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Publication numberUS20010027965 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/873,722
Publication dateOct 11, 2001
Filing dateJun 4, 2001
Priority dateOct 7, 1999
Also published asUS6660962, US20020190036
Publication number09873722, 873722, US 2001/0027965 A1, US 2001/027965 A1, US 20010027965 A1, US 20010027965A1, US 2001027965 A1, US 2001027965A1, US-A1-20010027965, US-A1-2001027965, US2001/0027965A1, US2001/027965A1, US20010027965 A1, US20010027965A1, US2001027965 A1, US2001027965A1
InventorsMary McCay, C. Sharp, John Bible, John Hopkins, T. McCay, Narendra Dahotre, Frederick Schwartz
Original AssigneeMccay Mary Helen, Sharp C. Michael, Bible John Brice, Hopkins John A., Mccay T. Dwayne, Narendra Dahotre, Schwartz Frederick A.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method for gas assisted energy beam engraving of a target object
US 20010027965 A1
Abstract
This invention relates to a method for gas assisted energy beam engraving of a target object. This invention employs and energy beam, such as a laser beam or an electron beam, to irradiate a target object in the presence of a selected gaseous environment in order to engrave a mark in the object.
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Claims(18)
What is claimed is:
1. A method for gas assisted energy beam engraving of a target object, comprising:
a. placing at least a portion of the target object in a controlled gaseous environment;
b. energizing a source of an energy beam with at least six amperes of current, the energy beam further comprising a beam size sufficient to engrave a mark in the target object to predetermined dimensions;
c. irradiating a desired portion of the target object with the energy beam while the desired portion of the target object being irradiated is present in the controlled gaseous environment; and
d. causing relative movement between the energy beam and the target object during the irradiating, the movement occurring in a predetermined manner to create a desired engraved pattern in the target object.
2. The method of
claim 1
, wherein the gaseous environment comprises reducing gases, inert gases, oxidizing gases, or combinations thereof.
3. The method of
claim 1
, wherein the energy beam is a laser beam.
4. The method of
claim 1
, wherein the target object comprises ceramics, stainless steel, aluminum, and titanium.
5. A method for gas assisted laser engraving of a target object, comprising:
a. placing at least a portion of the target object into a controlled gaseous environment;
b. irradiating at least a portion of the target object in the controlled gaseous environment with a laser beam from a laser, the laser drawing a current level of at least six amperes, the laser beam further comprising sufficient power and beam dimensions to engrave a desired mark in the target object;
c. simultaneously with the irradiating, covering a surface of the target object which is being irradiated with a predetermined cover gas; and
d. simultaneously with the irradiating, causing relative movement between the laser beam and the target object, at a preselected speed to create a desired pattern.
6. The method of
claim 5
, wherein the cover gas in step (c) is ejected from a nozzle in communication with a source of cover gas and the controlled gaseous environment.
7. The method of
claim 6
, further comprising moving the nozzle such that the cover gas is directed at the surface of the target object being irradiated.
8. The method of
claim 5
, wherein the cover gas is heavier than the gas composition which makes up the earth's atmosphere.
9. The method of
claim 5
, wherein step (d) further comprises moving a laser which emits the laser beam.
10. The method of
claim 5
, wherein step (d) further comprises moving the target object.
11. The method of
claim 5
, wherein the cover gas comprises gases selected from the group of gasses consisting of argon, nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, or combinations thereof.
12. The method of
claim 5
, wherein the target object comprises metallic objects and ceramic objects.
13. A system for engraving, comprising:
a. a controlled gaseous environment;
b. a target holder disposed within the controlled gaseous environment, the target holder having sufficient size to support a target object to be engraved in the controlled gaseous environment;
c. an energy beam device drawing at least six amperes, the energy beam device able to generate an energy beam of predetermined dimensions that can be made to irradiate a predetermined portion of the target object;
d. a source of cover gas; and
e. an outlet for the cover gas in communication with the controlled gaseous environment and the source of cover gas.
14. The system of
claim 13
further comprising a controllable energy beam moving device coupled to the energy beam device, the energy beam moving device having a controllable incremental step movement of an approximately 60 micron step size.
15. The system of
claim 13
further comprising a controllable target object moving device.
16. The system of
claim 13
wherein the energy beam device is a laser.
17. The system of
claim 13
wherein the outlet for the cover gas further comprises a nozzle in communication with the source of cover gas, the nozzle further capable of being directed at regions of the target object being irradiated.
18. The system of
claim 13
, wherein the cover gas comprises gases selected from the group consisting of argon, nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and combinations thereof.
Description
REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is a continuation of application Ser. No. 09/413,972, filed on Oct. 7, 1999.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] This invention relates to a method for gas assisted energy beam engraving of a target object. This invention employs an energy beam, such as a laser beam or an electron beam, to irradiate a target object in the presence of a selected gaseous environment in order to engrave a mark in said object.

[0004] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0005] Laser beams have been employed to engrave marks on the surface of target objects. Prior art methods of laser engraving have been carried out in the ambient atmospheric environment.

[0006] Ambient environment laser engraving results in a limited degree of contrast between the engraved mark and the background on which it is placed, the speed with which the mark can be applied, and the number of different materials which can be marked.

[0007] The present invention provides an improved method for energy beam engraving, in which an energy beam, such as a laser beam, is used to engrave a target object in the presence of a selected gaseous environment. This improved method provides enhanced contrast, increased readability, increased marking speeds, and an increased number of materials which can be marked by the energy beam.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The present invention is directed toward a method of gas assisted energy beam engraving of a target object. This invention comprises placing a target object in a controlled gaseous environment, irradiating the target object with an energy beam at a sufficient power level and beam size to engrave a mark in the target object, while the portion of the object being irradiated is present in the controlled gaseous environment. This method further comprises causing relative movement at a preselected speed between the energy beam and the target object during irradiation.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009]FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a first embodiment of the present invention.

[0010]FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a second embodiment of the present invention.

[0011]FIG. 3 is a block diagram of a third embodiment of the present invention.

[0012]FIG. 4 is a block diagram of a preferred embodiment of covering a target with a covering gas, using the method of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0013] In a first embodiment, the present invention comprises placing a target object in a controlled gaseous environment, as shown in block 10 of FIG. 1. In preferred embodiments, the gaseous environment comprises argon, nitrogen, oxygen, or carbon dioxide.

[0014] The invention further comprises irradiating the target object with an energy beam at a sufficient power level and beam size to engrave a mark in the target object while the portion of the object being irradiated is present in the controlled gaseous environment, as shown in block 12 of FIG. 1. In a preferred embodiment, the target object comprises stainless steel, aluminum, or titanium. In another preferred embodiment, the target object is a ceramic.

[0015] In one preferred embodiment, the energy beam is a laser beam. In a preferred embodiment, the laser is emitted from a Model LD-100 Desktop Laser Marker, available from Laser Marking Technologies, LLC of Lafayette, Colorado. In this embodiment, the laser beam is emitted at a current level of six to ten amperes. In another preferred embodiment, the laser is emitted at a current level of at least six amperes. In another preferred embodiment, the energy beam is an electron beam.

[0016] A second embodiment of the present invention is directed toward a method for gas assisted laser engraving of a target object. This embodiment comprises irradiating a target object with a laser beam at a sufficient power level and beam size to engrave a mark in the target object, as shown in block 20 of FIG. 2. This method further comprises covering the surface of the target object which is being irradiated with a selected cover gas, simultaneously while the irradiation is taking place, as shown in block 22 of FIG. 2. The term “cover gas,” as used herein, refers to any reducing gas, inert gas, or oxidizing gas. Oxidizing gases facilitate oxidation reactions. Reducing gases facilitate reduction reactions.

[0017] In a preferred embodiment, the cover gas is ejected from a nozzle. In another preferred embodiment, the cover gas is heavier than the gas composition which makes up the earth's atmosphere.

[0018] This method further comprises causing relative movement at a preselected speed between the laser beam and the target object, such that the engraved mark is a preselected pattern. This relative movement occurs simultaneously with the irradiation, as shown in block 24 of FIG. 2. This relative movement may take place by moving the laser in incremental steps, each step being no greater than 60 microns in size.

[0019] In a preferred embodiment, the relative movement comprises moving a laser which emits the laser beam. In the preferred embodiment using the Model LD-100 Desktop Laser Marker, the laser is moved at a speed of up to three meters per second. The appropriate speed will be a function of the target composition and the desired depth of engraving. In another preferred embodiment, causing relative movement comprises moving the target object.

[0020] A third embodiment of the present invention is depicted in FIG. 3. This embodiment comprises emitting a laser beam from a laser at a sufficient power level and beam size to engrave a target object, as shown in block 30 of FIG. 3. This method further comprises moving the laser in a preselected pattern to produce a preselected mark on the target object, as shown in block 32 of FIG. 3.

[0021] This embodiment of the invention further comprises covering the surface of the target object which is being irradiated with a selected cover gas, as shown in block 34 of FIG. 3. This step is carried out simultaneously with the steps shown in blocks 30 and 32 of FIG. 3.

[0022] In a preferred embodiment, the covering comprises emitting the cover gas from a nozzle, as shown in block 36 of FIG. 4. The covering further comprises moving the nozzle such that the cover gas is directed at the regions of the target object being irradiated, as shown in block 38 of FIG. 4.

[0023] In a preferred embodiment, the cover gas comprises one or more gases selected from the group consisting of argon, nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide.

[0024] The foregoing disclosure and description of the invention are illustrative and explanatory. Various changes in the size, shape, and materials, as well as in the details of the illustrative embodiments may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention.

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US6984803Sep 9, 2004Jan 10, 2006Epilog CorporationLow profile laser assembly
US7370655Jan 17, 2003May 13, 2008Cabot Safety Intermediate CorporationMethod of forming an earplug by laser ablation and an earplug formed thereby
US7793663Dec 19, 2007Sep 14, 20103M Innovative Properties CompanyMethod of forming an earplug by laser ablation and an earplug formed thereby
US20040140292 *Oct 21, 2003Jul 22, 2004Kelley John E.Micro-welded gun barrel coatings
CN100411599CJan 8, 2004Aug 20, 2008卡伯特安全介质股份有限公司Method of forming an earplug by laser ablation and an earplug formed thereby
WO2004066895A1 *Jan 8, 2004Aug 12, 2004Cabot Safety Intermediate CorpA method of forming an earplug by laser ablation and an earplug formed thereby
Classifications
U.S. Classification219/121.69, 219/121.6, 219/121.85, 216/57, 219/121.68, 216/58
International ClassificationC04B41/80, C04B41/00, B44C1/22, B23K26/40, B44B7/00, B23K26/12
Cooperative ClassificationB23K26/123, B23K26/408, B23K26/125, B23K26/402, C04B41/0036, B23K26/365, B23K26/4015, C04B41/80, C04B41/009, C04B41/0045, B44C1/228, B23K26/4005, B44B7/00
European ClassificationB23K26/12D2, B23K26/40B11B12, C04B41/00V, B23K26/40A4, B23K26/40A, B23K26/40A3, B23K26/12D, B23K26/36E, C04B41/00M, C04B41/80, B44B7/00, C04B41/00L, B44C1/22L