How to use your Cougartron weld cleaner to mark metal


Cougartron’s weld cleaning machines are primarily intended for activities such as rust removal and surface passivation.

However, you can use our weld cleaners for effective marking and etching as well.

But how is this actually possible?

Both processes use electricity and electrolytic liquids to obtain the desired results.

Thus, the difference between electrolytic marking and weld cleaning is subtle and mainly concerns the way metal surface is affected.

You can transform your weld cleaner into a marking machine by slightly adjusting your work process and adding specialized accessories to your equipment.

So, what is the actual difference between the equipment used for cleaning and marking?

Additional equipment required for electrolytic marking

One of the main differentiating points is the use of marking electrodes (heads) instead of weld cleaning fiber brushes.

When it comes to our standard machines, you can easily remove the weld cleaning brush and replace it with a marking head.

In addition, you also have to use specially developed marking acids instead of regular phosphorus-based fluids we use for weld cleaning.

Marking acids are also mild and low-risk but have a slightly different chemical composition that matches the peculiarities of the marking process.

One of the peculiarities is the use of printed marking stencils. Their role is to transfer your design pattern (e.g. logo) to the metal surface by means of electricity and acids.

All necessary items are found within our Basic Etching Set, with the exception of printers and stencils that are independently printed or made to order.


In addition to stainless steel, you can use the Basic etching set to mark other conductive metal surfaces such as aluminum, brass, copper, and even titanium. See our marking fluid range here to find appropriate solutions for various types of metal.

In order to explain the whole process as clearly as possible, we prepared a step-by-step video demonstration which you can find above at the top of the article.

Below is a more detailed overview of the steps to use if you have any doubts regarding the contents of the video.

Note: The Basic Etching set is compatible with InoxFURY, InoxPower, InoxMuscle, Plus, and ProPlus units purchased after November 2019.  

If you bought your ProPlus machine before December 2019, scroll down for detailed instructions on how to utilize the ProPlus Etching Set for effective marking/etching. 

Turn your weld cleaner into a marking machine with 8 easy steps

STEP 1: Prepare and cut the marking felt

This is our standard white marking felt used for its resistance to heat.

cut marking felt

STEP 2: Assemble a marking head by attaching the felt to the carbon blog using the ring

It is important to properly secure the felt so it stays firmly in place during the work process.

assemble marking head

STEP 3: Remove the weld cleaning brush and screw the marking head into the handle

The marking head needs to be screwed into the handle so you have to make sure to remove both the brush tip and the brush wand.

screw marking head into handle

STEP 4: Place the stencil to the desired position and attach it to the surface with adhesive tape

Attaching the stencil to the surface is optional and is only done so it stays in place without you having to hold it yourself.

place marking stencil

STEP 5: Apply liquid to the marking head

Marking acids can be applied by pouring them onto the marking head or you can prepare a container with the acids ready for dipping. This again relates to your personal preference.

apply marking fluid

STEP 6: Attach the clamp to the workpiece

The clamp is used for earthing and improved functionality.

attach earth clamp

STEP 7: Turn on the machine and drag the marking head over the stencil to mark/etch

After releasing the electrical current, position the marking head on top of the stencil and drag it until you cover the entire pattern to be transferred to the metal surface. There is no need to press hard while marking, you just have to ensure a firm contact between the marking head and the stencil (surface).

mark metal over the stencil

STEP 8: Neutralize the surface and wipe it with a clean cloth

Neutralization will remove the acid residue from your workpiece and leave the surface clean.

neutralize surface after marking

How to mark using the Cougartron ProPlus?

Currently, the items contained within the marking set for Cougartron ProPlus are slightly different than those found within the Basic Etching Set. Naturally, this makes the workflow slightly different. Namely, the ProPlus etching set contains a footswitch and two types of etching liquids.

Click below to see the contents of the ProPlus marking set and learn how to properly utilize the items for successful marking results with this machine.


You can also check the video below for a short process demonstration.

NOTE: The ProPlus Etching Set is compatible only with ProPlus units purchased before December 2019. All newer ProPlus machines (sold after November 2019) are compatible with the Basic Etching Set

Need more information?

If you need more information on how to properly use our weld cleaners for marking, please contact us anytime. We are always glad to help.
Tel: 404-591-8920

To learn more about our etching sets and accessories now, please click below: