10W laser on Aluminum question

Ok, so, I need a fairly small, very thin Aluminum plate engraved/embossed/printed. Basically I need Black text on an aluminum nomenclature plate of sorts. Basically similar to this image, but blank as received.

I know that aluminum is hard to work with using only the 10 W laser to engrave. I’ve not had great success using Moly to create black engraving on Aluminum. If someone has perfected settings, please let me know.

What I’m thinking is…what if I mask and paint the entire area of the plate needing specific text, then use the 10W to sublimate all the black area that is not, in fact, text. Would this work? Anyone tried anything similar?

I was hoping somebody more experienced would reply. I haven’t done any laser work, but I have been reading the forums for years.

That doesn’t sound unreasonable, as there are several projects posted to the forum of people lasering the paint off of painted aluminum and stainless steel products.

If it works, please post pictures and settings. :slight_smile:

Haven’t tried it yet.
I assume it would work but it might also mark the aluminum where the paint is removed. Probably a matter of finding the right power/speed. Acetone or rubbing alcohol (depending upon the paint) will sometimes remove any remaining residue. Mr Clean erasers also work well.

Moly works with stainless steel, not aluminum.


Your best bet for aluminum is actually reverse. Paint the aluminum, but set it up as a negative. Use the laser to remove the paint from the aluminum. This is how it works on anodized and painted aluminum, nothing (so far that I’ve found) actually bonds to it. I’ve tried various speeds and power, different coloured painted cards (the ‘business cards’ you can get bulk), anodized, and even pure titanium dioxide (used on tile). So paint any colour you want, then blast it away with the laser. Maybe finish up with a glossy clear shellac or lacquer to protect it.

That’s what the OP asked if he should try:

'Sublimate" isn’t the correct word, (not sure what is) but I know what he meant.


That’s what I get for responding while tired. :upside_down_face: Vaporize would be the word to place there. I likely mainly caught the moly part, my bad.

@Skreelink I figured. Since usually you’re on top of it with your advice.

@WVDualsport If you don’t have an extra plate to run some tests on you can probably use the back side. It shouldn’t be a problem, but start conservatively as far as power speed goes to make sure you don’t warp or disfigure the front.

Please let us know how it turns out.