Best Practices in Weapons Marking, Etching, and Engraving

Inscribing your name on an object you craft inextricably links your integrity to the quality of the item you create.

Weapon smiths in particular must be men and women of their word, because the reliability of the weapons and ammunition they craft–and by extension, the reliability of the maker–becomes quickly evident the moment a weapon is used.

Brides-Sword-and-ScabbardBlades worn by ancient Samurai hold a series of markings on their tang, usually covered by the sword’s handle. Prior to World War Two, the maker’s signature was rarely just painted; these marks were engraved into the blade at the time of its forging, and hold a variety of information, including the city in which the weapon was completed, the date, certain special words of blessing upon the sword and its wielder, and finally, the signature of the craftsman himself.

stamp-gr-cs_1A more recent invention, firearms were etched or engraved with a “proof mark,” providing the purchaser with a reasonable guarantee of the weapon’s origin and quality. In an era when men and women rarely went about unarmed and unprotected, a firearm with the “Crossed Sceptres & Crown” mark at the base of its gun barrel was a guarantee of personal security for the bearer.

 Nearly 250 years later, the flint still strikes a spark.

Today, knife and firearm manufacturers mark their parts in a variety of ways: logos, numbers for inventory purposes, UID requirements, and to fulfill other needs. The United States government, for instance, is very specific on how firearms need to be identified in the United States by their manufacturer (see US Code Title 27 CFR 479.102).

Historical methods for marking are as varied as the parts. Some parts were cast or molded with logos while others had serials numbers marked with dot peen machines (click here to see how we feel about Dot Peen).

facta-non-verba_mod_web
Laser engraving the motto of the US Navy’s Destroyer Squadron 22:  “Facta non verba”  (“Deeds not words”)

The quickest, most cost-effective method of marking firearms and knives is by using a laser marking system. Certain laser marking machines are perfect for marking any flat or curved metal surface, such as barrels, hammer pins, cover plates, blades, and handles. For tracking and tracing ammunition, laser marking systems like those available from Laser Photonics can micro-engrave a firearm’s firing pin, so that every time the weapon is fired it inscribes a specific mark on the bullet’s shell casing.

(To read more about micro-engraving a firearm’s firing pin, or microstamping for bullet traceability , click here)

Most conventional laser marking systems use carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers, which cannot cut highly-reflective metals because the reflected laser can damage the marking system. Advanced laser systems, like those available from Laser Photonics, are designed specifically to mark reflective metals, such as nickel, stainless steel, copper, brass, titanium, molybdenum, and aluminum.FT_Megacenter_2014_400px (1)

The Megacenter, available from Laser Photonics, is changing the gun industry’s manufacturing processes.

The MegaCenter is one of the newest generations of fiber laser material processing systems for steel parts marking, UID marking, and deep engraving. It is an advanced, compact, industrial grade, fiber laser machine.

EMALS-undergoes-testing-2It’s the same technology the U.S. Navy is testing to launch fighter jets from an aircraft carrier–the MegaCenter’s direct drive magnetic motion system allows for smoother motion, higher acceleration speed of the cutting head, less stress and vibration on the carriage frame, a lower system weight, and decreased maintenance requirements. There simply are no ball screws, belts or gears to deteriorate or break down.

The MegaCenter offers a unique combination of

  • a large marking area – 42″ x 42″
  • a Direct Drive Motion System
  • high peak power
  • ideal beam quality

Manufacturers typically discover that Laser Photonics systems are not only perfect for marking steel and aluminum parts, they take up very little floor space and offer the fastest cycle times, thereby increasing production rate. Overall cost, speed, and quality improve immediately.

Top reasons that gun, knife, and ammo manufacturers choose the MegaCenter

  • Saves money—the MegaCenter consumes less than 5% of the power required by conventional C02 laser systems
  • Cuts highly-reflective metal
  • Adaptive thick-to-thin beam shaping adjusts dynamically to metal thickness
  • Maintenance-free, requires no consumables
  • Industrial-grade reliability: 100,000 hours MTBF

Free Sample Processing
Girl_SamuraiGun, knife, and ammunition manufacturers should contact Laser Photonics regarding a free sample processing and an application report.

Application engineers are ready today to process any sample you provide according to your specifications, and return them along with a detailed application report.

Contact us today, or click here to read more about similar Laser Photonics systems.

 

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