Full Version: stainless problem

From: baz (RINGROAD) [#1]
 15 Jan 2006

I am engraving stainless steel with my epilog laser 30w. I use cermark. after I engrave the black marking can be rubbed off. Can some one tell me what I am doing wrong. My machine doesn't have auto focus and I wonder if I am not focussing properly

From: Engravin' Dave (DATAKES) [#2]
 16 Jan 2006
To: baz (RINGROAD) [#1] 16 Jan 2006

Please share your settings with us.

With an in-focus 30-watt machine I would use the settings of 100% power and 25% speed.

You should also confirm that the stainless steel does not have a protective clearcoat on it.

From: baz (RINGROAD) [#3]
 16 Jan 2006
To: Engravin' Dave (DATAKES) [#2] 16 Jan 2006

I set the epilog on 1200 dpi 100 power and 10 speed. which is the most that I can run the machine at without being really ridiculous

From: Engravin' Dave (DATAKES) [#4]
 16 Jan 2006
To: baz (RINGROAD) [#3] 16 Jan 2006

Is it possible that the stainless is coated?

From: baz (RINGROAD) [#5]
 16 Jan 2006
To: Engravin' Dave (DATAKES) [#4] 16 Jan 2006

I will check this out. I receive the stainless with a protective covering. I will need to go back to the supplier Thanks for the lead. Baz

From: Boz (CHEDDARHEAD) [#6]
 16 Jan 2006

You also need to check what series stainless it is, or if it is stainless at all. We have tired working on some "chrome" parts, only to be able to rub off the engraving.

Because we do not have the luxury of using the same machine two time in a row, we need to find out what parameters for each machine we need to use to laser mark on stainless. So we take a sample of THE material, spray the Cermark metal marking spray on it, then send a number of different speeds and power settings over to test the mark. We will usually start with 100% power, then send over 10%, 20%, 30%, 40% and 50% speeds to see what works the best. Then wash off the excess spray and see which setting works best. If it looks like a speed between two numbers works best, we will do another set of samples at trying to dial in the best speed and power. If we are using a higher powered system, we might also play with the power for the best results.

Focus is also somewhat critical. Check your focus to see that you are set correctly. I am a manual focus guy, buy Rob jr. is a autofocus guy. When he is really having a problem, he always asks me to check to see if the focus is set correctly.

From: baz (RINGROAD) [#7]
 17 Jan 2006

Thanks Robert
I sent an email to Epilog asking them for a solution. They said that the 30 watt machine was not powerful enough to mark stainless???????. What do you think?? What grade stainless do you recommend. I am purchasing a 60 watt GCC spirit in June I think that this is the answer Baz. Barry Grant

From: Harvey only (HARVEY-ONLY) [#8]
 17 Jan 2006
To: baz (RINGROAD) [#7] 18 Jan 2006

I did a test piece of a stainless knife with Thermark and it came out wonderfully using a 25Watt machine.

From: Upacreek [#9]
 17 Jan 2006
To: baz (RINGROAD) [#7] 18 Jan 2006

Then Epilog needs to read their advertising and their web site.

Epilog needs to send ALL of their technicians on store visits or seminars to actually watch an engraver use the laser. Not just one time. On a regular basis. Next time you speak to any support rep, ask them when was the last time they actually used a laser, what they did and how often they have actually used a laser.

If a technical support person ever tells you something you find questionable, do what you just did. Question it with someone else.

You should be able to mark Stainless Steel with your 30-watt laser. You might need to try some Thermark. You'll probably want to try 25-30 speed and 100 power to start with.

I found with some polished SS I use, cermark engraves 3 out of 10 times good. With Thermark, it engraves 97 out of 100 times good.


From: Peck.Sidara (LAOPADAK) [#10]
 17 Jan 2006

Dear All,

Please review ringroad's original email sent to the Epilog general tech support email account(bottom). Secondly please review my reply(middle). I feel it's necessary for everyone to see that this is not as black and white as it appears. There are a few reasons why a 30W laser wouldn't engrave on Stainless using Cermark.

It's possible the customer is using the wrong power/speed/dpi settings.
It's possible the laser is losing power.

In reviewing my response, perhaps I should've/could've done a better job clarifying any and all possibilities and made myself more clear.

I did not state a 30W laser wouldn't work for this application. I hinted to power/speed settings. My questions regarding other applications was to reference whether perhaps the laser tube has lost power.

I appreciate everyone's support of Epilog, kind words and input. Please let me know if there's anything else I can do to help.

AKA Epitech



The use of Cermark on stainless steel requires a significant amount of power. For a 30W laser, I wouldn't be surprised if you had to use 100% power and 5-10% speed to make it work. The problem is most likely caused by not having enough power or not slowing the machine down enough, due to a lack of power.

Another question you may ask yourself is, what about your other applications? Are you able to do other things that you have been doing in the past using the same power/speed combinations that you've used in the past?

You may also contact your local sales rep with any further questions or inquires.

Let me know if you have any further questions and we'll go from there.


My machine cannot engrave Stainless Steel. Its a Legend 24 30 Watt machine 3 Years Old in very good condition,However when I engrave stainless with cermark applied, after I wash off,the engraving washes off or fades as well. I dont have autofocus maybe I am at fault. Can you help me with suggestions or is the machine not up to the task. Please help me Barry Grant

From: Boz (CHEDDARHEAD) [#11]
 17 Jan 2006

You also might not be getting all of your laser energy to the material being engraved. If your optics are dirty, scratched, pitted, the coating is breaking down, or you are out of alignment, you will lose energy. Whenever a customer calls with a concern about his laser needing to be recharged, I always have him check his alignment and optics before telling him to spend his money, or even worse, my money. First, clean all of the optics using very high quality cleaning solutions made for cleaning CO2 coated optics. Then check your alignment. Just make sure your laser beam is going down the center of all of your optics and not clipping any other components. If everything is all clear, then run your system for ~ 10 minutes at full power. After the machine stops, very carefully reach in and touch the backs of all of your mirrors, mirror mounts, lenses, lens mounts, and output window in the machine. If you feel any heat build up on anything, you probably have a something wrong with that optic. The hydroscopic coatings on CO2 laser optics can be going bad and look fine to the naked eye. If heat is being built up, something is wrong. Heat build up also componds the problems. As a component heats up, thermal expansion or contraction will change the pointing stability of your system and will generally cause the optic to obsorb more energy which is converted to heat. A 2" fl. lens is a heck of a lot cheaper to replace than a laser exchange.

Also, the dynamics of our laser beams have most of the energy in the middle of the beam, and less energy out towards the edges of the laser beam. IF you have a "bad spot" on an optic, which happens to change the profile of your laser beam, you will also change how the beam couples with the material. And coupling metal marking spray with a metal is pretty particular to parameters. You do not have to be off by much to be able to rub off your engraving.

From: Harvey only (HARVEY-ONLY) [#12]
 17 Jan 2006
To: Boz (CHEDDARHEAD) [#11] 20 Jan 2006

One thing not mentioned.

If the coating is too thick there will not be enough heat transfer to get the job done right.

From: Barbara (RGILE) [#13]
 18 Jan 2006
To: baz (RINGROAD) [#7] 19 Jan 2006

I have a 30W LaserPro and have no problem with Stainless Steel.
I use a setting of 20 speed 100 power. I also use 300 DPI
and it seems to work fine for me.

I do not know why epilog would not do that also.
Are you spraying on the Cermark? Perhaps its too thick and is not going trough it properley.

Also, found that engraving it twice does not work. It just lasers out the Cermark and looks silver again.

Hope this helped a little.

From: joepafan (GPERZEL) [#14]
 21 Jan 2006

Hi All;
I can almost guarantee that the problem is the stainless has a protective coating on it - usually a lacquer.

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