Stencil making with resistant for etching metal

Hi, I bought my first laser engraver (Atomstack A5 Pro) to be able to burn into a resistant (black nail polish) on metal to create a stencil for which i can then electro-etch. Ive attached three samples I’ve tried and they are coming out terrible and i don’t know why. Im yet to test the laser on any other material. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I’m no expert by a long shot, but that may be too much power, try turning it down, it may also be the black paint not taking a laser etch? Just guessing

Can you ‘walk us through this’ Sean?

I’ve etched PC boards with Ferric Chloride before, and also etched them with a ‘resist’ pen… but I’ve never tried it with my laser (yet)…

Since ‘black nail polish’ is probably an acrylic paint … what are you painting it on? It looks like a brushed stainless steel?

Personally … I could use some more data here…

You want to cut through the paint, make a stencil … and? Etch the metal? Seems to me there are lots of easier ways of doing this. What are you planning? Some of the older negative resists are based on polyvinyl cinnamate, diallyl phthalates or isoprenoids.

Are you intending on using ferric chloride, sulphuric or nitric acid or ultrasonic to complete this task?

That’s not a bad idea, the one that came out the best had the least power. I will give that a shot next, thanks.

Hi JMichael,
It is painted on 1084 High Carbon Steel that was grinded flat.
That is correct, the plan is to burn through the paint making a stencil, then using an electro-etching machine (similar to the Personalizer Metal Marking and Etching Machine but home-made) with a saline solution to etch a logo.
Purpose is to put logo’s on knife blades that I am making.
I think you’re correct there probably are easier ways to go about this, but this was recommended to me by a knife maker and now that ive bought the laser I’d like to try and get it to work.

I don’t know anything about the laser you bought, but can you use something like Cermark to burn your logo on to the knife?

Can you share your file and take a screen grab of your settings?

I’d suggest you learn your lasers abilities and how it works before you jump into something that is not a trivial task or common task.

It appears to my eye that the ‘paint’ you are trying to remove varies in depth. Without an even coat, you will not get good results. The ‘tile’ methods with paint is a thicker coat, whereas the few commercial marking sprays recommend 0.05mm thickness.

The paint itself as @jjpython advised may not absorb laser irradiation well, which limits heat generation. Don’t forget, lasers work by exciting molecules and hopefully vaporizing the target. If that target produces toxic fumes or other hazardous items… :sob: Check on the material.

I have a 50 watt co2 and it cost me a lens trying to mark stainless steel. It was marked but the reflection destroyed a $20 lens. Same effect on a diode???

Have you tried the engraving on wood or paper? It would ensure everything is working correctly, then you could attack the metal…

Good luck :slight_smile:


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I agree /w @jkwilborn … an even coat will be your friend!

The layout fluids we used in the Navy (onboard the Destroyers) were ‘brush-in-can’ type, but in school they used the aerosols… NOT the same result!

Be sure it’s an even coat of ‘mask’ …

And as @jkwilborn suggests … good luck! :smirk: (in for a sheep as a lamb)

Good advice, I had a go in wood just now, and even that leaves much to be desired.
The lines arent ‘crisp’ and has stray lines everywhere, do you know if thats an easy to fix?
I’ve attached the lightburn file and another photo of latest results. Cheers.

Bellizzi.lbrn2 (27.6 KB)

Maybe it would help if I understood what you are doing?

I also don’t have your font ‘Edwardian Script ITC’, so it’s difficult for me to see what’s happening.

I would strongly suggest you upgrade to a current version of Lightburn.


Ich hab deine Datei runtergeladen.
Das scheint I.O. zu sein.
Ich denke, du hast keinen Focus.
Zeichne dir eine Linie, und schau wie das aussieht. Mit ihr suchst du dir deinen Focus.
Dein Brand ist ja nur Matsch.