[KwartzLab] laser enamelling
doug at moens.org
Sat Nov 23 13:32:30 EST 2013
I am interested in using the Kwartzlab laser cutter for "laser enamelling":
using the laser to selectively melt enamel onto steel or aluminum sheet, as
an alternative to using a kiln. This (theoretically) has two advantages
over traditional enamelling:
1. You can use the computer to lay down really complex designs that you
couldn't do by hand. Eg, photographs.
2. It's intrinsically more awesome, since it involves lasers and CNC
The only problem is that I don't know what I am doing (yet). A web search
reveals that enamelling is a lot like baking glaze onto ceramic pottery,
except you are fusing the glaze onto metal instead of ceramic. The glaze
compositions are pretty much the same. The recipe would include ground
glass (frit), plus metal oxide pigment, plus water and a binding agent, and
you would paint the mixture onto the metal and let it dry, before lasering
it. The challenge is just to find a good recipe.
I just visited S&S Pottery Supplies (near Kwartzlab). They appear to have
all of the raw ingredients I need. But the nobody who was there knew much
If you know anything about enamelling, then I would appreciate hearing some
advice. My initial interest is in enamelling recipes for aluminium. Or if
you want to collaborate, or donate small quantities of raw materials (once
I have recipes), that is also of interest.
I am aware of a company called Thermark, who sells a laser marking compound
called Cermark. This stuff is hideously expensive, though, and not locally
available. The raw materials at S&S are orders of magnitude cheaper, and if
I can figure out the tech, then I can do laser enamelling in any colour I
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