CNC fiber laser annealing 304 stainless steel is something we do quite a bit of here at CNCROi.com. It’s a slow and methodical process but the results are permanent and highly visible.
Although this is an inefficient method of fiber annealing many 304 stainless steel custom bottle openers, the demo looks better on camera using this layout rather than a whole row.
CNC fiber annealing means that each stainless steel opener will be heat-treated identically, there is no pre or post processing required – as would be – if I was using Cermark and a CO2 laser source.
There is a lot of clearance between the stainless steel openers and the fiber laser lens because we have a special lens with a very precise focal length. This means we can anneal faster and more precisely, even on parts that are not totally flat or with height variances that would “traditionally” bang-up against the overhead gantry.
The fiber annealing process is quiet, there is no sound and all you see is the stainless steel becoming black instantly where it’s heat-treated. This is a very slow process – another reason why Cermark is used is to speed things up – but the results are simply stunning.
The camera has a tough time with highly reflective parts, rest assured, all these fiber annealed details are pitch black. The font size we can achieve with this process, just to give you an idea, can be microscopic and still be clearly legible.
Looking at it from various other angles, you can see now legible the content is. Fiber marking is a slightly faster process which does more scoring than blackening of the metal, that isn’t as clearly seen from all angles though for many applications, it’s fine, like part identification.
These are used as promotional gifts by my cousin who runs a welding shop. The stainless steel bottle openers can be kept in any environment as nothing was added or removed during the heat treating process.
No special coating is required, we can do the same regardless of metal from titanium through to anodized aluminum and even raw aluminum if required though that doesn’t become black, just white due to the low-carbon content.
Taking a closer-up view, you can see how smooth the surface is. If you wanted something rougher, we can increase the power to produce a texture that you can easily touch and feel. An application for this would be darker environments or those with a lot of dirt flying around, like the back of a crank shaft where the extra “hold” is a good thing for quick identification.
Next up is some dog tags, literally. This is the guard dog for the welding shop so thieves need to know who is attacking them should they choose to break in and steal equipment.
This is also 304 stainless steel, just slightly thinner than the bottle openers above. Each tag is identical though we could have just as easily done this through a database merge so, for instance, an alphanumeric code or QR code would identify each one uniquely.
As we aren’t damaging or warping the stainless steel in any way with this project, we fiber annealed both the front and back of the dog tag. When we have larger volumes, we make a jig just to make things more efficient but for small numbers, this is more than fine as our table is square and flat.
Just two were needed for this project but we could have easily done a production run in the thousands. The advantage of volume is a lower per-unit price. We can produce either high volume stamped metal tags or low volume CNC laser cut shapes, another unique aspect of CNCROi.com… whether stainless steel or anodized aluminum or anything else, it’s your choice.
Looking for a company that has lots of experience fiber marking and annealing stainless steel? Contact us!