Want to guarantee successful laser marking on anodized aluminum? Follow these four simple tips.
- Get the right mark by focusing on laser power, repetition rate, marking speed and fill spacing. What are you looking for? The ideal is a white‐metallic mark which is consistent across the mark area (the picture on the far left). Too much power and you lose resolution – too little power and you lose contrast. Part orientation and cleanliness are also really important for a consistent mark. The marks below show a range of different possible outcomes.
- Before marking, prepare parts for success – Make sure the part is lying flat with respect to the laser, and within the marking field. For best results, be sure to clean the part of all debris and oils – use ethanol or acetone to wipe the surface clean.
- Use the right settings – I’ve listed what I think is a good starting point for laser parameter settings. These settings are what I would recommend for a 20W fiber laser marker with 6x beam expander and 160mm f‐theta lens. However, some further trial and error may be needed, because materials and coatings may vary.
- Power: 70‐90 percent
- Speed: 50‐70 ips
- Repetition Rate: 40‐65 kHz
- Fill: 0.002-inch
- Consider a second pass – A second high speed, high frequency pass brightens the white. Use the same settings as above, except use a 150‐200 kHz repetition rate and scan the part perpendicular to the first pass.