The Best Way to Optimize Your Laser Settings for Metal
There are many factors involved in preparing laser settings for each job, but we have cut through the morass to come up with the simplest way for you to optimize your settings no matter what the circumstances.
PLEASE CHECK OUT THE YouTube VIDEO!!
(1) A sample of the material you plan on marking. Every metal is different so we always recommend testing with a sample of the material to be marked. For stainless-steel optimization, we provide two tags with every order.
(2) A test-marking grid. We have created correctly sized CorelDraw and Adobe Illustrator color-mapped files for you to download here: Color Mapped Corel Draw and Adobe Illustrator Files
(3) A “magic eraser” sponge or generic equivalent. You will use this at the end of the process to best evaluate your results.
What You’ll Do:
(1) Spray the stainless-steel metal tag on one side with marking spray and set aside.
(2) Set the default resolution to 300dpi.
(3) Go to the advanced tab, enable the color-mapping function on your laser program and enter settings as indicated below using the following RGB color codes. As an example, 100% Power/60% Speed corresponds to an RGB color code of 255 Red, 0 Green and 0 Blue.
(4) Run your laser at full power and keep it that way for the duration of the run. This factor should remain unchanged throughout the run. The only thing that will change in this testing procedure is the speed of the laser.
(5) The results of this test will only be valid at 300 dpi. A resolution setting of 600dpi will give different results and in general, we recommend marking at 300 dpi unless you are marking a difficult substrate such as aluminum or copper. In those cases, a higher resolution may be required to ensure good durability.
(6) Place the sprayed metal tag in your laser.
(7) Center the laser beam in the middle of your metal tag. The laser beam should be centered from left to right (.075’’ from the edge) and centered from the bottom of the plate to the bottom of the notch (1.34’’ from the bottom).
(8) Use Center-Center Engraving. Hit print in your computer program to send the job to the laser, and laser the tag.
(9) Rinse off the metal tag with water and scrub it VIGOROUSLY with the “magic eraser” sponge. It’s important to scrub the tag with some force in order to reveal the true look and durability of the marks.
(10) Evaluate the marks. You should be able to see that some of the marks at the faster speeds are coming off and not as consistent as the ones at slower speeds. In the sample provided in our video, the marks at speeds 60 and 50 adhere poorly. The mark at speed 40 shows improvement but is still partially removed when scrubbed with the sponge. Speed 30 is better than speed 40 but still shows small imperfections. It is at speeds 20 through 5 that the marks are all high quality and consistent. Thus, given our sample, you would set your speed at 20 to achieve an excellent mark. Always error to the next slowest speed to ensure good adhesion.