Swiss army knife engraving

I bought my daughters two identical swiss army knives for Christmas.  To tell them apart, I wanted to mark them in a permanent way.  I decided to engrave the plastic with the laser to give it some relief, and then fill in the impression with acrylic paint.

The neon green paint was somewhat translucent and the dark red showed through.  Had similar results with the other colors we tried.  The solution was to fill the impression with a metallic silver base coat, which gave it a shiny base, and then reapply the color coat.

I used my own knife as a test case (so I wouldn’t mess up theirs), and here is how it turned out:


The font is a little jagged, especially the small flourishes.  The girls opted for simpler fonts and they came out a bit cleaner.

2 thoughts on “Swiss army knife engraving

  1. Hi, I’m going to be attempting this very same thing today (lasering a Swiss Army Knife). Would you happen to know what speed/power settings you used? One or multiple passes? Thanks for any advice/input you can offer me!

    Deb Kole

  2. Sorry, Deb. I do not recall the exact parameters. It was single pass, somewhere around 80% power with the 40W laser set to 15ma or so. I practiced on my old knife from when I was a teen before blasting the new ones.

    One item of note… after the first test, I raised the power to make it a little deeper, and I regret doing that. The old knife looks much better with shallow lettering, the new ones have a lot more relief and definitely look inset. You just really want enough depth to hold the paint below the surface where you handle it.

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