Logo on Aluminum

Does anyone have any suggested processes for adding a logo to a textured aluminum surface that has high wear resistance? Our supplier is suggesting laser printing, but this will be for a section of the product that’s always in contact with either hands or tabletop. I’m skeptical whether or not it will rub off over time, so I’m considering laser etching as a longer lasting solution. Can anyone offer any suggestions or insight into alternative processes?


Definitely: anything reductive is going to last longer than a print or decal

Also consider blasting the logo in. Make a mask for it and bead blast a smooth logo (while the rest of the surface remains textured). Or, use a more abrasive blast to create a texture for the logo that doesn’t match the rest of the surface.

I’ve never heard of laser printing, are they just referring to laser etching?

Laser etching would be the best and most controlled way to do it, aside from actually CNC machining the logo into the part. Also, you can laser etch before or after the anodizing process which will give different results.

I’ve never heard of laser printing onto a hard surface but I’m assuming this may be due to a language barrier. I also confirmed and they’re not referring to laser etching. I think laser etching or bead blasting over a mask will give us the look we’re trying to achieve though.

Maybe they mean laser marking, where a colored transfer film is used to inscribe the metal. I have no experience with it, it seems like it would be quite durable.

You may also be able to simply stamp it in - less pretty but deeper and faster than etching. Also depends on the look and feel you want to go for - for a subtle, delicate look probably bead blasting is the most beautiful.

My shop does some laser marking stuff. I’ll try to get some photos. We mostly do black on aluminum or stainless steel…

I’m curious Cyberdemon, could you elaborate on what the different results are or point me to a good resource? I’m curious as I’ve had this issue with vendors, but was unable to provide specific direction for them aside from saying what end result I wanted.

The end results will depend on the laser and the anodizing type/color but if you anodize an off color, then etching post anodizing will remove the coloring and give you a contrasting logo.

If you etch then anodize, you tend to get a fairly even finish depending on the surface finish of the aluminum part (polished vs blasted), it’s much more subtle. Some vendors will complain about etching after anodizing though, it depends on if they have the right type of laser equipment.

Interesting. Never considered anodizing over a laser etched surface. That may give us something interesting once we work out the contrasting surface finishes.

@NURBS: That would be great. Any additional resources/reference images to work with would be awesome.

I got the impression that it rather depends on the factory logistics. It’s simply some extra hassle to move things around that is going against 99% of their usual routines. It could also add to the cost even if it seems like it shouldn’t matter if you don’t consider supply chain and lead times.