Etching Brass with the Lasers

I made this plaque to commemorate Steve Buda and the tools bought with donations made in his memory. 

  1. I bought brass sheet from Goody's Hardware in East Haven
    1. It was a kick plate for a door
    2. Not brass plated, but solid brass
  2. I bought CRC Moly Dry Lube from Napa Auto for ~$20
  3. I cleaned the brass with rubbing alcohol, rubbed it with steel wool for a bit, and then cleaned it again.
  4. In the fume hood I sprayed the brass with the lube. I gave it 3 coats, with about an hour in between each coat.
  5. I used the Universal Laser 60W CO2 with air assist, set to 100% Power, 0.9% Speed and 500PPI to etch the design.
  6. I washed off the excess lube with rubbing alcohol, which left the etched text.

Some considerations for the future:

  1. I might spray the brass with a clear coat finish, because the letters are very bold when wet, but not so dark when dry.
  2. It might be possible to spray the brass again and laser it again (assuming I could re-align perfectly) to get the text darker
  3. Even slower speed might be better, or not using air assist, because that might have been cooling the metal when I wanted it hot.