A common question I get from CNCROi.com customers regards the physical difference between Anodized Aluminium marking done with our CNC laser fiber tube vs CO2 engraving. I hope this helps!
What I love about anodized aluminium is that it’s available in a variety of colors and thicknesses which makes it perfect for a variety of applications. An added bonus is we can get them in any size, shape and, in enough quantity, any color you wish color matched.
Before we get too deep into this, let’s just review what aluminum anodizing does? The electro-chemical process (vs heat used for powder coating) adds a layer of oxidation to the aluminum plate. What this does is add a protective layer that enhances the properties and applications that the aluminium can be used in. Give this a quick watch.
The anodized aluminium is great for so many applications that we have yet to find a customer who can’t benefit from our anodized aluminium offerings. From custom valve tags for a variety of labeling applications to military components that need to be permanently fiber marked where paint and other applications would wear down over time.
To help illustrate the differences between fiber marking and CO2 engraving anodized aluminium, using the same speed settings (for equal comparison). We keep a large variety of colors, shapes and thicknesses of anodized aluminium plates and tags in our custom CNC shop.
I’ve done a lot of videos of anodized aluminium being fiber and CO2 laser marked so the first step is making the regular fiber one, the results from either process are permanent but I far prefer the fiber results because it adds extra contrast. The results from fiber are off-white while CO2 are more of a gray.
This follows through with the underlying color, CO2 generally shows the shade of color that’s being removed, all settings being “equal” while fiber produces shades of white regardless of settings.
Now, let’s put both processes together into ONE card, using the advantages of the fiber to make the CO2 stand-out a bit more than typical from going all one shade (or tube) across this blue anodized aluminium business card.
In this case, the outline of the letters was done using our fiber laser tube, to produce that “white” around the more gray CO2 engraving. Using two processes on one card does add to production time but in this case, to show the advantages to each on one card, well worth the extra effort.
As we are using our CO2 and fiber laser tubes, our Austrian wide-format industrial laser has both in one machine, we had to use our flexx lens rather than our regular fiber only lens.
Looking at the results right after production, you can clearly see the whiter fiber marked anodized aluminium business card on the left relative to the darker CO2 engraved one to the right… but if you look closely at the CO2 card, you’ll already notice a silver contrast in the lower band.
Taking a look at this much closer, you can already see the contrast of the who methods, and this is before any cleanup has been performed, hence the details looking a little muddy with dust all around.
Looking straight-on, you can also see how the silver around the letters at the top and the band in the lower portion of the anodized aluminium are clearly starting to show some contrast even in the poorest of light.
But it’s in the right light that these differences truly stand out, after cleanup. You can see how the president and wording in the top of the card along with our tag line “CNC marking, engraving & cutting services” is clearly whiter than the gray CO2.
What’s interesting about these results is that we are running the laser at the same speed, but our CO2 is 110 Watts while our fiber is 30 Watts. Our CO2 is powered by a ceramic core while our fiber has a diode… both have an incredible lifespan and production qualities that allows us to produce consistent results across a large variety of applications, each tube, optimized to spec.
Looking at the anodized aluminium card, you’ll notice the outline around the CNCROi.com is popping a bit more than usual thanks to the outline there and in my name. Depending on the angle you look at these business cards, each one “flashes” differently in the light, it’s hard to show in photographs and videos so I tried my best to illustrate this point.
What you will notice though, regardless of the angle, the CO2 engraved anodized aluminium business card is always more dull gray than the fiber off-white one.
Looking for custom anodized aluminium tags, business cards and marking on your industrial components and products? You’ve found CNCROi.com, contact us today! Here are a few other projects I’ve shown here on CNCROi.com showing you other applications of fiber marking anodized aluminium.