Laser Etching Aluminum Extrusions: Let’s “Talk Turkey”

Using laser etching to add parts numbers, dates, and parts specifications brings increased organization and efficiency to manufacturing, cataloging, and quality control operations. Such was the case for a Minalex client who came to us for a miniature aluminum extrusion used on a shotgun. To be more precise, a specific type most commonly referred to as a turkey shotgun.

Turkey shotguns are variants of a shotgun that was designed for waterfowl or small game hunters with stocks and barrels that are shortened to make the guns easier to carry and more maneuverable in tight situations.  The short barrels also result in a tighter shot pattern. Gun makers also add pistol grips for a more rifle-like shooting experience and many turkey guns have receivers that are drilled and tapped for optics.

The aluminum part that Minalex produced is affixed directly on the Picatinny rail of a turkey shotgun to enable a secure mounting of optics and accessories. The Picatinny rail, also called a Pic rail, is named after the Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey where it was originally designed and developed. This standard mounting interface enables sights, scopes, and a variety of other accessories to be mounted on a firearm. The consistent groove and ridge dimensions and locations on a Picatinny rail allow users to adjust for varying scope lengths and optimum eye relief for a consistent shooting position. Nowadays, virtually every accessory from optics to foregrips uses a Picatinny rail system.

Our client asked us to manufacture the part in two different sizes to fit a pair of turkey shotguns, 12- and 20-gauge. Both parts, although designed to be used in the different size guns had a very similar profile and appearance, creating potential confusion when selecting the proper part. To minimize any uncertainty, we used our value-added laser etching capabilities to inscribe part numbers that corresponded to each shotgun’s size.

In addition to this example of laser etching for parts identification, companies can also have their logos and names etched onto an extrusion to provide greater brand identification. B2B brands that also have a B2C exposure can create richer brand experiences for consumers by adding laser etched QR and bar codes, even pictures, graphic images, and patterns. Design opportunities are limited only by the imagination.

For a miniature aluminum extrusion that hits the mark, Minalex is always here to help. Contact us here.


Specification Icon


We extrude and supply aluminum profiles up to 3.500 inches (8.89 cm) in diameter. Our aluminum extrusions can have tolerances as tight as +/- 0.001" on one or more dimensions of an extrusion, depending on the shape.

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Alloys Icon


Minalex alloys are sourced in North America and feature a number of series, including alloy 1100, 3003, 6063, 6463 and 6061.

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Capabilities Icon


Our capabilities include Lbs/Ft <= 1.500, kg/m <= 2.2322; Sections >= 0.003 in, >= 0.076 mm; and circle size, <= 3.500 in. <= 8.890 cm.

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Get The Guide To Rapid Prototyping With Aluminum Extrusions

Prototyping - The Aluminum Advantage

Guide Includes:

  • Evaluation & Testing
  • Identifying Problems
  • Choosing the Right Materials
  • Case Studies, and more!

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