Marking SS with 10W laser

Hi Folks,
I didn’t find a lot of detail about marking or etching stainless steel with the 10 watt laser so I thought this might be helpful. I tried a profile with movement mode set to “Line”, fill interval of 0.1mm, work speed of 450mm/min, and laser power at 100%. This is 304 SS sheet metal. I tried rinsing, scrubbing, and cleaning with alcohol and the mark seems to be pretty durable. I can feel with my fingernail that there is a definite difference in texture between the bare SS and the etched areas.

I hope this is helpful. Happy making!
Mechan8

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Did you use any coating? Also, will it rust at the etched location now?

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Hi srk999,
I did not use any coating. I soaked the engraved area in salt water overnight and then left it in open air for a few hours, and I was able to create some rust spots. The spots disappeared after rinsing with water and rubbing a bit. You can see some photos as follows:

All the best!
Mechan8

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You’re amazing! Thank you for doing this.

I also did some testing with @mechan8 's settings.
Worked out pretty well.
The pictures show Engraving with 450mm/s 100% power and 0.1 mm Line Width on an stainless steel (18/10) pot

Here a “microscopic” picture of the engraving:
image
The engraving process creates some brownish dust, which can be removed with water.

I am not sure if engraving steel is a better idea over marking (ie with Molybdenum disulfide based products) as this creates a surface which can oxidize, as @mechan8 also showed with his experiments.

The rust is due to the removal of the oxidation layer of the stainless steel. You named one method that avoids this, but you might also try using something like 3-in-1 oil. It would be interesting to also apply a very thin coat before engraving, and then cleaning and reapplying after engraving. This might create a very thin carbon layer that improves the rust resistance on the engraving. It might also activate the self healing characteristics of the stainless steel to heal itself.