Powder coat filled laser engraving

I was experimenting with filing up laser engraving with powder coat and running the laser at a lower power to set the paint. Have to do a bunch of optimization to find the sweet spot for the powder to melt but it does work quite well. Here are a few test pieces I made using this method.

I started with a 1/8 piece of solid wood (most probably maple or oak or ash may be). Stain the top with black oil stain. The black gives the solid black borders. Put a masking tape on it so that the fine powder coating dusts don’t settle on the stain. Then kept doing one color of engraving followed by powder filling at a time. I mask off the parts those are done between the colors just to be safe. After all the layers are done take off all masking tapes. after this the parts were clear coated with some poly (anything that will stick to wood and plastic will work)

I got some powder coat paint from @CLeininger but unfortunately they were harborfreight paints and I could never get them to work. i.e. the color was too faded after one coat. That forced my hand to buy some good powder coat paint from https://thepowdercoatstore.com . That’s what I used in making these.

I think @valerie can use this technique as, I saw she had video game themed laser etched products at the maker market. This can be a good/fast way to add some colors to them. Also this method works best with images with solid colors separated from each other.

PS - Some of the color inconsistency are because my piece was a bit wrapped and I don’t have any hold downs in my laser cutter.


Bummer the powder didn’t work but those look great!


@TravisGood check this out, I know you tried some of this.

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Nice looking results! For experimenting purposes I left four colors of powder coat paint in the laser cabinet. Anyone is welcome to use it for learning.

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Did you try with the powder coat paint you have? Any leanings? Where did you get your paint from (it will give me an idea of places I can buy paint from)?

How cool! Well done @lagnajeet!!! I’ll definitely have to chat with you more on this when I have time to do laser experiments.

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Originally I had wanted to buy this sample kit but it was sold out:

Then I chased this down because of the color variety and it was out of stock:

Finally I just caved and bought four colors of way more than I could ever use:

They are four little jars of these which I left in the laser room cabinet.

The ones from Sonoma lasers are same as the ones I bought.

Is it the poly topcoat that holds/sets the powder or something else? Not sure that I’m wrapping my head around the process properly.

Or does the laser somehow catalyze and set the pigment? I’m fascinated by the possibilities associated with this and if it could be an alternative to a lot of the colored epoxy inlays I do

Yep, the laser is setting the actual powder coat. Powder coats are basically microscopic plastic pellets infused with pigment. In traditional powder coating, the coated object is put in an oven to melt the powder into a solid, even coat. In this case, the laser is doing that job. A cool idea.

+1 to what Matthew said

Wait…im also having trouble understanding the process! could you possibly record a video showing how it works? This would mean that color can be added to the wood!?

Exactly, @Felipeg101 . As @mkmiller6 says, the plastic is melted into the engraved area. Powder outside of that area remains powder, and you clean it up.

There are videos of this process on YouTube but if you want I can make a video next time I make any more of these

These customized valentine gifts were made using the powder coat filled method with a CO2 laser. I attached a small video of how the laser melts the paint as @Felipeg101 asked for it in the past.


PS - Sorry for the delayed post and not being super active in the forum lately. Since I got laid off from work applying for jobs has become a full time job (though unpaid) for me.