Lasers That Can Color Titanium Glock Back Plates

Well color me surprised, but I had no idea a laser could affect the refractive electromagnetic radiation perceived by human photoreceptor cells! (whew, I need a crayon). Today in “the future is now”, I spoke with the owner of Classy Raptor Tactical and 82nd Airborne veteran Mr. Curtis Iovito II (Iovito with an i) via the Glock Elite Facebook page.

To get the killer blue color seen above, Curtis told me he first blasts through the Cerakote, then uses “heat from the laser to put an oxide layer on the titanium. Kinda like a layer of rust.” Makes sense to me, even the traditional blueing of steel uses an oxidation process similar to rust. He said “the thickness of the layer refracts the light wavelengths and you see color”.

Here’s a video. The last 10 seconds really show the blue starting to come through:

 

The laser itself is a Tactical Arms Mark by Control Laser Corporation, and Classy Raptor uses an aerospace grade titanium alloy called 6AL-4V (a mixture of mostly titanium, a little aluminum and vanadium, and tiny amounts of oxygen and iron) which Curtis tells me gives him the best results. Regarding specific colors, he adjusts the frequency of the laser – which took him some time to get right. 

To learn more about the science behind the effect, I engaged in a little light reading and quickly found myself neck-deep in this interesting paper, titled “The influence of process parameters on the laser-induced coloring of titanium”. The paper confirms everything Curtis has told me, including the thickness of the oxide layer influencing the color spectrum, that frequency affects color change, and that red is the most difficult color to achieve in both pigment and consistency.

In fact, the paper gives an indication of what colors are possible, which Curtis agreed was accurate in his experience:

Colors that result from laser-induced oxidation on titanium

 

Classy Raptor is active on both Facebook and Instagram, with nearly 3,000 posts on the latter.

More examples of their work (and the colors!) are shown below.





Corey R. Wardrop

Corey R. Wardrop is the Museum Curator for the Institute of Military Technology in Titusville, Florida where he manages one of the finest, if not the finest, firearms collections in the country. Corey is a former OIF infantry Marine and has worked professionally in the firearms industry for over 20 years. In 2014 he obtained an unrelated Bachelor of Science degree from one of the nation’s leading diploma mills. Through his work at IMT he is currently studying CAD design with an emphasis in reverse engineering rare firearms.
Corey asks forgiveness for his novice-level photographs and insists they are improving dramatically thanks to certified rockstar http://nathan-wyatt.com/. Corey can be reached at coreyrwardrop@gmail.com and always appreciates suggestions for future articles.
For the record, Corey felt incredibly strange writing this bio in the third person.


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  • Giolli Joker

    Cool.
    I’ve seen plenty of examples of flame coloured titanium (on custom knives) but it the first time that I see it with laser.
    Focused heat to get a more defined result, nice.
    I’d like to see it now on S&W Ti cylinders…

    • Bill

      I’m naming my next band “Focused Heat.”

      • Giolli Joker

        Cool! Let me know when your album will be released.

  • Mitch

    Dang… Sure are pretty, but a Glock was never meant to look even the slightest bit so. Kinda like putting Christmas lights on a nuclear sub (even though we did put lights up around xmas time).

    • Some Rabbit

      Yeah, seems ironic. Glock fanboy buys butt ugly gun because he thinks butt ugly = reliable. Then he tries to dress it up anyway. Totally gay.

      • Old Tofu

        yeah , no. you really need to rethink why people buy the guns they do.

  • Bill

    Surprisingly, unlike most of that kind of stuff, that doesn’t make me want to barf.

    I wonder if they could etch “Instant Karma” on the slide of my duty gun.

    • Lew Siffer

      No. If it belongs to your department, you are destroying government property. If it belongs to you, your department will not let you carry it that way. If they do, find another department. Here’s your supervisor testifying at your trial: “No! That was not authorized! I never saw that on his firearm! Yes, we inspected their firearms regularly, but he must have put that on there after the last inspection.”

      • Nashvone

        And then there was the officer whose dust cover inscription was used against him in the trial.

      • Bill

        My overhead has more important things to worry about, like not letting me paint a shark’s mouth on my cruiser or wiring in a second siren speaker so I could blast “Flight of the Valkyries” and “O Fortuna” in stereo on my way to calls.

        I asked the boss, he just rolled his eyes and said “whatever.” And “get a haircut.”

    • Paul Rain

      What about “We only kill…”

      I forgot, making disarming jokes to put irrational citizens at ease are evil and bad.

  • Mr.Buechler

    Nice Simpsons reference.

  • Edeco

    Black unicorn on rainbow background plz.

  • Klaus Von Schmitto

    GTFOOH. I thought I knew a little about col coloring metals. That is pretty awesome.

  • USMC03Vet

    Are Glock end plates the new POGS? They sure look it.

    • Bill

      Does this endplate make my Glock look fat?

    • hkryan

      Wow, Pogs, that kicked up some old memories!

  • Badwolf

    So how much is it?

  • DangerousClown

    Meanwhile, I’ll be buying more ammo to keep my CZs fed.

  • JumpIf NotZero

    aerospace grade titanium alloy called 6AL-4V

    !!WOW!! You mean the single most common Titanium alloy anywhere!?

    Grade5. 6AL4V is just common grade5. It’s WAY harder to get not-grade5 than to just say “I want some titanium” which will likely just get you grade5.

  • El Duderino

    Now your Glock can look like a blacklight poster from Spencer’s Gifts! Awesome!