HOW TO – Use metal marking spray with a laser

HOW TO – Use metal marking spray with a laser

Cermark metal marking spray lets you engrave black images/graphics on shiny/metal surfaces with a Co2 laser. It’s a bit like a ceramic glaze that gets “baked” on with the laser’s heat. Here’s a quick test I did on cheapy metal multi-tool (Didn’t want to try an iPod quite yet)…Dsc07666
First up, I measured the tool and made a template in my graphics app. I imported a vector art version of the MAKE logo and exported a 600 dpi .AI (Illustrator file) that would later be used with Corel Draw (that’s how the laser works, it “prints” from Corel Draw.

The CerMark spray is pretty simple, just spray an even coat – I did two passes. The stuff is kinda pricey $65! so don’t waste any.


Wait 15-20 minutes until it’s dry.

I manually focused the laser since auto-focus might not detect the bolts/bumps on top.

Print! Er, fire! 100% power and 35% speed (For this application, the speed is based on the power of the laser, so if you have a 35 watt laser, you do 35% speed).

Done. I forgot to take a picture of it with the coating, it’s nothing special, it washes off with water in a minute. I used my hands to scrub it off.

The results are really impressive, the lines are smooth and it’s extremely pro-looking.

Other view. I tried to see how tough it is, it’s *really* tough, I’m not sure it will come off, even scratching it didn’t do anything.

Tool opened, that’s it.

Next up, I’ll experiment with iPods, and other shiny things. I’m pretty sure I can cover up the Apple and iPod writing, we’ll see what happens on the next test, stay tuned – as I experiment more, I’ll post or put photos in the MAKE Flickr photo pool.

10 thoughts on “HOW TO – Use metal marking spray with a laser

  1. solderer says:

    Very Cool! It will be really interesting to hear how it works with other materials. Cermark’s manufacturer is really circumspect about advising what materials work well with it. Plus, a 35W laser is a perfect power to test with – very common.

  2. bf5man_ says:

    Could it be used to make PCB traces easily?

  3. cliff52 says:

    Unlike /solderer/, I am unfamiliar with the laser mentioned – could you provide some additional details?

    Also, the material looks like something that could clog the spray can easily – do you have to turn it upside down and spray propellant to clear the nozzle each time?

    At $65 a can, I’d want a nozzle that sprays very fine!!! Looks like a lot could be wasted beside the targeted item.

  4. fungus_amungus says:

    If only you had that stuf a month ago. Ah well.

  5. svofski says:

    Hmm this makes it sound like a 35W CO2 laser is something everybody has next to dishwasher and kitchen sink. Am I seriously lagging behind, should I watch out for the next appliances sale? ;)

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