The Many Materials Used for Laser Engraving

Engraving for personalization isn’t anything new. Engraving in general is a process that adds a personal touch to gifts or is used to create unique designs on a product to sell.

Parts of Laser Machines

Laser machines have three basic parts:

  • The laser
  • The control module
  • The surface

Laser engraving must be done via the appropriate machinery for safety and productivity purposes. Sometimes, the product being engraved is moved around while the laser beam engages and engraves, but sometimes the laser moves around while engraving the product. Either way the machine works, it results in the same effect.

How does laser engraving work?

The laser beam itself is a very small, concentrated point of laser power. The high heat created by the beam removes small portions of the surface of the material, which results in the permanent engraving.

The controller of the laser machine can be programmed to cause the laser beam or the material to move around while creating the engraved text or design. The process may be repeated as many times as necessary until the desired effect is complete.  The depth of the engraving is another aspect of the process that can be programmed before engraving ensues.

Safety is Crucial

Even with laser engraving machines that are so precise that the likelihood of any laser light will escape its boundaries, safety precautions still must be adhered to. Most machines are very safe to use with or without a safety barrier, but safety glasses should be worn. If you start a laser engraving business, make sure you are compliant with all the rules and regulations of the industry.

What materials are commonly used for laser engraving?

  • Wood is one of the most commonly engraved materials. With the right programming and wood species, engraved wood items make a nice gift. Hardwood is easiest and best to work with, but softwood can be used as well, as long as you can avoid catching it on fire.
  • Plastic items can be engraved. Cast acrylic plastic is the best material in this category for engraving. Sometimes plastic will melt a little bit around the engraving areas, which causes a slight blurry image, but this is sometimes the desired effect.
  • Stone and Glass are materials that can be engraved, but it’s not easy. You have to be patient and careful when working with these materials. The easiest way to work with stone and glass is by using the sandblasting method, but there are programs designed for these materials.
  • Metal used to be a challenge to engrave, but now it’s easily engraved using the right program and laser engraving machine. The best type of metal to engrave is anodized aluminum.
  • Jewelry is a common material for personalization via engraving. I.D. bracelets, wedding rings, necklaces, and other jewelry pieces can be easily customized.

Laser engraving is faster, more accurate, and leaves behind better engraved results than what traditional engraving could ever do. The fact that it’s easier and more efficient is one of the reasons laser engraving has become so popular. It’s especially efficient and effective today since the whole process can be performed using special programs that are controlled by a computer.

Article contributed by Needham Coding