Laser Etching – How to Get Started

Laser technologies use a high power laser beam to cut or “draw” figures, shapes, text, or pictures into or onto objects. Traditionally, the laser is a CO2-style tube of high-power equipment, but some modern lasers can be diode-based, which is similar to a CD/DVD disc burning drive. Typical lasers are controlled via mirrors, varying magnetic fields, or other mechanical means. Already you can see that there are many variables to how laser marking or cutting will look and feel.

In addition to these variables, based on the intensity of the laser, and therefore, the amount of material removed, there are several classifications of laser technology. The lowest power technique, laser marking, simply discolors the surface of an object. When the beam is intense enough to “slice” into the material, the technique is called laser engraving – for reliefs – or laser cutting – for complete penetration.

Here, we focus on laser etching, which is a subcategory of laser engraving. The main distinction is that the resulting relief is very shallow.

Lasers are used to mark different types of metals, from fine jewelry to machine tool identification. Yet, with recent advancements, such as laser diodes, pulse lasers, and more, this technology is more refined than ever and can mark plastics, leather, rubber, and just about anything solid. This marking is much like printing on a traditional printer but using a high powered beam of light instead of ink.

Join us as we explore this topic, discussing the advantages of laser etching and where you can go to get your items made with this technology. 

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