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How to make a nice aluminum etching at home or in a small workshop

Posted July 18, 2016

We are often asked the same question, whether it is possible to make an engraving with a laser L-Cheapo on metal, such as aluminum. Is it even possible to make engraving on metal in the home?

Today, we will answer this question.

In fact it is fairly common in domestic metal, suitable for engraving. Many products, such as key chains, sticks, some mobile body and flash cards are made of aluminum.

So, what do we know about aluminum? This metal has melting temperature of about 600 degrees Celsius, has high thermal conductivity and having, typically on its surface a layer of aluminum oxide has a melting temperature greater than 1000 degrees Celsius. This significantly complicates the process of engraving by heat treatment, but there is another option. Aluminum – a good conductor, and if so, then the process of electrolysis has not been canceled. Here it is the same decision, which we describe.

This process is called aluminum etching.

This is no big deal. We only need a current source of 9-12 volts.

As well as ordinary salt (NaCl), the capacity of the dielectric (plastic is fine), nail or any iron object suitable shape and size, water.

And, of course, the laser!

So what and how do we do?

1. Prepare bitmap, which would be applied to the aluminum surface of the plate.

For example, here is this:


2. Cover the aluminum plate surface with a  protective film (adhesive tape, paint, paint on the selection).



3. Place the aluminum plate on the top of 3D-printers equipped with our (specify how) laser, and include laser cutting mode (to remove the tape and pasted to create open areas in the future site of the engraving).


4. Next, in the plastic container we prepare a concentrated aqueous solution of NaCl.


5. From the source of electric current terminal 2 wire “plus” and “minus”.

6. To connect the positive terminal with our aluminum plate and also to omit the salt solution.

7. Power on.


8. Starting the electrolysis process (etching) in solution. Depending on the strength of the current and the concentration of the solution can estimate the approximate time necessary for etching. Usually 3-5 minutes.


9. We take the product out from the solution.



It must be remembered that the engraved product before being placed in the solution should be carefully isolate the exception of those areas where, in fact, engraving is to be applied.

This process can be carried out both at home and in a small workshop.

With this technology, anyone can become a master of engraving on metal (aluminum).

In our opinion, this technology has great practical value.

Engraved with Endurance – it’s easy!

Watch full demo:


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