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custom-machine-plate-x3 CNC Laser Cutting & Engraving Anodized Aluminium

CNC Laser Cutting & Engraving Anodized Aluminium

Following-up on my previous stainless steel article focused on annealing this wonderful material, today will focus on custom engraving anodized aluminium.

When it come to custom metal fabrication, it’s generally anodized aluminium or stainless steel, these two choices to offer our customers durable markings across two material choices that cover the vast majority of the custom applications our customer request from us to do on their behalf.

Like our stainless steel (and other metal) options, each material has a plus and minus across various applications. For instance, anodized aluminium is COLORFUL, LIGHT WEIGHT and more COST EFFECTIVE than stainless steel. I’d suggest that what we do with anodized aluminium is also just as durable PERMANENTLY as stainless steel. Here are some more answers to common questions we get regarding this wonderful material.

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What thicknesses do you have available in anodized aluminium?

For custom anodized aluminium business cards, we generally make them in 0.02″ which is a fraction of a mm in thickness but for machine plates, we generally use 0.05″ or roughly 1 mm thick anodized aluminium plate. We can go thicker but if you really want something “stronger”, then generally I suggest we going to stainless steel.

Which metal is better? Anodized aluminium or stainless steel?

It really depends on your application and personal preferences. If you want something colorful, then anodized aluminium is the best material forward as with stainless steel, you only have a “silver-grey” color with black annealing. With anodized aluminium, there is red, blue, green, orange, black, purple and other colors but the laser only does an off-white finish.

There is really nothing bad or good about any one material, we can get both materials in various thicknesses or gauges and they can be roughly equally worked upon for personalized custom fabrication.

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What are your minimums for custom production runs?

Minimum production runs depend on the design involved, timeline, volume and budgets involved. The easiest way to find out between and you, the customer, is to just send us your DXF, EPS or sketch on a napkin and we’ll take it from there.

What are the design limitations with anodized aluminium compared to stainless steel?

No. Both materials are interchangeable for most applications, but keep in mind that stainless steel is a lot stronger and weighty and annealing is a far slower process. As a result, if you need something strong, stainless steel is what you should be sticking with but if this is something you are adding to an industrial machine, anodized aluminium could just as easily be used.

We achieve the same resolution, the same quality of imagery and text, regardless of which metal you pick from.

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Can you mix and match materials for my application?

As working with stainless steel and anodized aluminium are interchangeable for many applications, we can, depending on volume make the same thing, like welding tags for example, using the same design on two different materials. Of course, this can be further expanded into laminates, woods or anything else like Corian.

Can you give the engraved anodized aluminium another color?

No, you can have any color as long as it’s the off-white or silver. What our industrial laser is doing is vaporizing off the anodization, so what you are left with is the removal of the color that was electrically and chemically plated onto the raw anodized aluminium.

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Can you stamp anodized aluminium?

Yes, you can also stamp stainless steel, it comes to how many units you want, so if you want a mold made that you knock onto these cards or tags as a way to certifying you did something like a signature, that’s possible.

Additionally, you can use a permanent market on these anodized aluminium or stainless steel plates but keep in mind that it will not be permanent. If you pour paint thinner or gas onto the plate, it will remove any marking you add (unlike stamping) but it will not remove our laser engraving or annealing work.

How is anodized aluminum better than the alternatives?

Unlike just about every cost-effective marking method out there, UV printing through screen printing and even sublimation, laser engraving anodized aluminium or annealing stainless steel is PERMANENT. It will not fade, crack, peel or otherwise be removable short of using a sand belt onto it.

Anodization is an incredibly strong surface bonding and protection quality where painting would come right off in the Sun, not happening with anodized aluminium.

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