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Laser Engraving & Cutting

A guide to PPLD's laser engravers/cutters

Working with Metals


Strictly speaking, the laser cutter is not able to engrave metals. However, there are ways of creating a marking on a metal.

  • The metal can be painted and then the paint can be etched off, showing the metal underneath.
  • Anodized metals will change color where the laser is fired, usually turning it white or near-white.
  • Metal-marking solutions are available that, once applied, will turn the metal black with use of the laser.

Important Safety Information

  • Metals can get extremely hot when engraved. Use caution when removing objects from the bed. Ask the staff member on duty if heat-resistant gloves are available.
  • Metal-marking solutions should be applied with caution and in a well ventilated area. Aerosols cannot be sprayed in the makerspace and will need to be applied before entering the library.

Tips on Engraving Metals

  • Painting the metal and engraving the paint is the safest and easiest way of putting designs onto metal. This works well with pre-painted objects such as bottles.
  • For rounded objects, see the page on using the rotary attachment.