Engraving with a laser is actually a simple process. A laser is merely a tool. Laser can engrave most materials today. The most popular materials in the engraving fields are coated metals, wood, acrylic, glass, leather, marble, plastic, and a host of synthetic materials made specifically for lasers. Although it’s confusing sometimes laser marking is referred to as laser etching. Unlike conventional etching, laser etching simply needs no masks or chemicals.
It was back in the early 1960’s when scientists first discovered, that they could create a light source, focus the energy and have a tool powerful enough to affect certain materials. Laser marking is the favored marking method when permanency or aesthetics are needed. It didn’t take very long for the engraving industry to notice lasers and soon lasers were being used for a wide variety of industrial applications including welding, heat-treating, etching and engraving.
If you think of a laser as a light source similar to a light bulb you’ll know that a light bulb will emit energy out all around it. And the term laser etching is basically just another name for laser engraving.
The ability to laser cut complex profiles can eliminate the need for additional operations, making laser cutting very economical. And laser cutting offers a superior cut-edge quality with parallel sides and with no burrs. Laser cutting adds high precision, reduced contamination or warping, and a good quality finish to industrial cutting applications.
The laser metal cutting option can be added to some of the laser metal laser engraver cutting machines. A laser works very well for the cutting of acrylic (Plexiglas), PETG, thin polycarbonates (Mylar), styrene expanded PVC (Sintra), wood, paper and fabric.
You can easily laser mark in batches of anything from 1 to 10,000. Co2 lasers can provide excellent results for the marking of glass and also provide significant reductions in operating costs and the cost of supplies. Laser marking is also preferred when the part to be marked is too small or has too complex of a shape to be marked with anything but laser etching.
The typical industries that use laser marking include the promotional, engineering and medical industries. To review, laser marking is a process in which material is indelibly marked at very fast speeds (milliseconds per character). The laser marking of glass by Co2 lasers on the fly or while moving can be an excellent addition today for many industrial environments and applications for glass marking.
Also you nay have seen some of the kiosks in malls and specialty stores for laser engraving services because it’s now the most common type of engraving. Quite a few companies today make laser engraving machines, laser marking systems and laser etching equipment.
Laser engraving can be used for most of the jobs currently being carried out by the conventional industrial engravers. Of the many items being engraved by lasers today, iPods and laptops rank among the highest in the consumer marketplace. And the laser engraving of metal uses the most power especially if the metal is of the harder type.