Never send a human to do a machine’s job. ~Agent Smith
One of my favorite films is the Matrix franchise, even after all these years, it still blows me away with its special F/X. So in honor of Agent Smith, let’s anneal one of his famous sayings onto a metal plaque of 304 stainless steel-cut here at CNCROi.com in the shop using our metal sheer to size.
This 304 stainless steel came from a larger sheet we had in the shop after completing an annealing job so it was time to have a bit of fun with it, we do a lot of custom metal work here so scraps of various grades and thicknesses is quite easy to come by here at CNCROi.com.
There was no surface preparation required, this is straight stainless steel put onto our Austrian CNC laser bed. For the annealing, we used our high quality fiber lens with our fiber tube. There is a workaround to this using Cermark and our CO2 tube but the results from fiber annealing are by far the best, the results are permanent and sharp with no toxic paste or cleaning required.
We’ve done plaques substantially larger than this one, what we found works best is thicker metal because it tends to not bend as much during the high intensity and heating produced during annealing. When you watch the video at the end of this blog post, notice the bottom right corner, it raises slightly.
If we didn’t use our fiber lens, anything lifting by more than a fraction of a mm would go out of focus, causing less than desirable effects, basically, the annealing would go into scoring or marking as the heat would be less intense. This is why we used our fiber lens, our tolerance is dramatically higher so even with up to a mm of lift, we still get annealing though you will notice a slight change in the surface quality when I held this up to the light at specific angles.
The annealing process is slow and time intensive but the results will last several lifetimes and never fade or chip. The metal itself turned black from our fiber laser tube on our Trotec Speedy 400 flexx, something that is simply not possible using a CO2 tube.
“NEVER send a human to do a machine’s job.” is a pretty apt saying for us here at CNCROi.com, I can’t imagine trying to do this 304 stainless steel plaque by hand using any other system that our high quality industrial wide format CNC laser. Humans may be able to get away producing ONE thing like this by skill and luck but as soon as more than one is needed, like a thousand of these, it simply isn’t possible.
The repeatability and precision we can achieve with our CNC laser is second to none, just look at the faint outline around our logo in the bottom right corner, whether we make one or a thousand of these, the plaques will be identical! The shiniest you see by the way is just light reflecting off the stainless steel, everything is black, I like this effect, gives the metal a more attractive look to my eyes, it’s almost like having a rainbow embedded into the stainless steel.
Watch the video of the stainless steel being annealed.
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