Laser engraving a Leica m6 classic
Old 01-11-2020   #1
Bornosor
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Laser engraving a Leica m6 classic

Hi
Ive recently bought a new Black Leica m6 classic and i want to engrave my signature on the blank top plate with a laser engraving system.
Ive read that the m6 plates are made of zinc and engraving them may cause damage to the paint(?) so i want to know if even a very minimal laser engraving would result in damages to it or not.
Btw i live in Iran and i cant send my camera to leica for an official engraving and im stuck with the shops that laser engrave luxury pens and watches and stuff.
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Old 01-11-2020   #2
giganova
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Musical instrument engravers should be able do it.
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Old 01-11-2020   #3
aizan
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You’d have to talk to a laser engraving shop to find that out!
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Old 01-11-2020   #4
Bornosor
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Ive talked to many engravers. Form watch and pen engravers to plaque makers and they all said they'll do it. But ive read that if the engraving goes beyond the paint and reaches the bare zinc, it will start to corrode from there and ruin the whole top plate. Im not sure how deep a laser engraving is but from the samples they had, it was impossible to feel the engraving with touch, but still i dont know how thick the paint on the leica is and they dont know either.
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Old 01-11-2020   #5
sepiareverb
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It's not paint, it is some metal plating of some sort.

"A bluish-white, lustrous metallic element that is brittle at room temperature but malleable with heating. It is a fairly reactive metal that will combine with Oxygen and other non-metals, and will react with dilute acids to release Hydrogen. "
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Old 01-11-2020   #6
valdas
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Maybe it’s possible to paint signature rather than engrave?
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Old 01-11-2020   #7
Bornosor
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Yes i know its not paint, my bad. Its chrome plating and i guess thats why corrosion will be a problem. While on black paint models it wouldnt be.
Ive also considered printing/painting the signature but every ink and printer i tested was very weak and rubbed off quite quickly. Im considering a very very thin engraving. Without paint filling or anything. Just enough to be seen differently in light
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Old 01-11-2020   #8
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There are spray materials that you can apply to metal. You then laser the material. The heat of the laser bonds the material to the metal base. You then wipe away the unheated spray material.



A brief description-


https://www.epiloglaser.com/how-it-w...marking-spray/
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Old 01-11-2020   #9
BillBlackwell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bornosor View Post
... Ive recently bought a new Black Leica m6 classic and i want to engrave my signature on the blank top plate with a laser engraving system. ...
I wouldn't try it! If reached the bare zinc will oxidize and begin to deteriorate. There have been numerous examples of this "feature" happening on M6 topcovers underneath the (unexposed) chrome plating. Expose the zinc and you're begging for trouble!
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Old 01-11-2020   #10
farlymac
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Maybe you could consider de-chroming it, laser etch, then powder coating. That should seal the surface.


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Old 01-11-2020   #11
Rob-F
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bornosor View Post
Yes i know its not paint, my bad. Its chrome plating and i guess thats why corrosion will be a problem. While on black paint models it wouldnt be.
Yes, paint is what it isn't; but what is it? Is it really chromium? Chromium isn't black, after all. It looks identical to the finish on my Calphalon pots and pans. It's the same dull black finish. Calphalon didn't call it black chrome, they just called it "the calphalon surface" and said it was a very hard surface. And it does last a long time; but in time it wears off, just like Leica's black chrome does.

Do the chemists among us have an idea what "black chrome' is?
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Old 01-11-2020   #12
StanMac
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I don’t know much at all about Leica cameras - I could never afford one so I’ve not read up on them. But the question that comes to my mind is, “Why?”. Having a personal marking on the camera would most certainly devalue it.

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Old 01-12-2020   #13
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I think anything playing with the integrity of the original coating is taking a risk.
Even Leica didn't completely controlled (famous cases of bubbling).
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Old 01-12-2020   #14
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Zinc corrodes, hence why it is used in galvanisation to act as a sacrificial coating for steel. Best left well alone.
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Old 01-12-2020   #15
sepiareverb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farlymac View Post
Maybe you could consider de-chroming it, laser etch, then powder coating. That should seal the surface.


PF
That seems the best option, assuming the powder coat was sturdy enough. You might contact cameraworks UK about paint options for an M6.
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