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I'm looking at producing some larger fine art pieces printed on metal (there are a few pro vendors which do this). If I wanted to sign these pieces (on the front, in the corner), does anyone know of a type of pen that could be used which won't damage the art and will hold up over time?

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Seems like just the sort of question that one of the pro vendors would be able to answer definitively... Then you can post an answer here for the rest of us. :-) –  Jay Lance Photography Jul 3 '11 at 19:16
this feels like a dupe... trying to find when it was asked before –  cabbey Jul 3 '11 at 20:27
Couldn't you also sign the image digitally before you print it? This seems like the most permanent solution. –  Evan Krall Jul 3 '11 at 21:27
@Evan Krall - OOOOooo good point –  rfusca Jul 3 '11 at 21:37
@Jay I have questions into two vendors, if I get responses I will post them. –  ahockley Jul 3 '11 at 22:18
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4 Answers

We debated this on digital grin once, and came to two conclusions:

  1. Pilot Acid Free Paint Pen
  2. Bic Markit


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+1 The gist of the discussion on dgrin is that it should be acid free and dry quickly, so anything that meets that should be fine. –  rfusca Jul 3 '11 at 21:02
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Answer received from a customer service supervisor at Bay Photo, one of the leading vendors which does metal prints:

...we have tested many types of markers and pens on our metal prints. We have found that the Bic Mark-it works the best. It is permanent and does not rub off.

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I can only get you to 9999 (where I was this morning) -- someone else will have to take you over 10K. –  user2719 Jul 6 '11 at 0:37
@Stan Rogers - I assumed that pleasure... –  ysap Jul 6 '11 at 1:13
@Stan @ysap Thank you both :) –  ahockley Jul 6 '11 at 4:36
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A standard 'Sharpie' permanent marker contains acid, but..

Sharpie lists on their website a few ones that are 'acid free' and for 'archival quality', those should be fine.

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A metal print? A Graver!

Seriously, once reading @rfusca's comment to @cabbey's answer, I am not sure that these fit, but I have Sharpie Industrial Super Permanent Ink pens, that's supposedly non-erasable/unwashable under extreme chemicals and environmental conditions.

UPDATE: According to @rfusca, this specific type is acidic and should not be used to sign a print.

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I had Sharpies as an answer and received an upvote even, but deleted it. Apparently Sharpies contain acid and is bad for the print. –  rfusca Jul 6 '11 at 1:26
@rfusca - Well I kinda assumed that, but the one thing I did not know is whether you named the special industrial type, and whether this specific type is acidic (I tried looking at the Sharpie website, but could not confirm this - hence the disclaimer) –  ysap Jul 6 '11 at 1:30
Sharpie's website specifically lists the ones that are acid free and those arent listed. –  rfusca Jul 6 '11 at 1:36
@rfusca - OK, good to know. –  ysap Jul 6 '11 at 1:36
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