Laser Engraver Use

Hello. I am a knife maker and leather worker looking to do some laser engraving both on blades and leather. Things like logos, makers marks, and even custom designs. Can someone direct me to the correct machine, the requirements to use it, and who to talk to about getting clearance?

Thank you.

For leather, you can do it on any of the laser machines as long as it is vegtan leather. For the Thunder lasers, there’s an online class at and/or I can schedule a one-on-one.

We do not have a laser that is capable of marking metal safely right now. Our lasers can remove powder coating from metal, which might be an option, but should NOT be used on metal directly.

It has been discussed in the last couple committee meetings (which reminds me that I really need to put another one on the calendar) about getting a fiber laser/ specifically one that is capable for marking metal but I have not heard any recommendations for good ones that are within a reasonable budget.

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Does that mean we can’t use Cermark anymore?

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Yes and no… If you fully cover the area, and you treat it with just the correct amount of power, it’s fine. It’s basically the same system as powder coating.

The issue arises from when people go over straight metal and it reflects much of the laser back into itself. That is the reason that the red dot lights have been melted…


Ah okay. That makes sense. I didn’t know that had become an issue.

Yeah, it’s not if you’re actually careful with what you do but too many people started cooking it that I just now blanket say no.

But like everything else there, if you actually know what you’re doing, and don’t cause problems… I won’t know xD


thank you! I’ll check out the online class and mostly likely be in touch for some one on one to get started. :slight_smile:

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I will be in this afternoon - evening to work on laser maintenance, and will be in on Sunday afternoon - evening as well. Feel free to find me/poke me either time if you are there.

Also speaking of engraving metal, and I apologize for slightly being off topic, but since we don’t have a laser to engrave metal, do you or anyone else know if we have an electro-etching device for making a mark on metal? I know I would need a stencil, heck maybe we have a way to do that too? Any idea on this one?

sounds good. I will be there for a jewelry class at 6pm -9pm. I will at least try to introduce myself and maybe get there early enough for more. Thank you.

I think there was a metal engraving machine in the dye sublimation room, back in the day. It might still be there. I forget what it’s called – but I remember that it had a lot of z’s in the name.

Update: Free Equipment - Engraving Machine 2021/09

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It’s not going to give you a traditional etched look. It’s an impact head that is great for things like photographs. Hardness of knives might be too great but IDK.

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thanks for the help ya’ll

two other options you might consider:

Shapeoko CNC with a diamond drag bit

vinyl stencil and sandblast/waterblast or chemical etch/coloring. Sorta related, you can use film resist and get really fine resolution and use acid etch or chemical coloring (like blue)

@ozindfw I think the CNC might be overkill or too big for the small area and fonts/graphics I need. Not really sure though?

I usually acid etch or gun blue the blade first and then stone wash them since I am using carbon steel right now. Helps protect against rust and gives it a nice “working” finish. I was looking at electro etching for a deeper logo/marker’s mark etch, it’s fairly common for blades and the stencils can be ordered for fairly cheap. Although it would be cool to learn to make some stencils. Our vinyl machine could do that no? Then I could build an electro etching device for pretty cheap from what I have been told.

If you want to acid etch and have fine resolution, dry film photo resist is the best answer. This is normally used for printed circuit boards. It’s acid resistant by design. Were it me I’d acid etch and then blue, and then strip the resist. . I’m planning on doing this with some stainless plates.

This is for copper PCB boards, but you’ll get the idea.

Interesting to be certain. I’ll have to read up on it a bit more when I get home. But looks like the electro-etching some friends do will work better for my purposes. But really, I want a laser etch, would make things much easier and I could do more of the things I want to do. Unfortunately, my access to one is limited. If you ever do any of this at the maker space, I would love to observe! First person experience is always better for evaluation! Again, thank you!.

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Yeah, we have talked about getting a fiber laser, in particular for metal etching/meeting… The problem is the cost for the quality of the laser for its abilities is kind of… Unbalanced.

A lot of the lasers that are designed for cutting and marking metal well tend to cost a lot/really be intended only for metals.

(But if you see anything that looks like it might work or of interest – feel free to message me. I’ll look/bring it up at the committee meeting(s)).

Any idea what type of budget/power level? I’ve been looking around a little.

A little bit up in the air. It would depend on the flexibility/ overall usage of the machine.

The Thunder lasers (newer model of the kind we have) are between about 10 to 15 thousand dollars, which is not a terrible price for the amount of things they can work with and so on.

You can get some pretty good fiber lasers that are more aimed at speed for a few thousand.

If we can find a laser for 15k or less that can work with other materials and does good metal work, that would be best…

Alternatively, we could split that budget and get like two fiber lasers or something like that.

(And please note that of course anything on that budget would need to get approved by the board and probably will not happen until we finish some of the current expansion expenses and stuff)

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