Laser marking firearm receivers is an effective way to meet ATF firearm ID marking requirements. Lasers mark with great precision and legibility, and can make permanent marks very quickly. Customizing lasers for specific applications can make for an even more efficient process. In this case study, we’ll review the variables that were considered when designing a custom laser for one of our firearms manufacturers.
SCHMIDT is an FFL licensed manufacturer of marking machines [learn more].
Marking Application: Laser Marking Firearm Receivers
A firearm manufacturer makes receivers that require a mark on two sides. On one side, they need a serial number. On the other side they need a 2D data matrix.
The firearm manufacturer’s receivers are made of aluminum.
The serial number and 2D matrix need to be permanent and easy-to-read. The 2D matrix also needs to be scannable by a vision system.
Speed and convenience are also a factor. The manufacturer wants to mark both sides quickly, preferably without having to reposition the receivers by hand.
A 20-watt marking laser provides more than enough power to make a permanent mark on aluminum. It’s also capable of making fine but legible marks, such as tiny, thin text or data matrices. A vision system can be wired into a laser system to test the 2D data matrix and ensure it is reading properly.
There are several options to mark both sides of the receiver. The system could be outfitted with two lasers or a single laser mounted on a movable head that moves from one side of the receiver to the other. However, a fixture set on an indexing table that flips the receiver from one side to the other would be the simplest and most cost-efficient solution.
A sample laser mark on a firearm receiver.
A custom laser marking system was designed for this firearm application. Inside a class I enclosure is a two-position rotating fixture that secures the part and flips it from one side to the other. A vision system camera was wired in and positioned over the marking area to read and verify the 2D data matrix.