of carbon and metal oxide, such as steel alloys, iron, titanium and others. Foaming is typically used on plastics, although stainless steel can also be marked by this method. Polishing can be done on just about any metal; darker, matte-finish remoce tend to yield the most high-contrast results.
With anodized aluminum, fiber laser marking can often achieve much higher brightness than a CO2 laser. Engraving bare aluminum, however, results in less contrast - the fiber laser will create shades of gray, not black. Still, deep engraving combined with oxidizers or color fills can be used to produce a black etch on aluminum.
Similar considerations must be made for marking titanium - the laser tends to create shades from light gray to very dark grey. Depending on the alloy, however, marks of various colors can be achieved through adjusting frequency. Lasfr systems can allow companies with budget or space limitations to increase their versatility and capabilities. It should be noted, however, that there is a drawback: when one laser system is in use, the other is unusable. For more information on marking metal with a laser machine, contact us to set up a demonstration with the distributor in your area.
Could a laser machine help you with your metal marking needs? Fill out the form on this page to receive a full product line brochure with engraved and cut samples, or call the number below for more information. Receive brochures and samples, and get more info efching us or your local distributor.
Laser Cutting - nothing compares to the quality of a laser cut on many materials. Laser Marking - how can you affordably mark metal parts with barcodes and logos? ALL Rights Reserved. Toggle navigation. Get a Free Brochure and Samples. Considerations when Marking Metal with a Laser. Laser Differences Because different types of lasers react differently with metals, there are some considerations to be made.
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1. Increase Laser Power, Decrease Marking Speed for Best Engraving Results
Jul 04, · For the light laser etch, any metal polish will work, like flitz or semichrome. Just don't use sandpaper! Actually, for very deep etches, and for stainless steel which is etched, sandpaper can be very effective and leave a nice "as ground finish". The trick is in keeping the sanding lines strait and even across the surface of the steel. Mar 13, · Its easy to do if you do not wish to keep the original finish. There is no way to remove it without refinishing the entire blade (if you want it done right). Its surprisingly easy with just plain sandpaper, although I have 20 years experience polishing stainless steel for the food and pharmaceutical industries (so most won't find it as easy as I do). Aug 30, · Use grit sandpaper to remove the marks caused by the grit sandpaper. Switch to grit sandpaper, then grit and 1,grit sandpaper to continue sanding until the metal has a smooth, polished surface where the engraving used to be.
Some cleaning techniques affect the quality and financial impacts of laser processing. In many manufacturing operations, cleanliness of laser processed parts is of paramount importance, especially when manufacturing medical devices, semiconductor devices, and aerospace components.
Even in the cases cited, however, some amount of post-laser processing usually needs to be done, such as removing sacrificial coatings or drying wet processed parts. Here we review some techniques that are used as post-laser cleaning techniques. Figure 1b. Laser etched polyimide wiped with IPA.
Note that cleaning parts, especially medical parts, is a somewhat risky business for a contract manufacturer as it may not always be apparent that the post-laser cleaning techniques will not cause bigger problems than the debris.
To avoid incompatibilities, contract manufacturers will normally not clean laser processed parts unless there is a clear understanding with the customer concerning the techniques used. Post-laser cleaning techniques must be well documented, and established procedures must be followed rigorously to assure the proper end product.
The simplest and most economical method of part cleaning is a simple physical scrub. This is a contact method, so extreme care must be taken regarding the scrub solution if any is used , the scrub tool, the aggressiveness of the scrub, and the time of scrub. Q-tips, cleanroom wipes, or soft brushes are normally used on small and delicate parts manufactured using laser micromachining.
Acetone, methanol, ethanol, or water perhaps with a cleaning surfactant can be used as the solvent. The cost for using this technique, aside from labor, is low. Figure 2a. Uncleaned, laser etched glass.
An ultrasonic cleanerndash;an ultrasound device usually operating from 15— kHzndash;is used to clean delicate items like jewelry, optics, precious metals, surgical instruments, and electronics. In an ultrasonic cleaner, the object to be cleaned is placed in a chamber containing a suitable ultrasound conducting fluid an aqueous or organic solvent, depending on the application. In aqueous cleaners, the chemical added is a surfactant that breaks down the surface tension of the water base.
An ultrasound-generating transducer is built into the chamber or may be lowered into the fluid. It is electronically activated to produce ultrasonic waves in the fluid. The main mechanism of cleaning action is the energy released from the creation and collapse of microscopic cavitation bubbles, which break up and lift off dirt and contaminants from the surface to be cleaned.
The higher the frequency, the smaller the nodes between the cavitation points, which allows for more precise cleaning. Figure 2b. Laser etched glass cleaned with IPA ultrasonic. Ultrasonic transducers work by rapidly changing size when excited by an electrical signal, creating a compression wave in the liquid of the tank. When sufficient energy is built up in the bubble or cavitation, it collapses violently. The transducers are usually composed of piezoelectric material for example lead zirconate-titanate or barium titanate , and occasionally are made of magnetostrictive material for example nickel or ferrite.
The often harsh chemicals traditionally used as cleaners in many industries can be reduced or eliminated with the introduction of ultrasonic technology. Figure 3a. Uncleaned, laser etched stainless steel.
Typical units for production, however, are priced in the range of a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, and the operating costs are very low, assuming there is no need for exotic liquids. Figure 3b. Laser etched stainless steel wiped with IPA. Typically, the metal workpiece is immersed in a temperature-controlled bath of electrolyte and connected to the positive terminal anode of a DC power supply, with the negative terminal being attached to an auxiliary electrode cathode.
A current passes from the anode, where metal on the surface is oxidized and dissolved in the electrolyte. At the cathode, a reduction reaction, normally hydrogen evolution, takes place. Electrolytes used for electropolishing are most often concentrated acid solutions with a high viscosity such as mixtures of sulfuric acid and phosphoric acid. Other electropolishing electrolytes reported in the literature include mixtures of perchlorates with acetic anhydride and methanolic solutions of sulfuric acid.
Figure 3c. Laser etched stainless steel cleaned in ultrasonic bath. To achieve electropolishing of a rough metal surface, the protruding parts of a surface profile must dissolve faster than the recesses. This behavior, referred to as anodic leveling, is achieved by applying a specific electrochemical condition, most often involving a mass transport limited dissolution reaction. A second condition for achieving polishing is that surface heterogeneities due to crystal orientation in a polycrystalline material are suppressed and that no pitting occurs.
These conditions, often associated with surface brightening, are usually fulfilled with the above-mentioned polishing electrolytes and with proper process control. In electropolishing, there is a very significant preference to the removal of any high spots on the metal surface. This means that the dimensions of the high spots are changed drastically while the dimensions of the lower spots are changed very little.
This creates a smoothing effect to the metal surface. It also means that, by nature of the process, the total amount of dimensional change required to obtain the polish effect is very small.
Dimensional reduction of the workpiece is on the order of 0. Electropolishing has many applications in the metal finishing industry because of its simplicity and because it can be applied to objects of complex shape. Typical examples are electropolished stainless-steel surgical devices. Figure 3d. Laser drilled stainless steel after electropolishing. Using plasma to desmear eliminates an entire wet process line, reduces chemical disposal cost, and reduces water usage and treatment costs.
Labor costs are lowered as well because there are no baths to maintain. With plasma etching, the panels are placed in a vacuum chamber, and gas is introduced and converted to reactive plasma by a power supply.
The plasma reacts at the panel surface and volatile by-products resin smear are removed by the vacuum pump. The addition of relatively inert gases, such as nitrogen or argon, stabilizes the plasma and controls the rate of ionization. Reactive oxygen species oxidize organic contaminants on the surface, creating volatile species that are pumped away. During laser drilling of a printed circuit board, for instance, resin becomes heated, resulting in the melting and smearing of the epoxy-resin base material across the inner-layer copper surfaces within the hole barrel to which subsequent through-hole plating must connect.
If not corrected, the smear would constitute a dielectric layer between the inner-layer copper surfaces and the plated copper, and the circuit would be defective. The desmear process is often grouped and sometimes confused with etchback because similar or identical chemistries can be used to perform both functions.
Desmear is simply the removal of smeared epoxy-resin by-products from copper surfaces within the hole barrel or left-over residue on conductive surfaces to facilitate an electrical connection with copper.
Currently the most widely used chemistry is sodium or potassium permanganate when significant etchback is not required or specified.
Permanganate-based systems remove a thin layer of epoxy-resin typically less than 1 mil and smear and are quite adequate for desmear-only applications. Figure 1a shows a piece of polyimide about 5 mils thick that has been laser etched with a crosshair of about microns kerf width. This part has been photographed directly from the laser, and debris is clearly evident. Figure 1b shows the same part after gentle wiping with IPA. Note that the part is very clean.
Figure 2a shows a piece of glass that has been laser etched and photographed with the debris being very evident. A gentle ultrasonic cleaning was performed and the result is shown in Fig. Note that the debris is almost entirely removed, but there remains chip out of the brittle glass. It is sometimes possible to reduce this effect, but it is difficult to eliminate it without either using a sacrificial layer or doing an additional post-laser grinding process.
Figure 3a shows a piece of stainless steel that has been laser etched and photographed — again the debris is evident. Figures 3b and 3c show the same part after cleaning with an IPA wipe and with ultrasonic cleaning, respectively. It is evident that most of the debris can be removed, however, this material shows another effect even after cleaning that may be undesirable: recast.
In order to effectively remove this recast, a gentle electropolish is necessary. Figure 3d shows a stainless-steel part that has been electropolished after laser drilling. Note that no high spots are evident on this photograph; through the electropolishing process, the high spots have been preferentially removed. Space does not permit an exhaustive review of all the post-laser cleaning techniques available, but the above gives an indication of some of the more common methods in use. Home Micromachining Post-Laser Processing Cleaning Techniques Some cleaning techniques affect the quality and financial impacts of laser processing.
Ron Schaeffer, PhD. Physical scrub The simplest and most economical method of part cleaning is a simple physical scrub. Chemical baths An ultrasonic cleanerndash;an ultrasound device usually operating from 15— kHzndash;is used to clean delicate items like jewelry, optics, precious metals, surgical instruments, and electronics.
Electropolishing Typically, the metal workpiece is immersed in a temperature-controlled bath of electrolyte and connected to the positive terminal anode of a DC power supply, with the negative terminal being attached to an auxiliary electrode cathode. Plasma etch Using plasma to desmear eliminates an entire wet process line, reduces chemical disposal cost, and reduces water usage and treatment costs.
Permanganate desmear During laser drilling of a printed circuit board, for instance, resin becomes heated, resulting in the melting and smearing of the epoxy-resin base material across the inner-layer copper surfaces within the hole barrel to which subsequent through-hole plating must connect.
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Additive Manufacturing. Additive manufacturing method enables efficient, cost-effective mini loudspeaker The process proves that microactuators can be produced in seconds and at low costs using inkjet printers and lasers. Industrial Laser Solutions Editors. Heraeus Medical Components acquires laser processing company Pulse Systems Heraeus Medical Components has acquired Pulse Systems, which provides high-precision laser processing and manufacturing of Nitinol and other metal-based implants and delivery systems.
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