Will it laser
Will it laser? That’s a really good question and one that we are often asked. First, lets examine the difference between rotary engraving and laser engraving. A rotary engraver etches into the product it is engraving, such as jewelry. A laser engraver can be used to engrave a wider range of materials, but is still limited in some areas. Depending on the material being engraved, a laser will either burn away a small layer of the material or leave a black engraving. Here are the dos and don’ts of a laser.
Our laser can:
- Engrave and cut a variety of wood species, depending on hardness and thickness. Most often we use 1/8″ and 1/4″ baltic birch for wood items. The laser literally burns into the wood and engraves brown.
- Engrave glass. The laser makes small fractures in the glass, which produces a beautiful frosted effect. Glass with a low crystal content works best. The less crystal in the glass, the less likely it is to break during the engraving process.
- Engrave ceramic, slate, tile, marble, and granite. Color of engraving varies according to the type of material.
- Engrave stainless steel, tool steel, brass, chrome, aircraft grade aluminum, pewter, and titanium. On these items, a special chemical is used to insure that the engraving adheres to the metal. Once engraving is completed, the chemical is rinsed away, leaving behind a black engraving.
- Engrave plastics that do not contain PVC. An example is polystyrene plastic.
- Engrave and cut rubber stamps.
- Engrave and cut acrylic. Most often, we work with 1/8″ and 1/4″ clear and colored cast acrylic. When engraving on cast acrylic, the image comes out a beautiful frosted effect.
- Engrave on anodized aluminum. In most instances, the aluminum will be coated in a color. As the laser engraves, the color will be burned away to reveal the underlying aluminum.
- Engrave and cut cork. Engraving on cork is usually black since a layer of the cork is literally burned away by the laser.
- Engrave on cotton, denim, twill, fleece, and leather. Color of engraving will vary by material. Twill and fleece will not change color when engraved. Instead, the engraved image will occur by burning out a very small layer of the fabric. Leather will engrave a shade of brown or black, depending on the shades of the leather. Engraving on leather can often show many variations on the same piece.
- Engrave on leatherette. In this case, the laser burns away a small layer of the leatherette and the revealed color will be black, silver, or gold.
Our laser can not:
- Engrave trophy brass, copper, gold (10k, 14k, 18k, 24k), plated metals (such as silver plated and brass plated), and clear coated metals.
- Cut metal of any kind.
- Cut glass of any kind.
- Etch into metal.
- Engrave on most plastics. The majority of plastic contains PVC. When lasered, chlorine gas is released, which destroys the laser and will kill anyone in the vicinity.
- Engrave on small items, such as the inside of a ring. A rotary engraver would be used for that purpose. If you need the services of a rotary engraver, we can refer you to someone local.
- Engrave on anything larger than 18″ wide by 24″ long. That is the total size of our laser bed.