Laser Engraving isn’t just Wood Burning…it can be so much more!
What is Laser Engraving?
Laser engraving is very similar to diamond engraving due to the fact that material is actually removed from the item or engraving stock to leave behind the desired engraving. This is done when the material is vaporized using a concentrated laser-beam. In our machine, the controller (computer) of the machine controls where the laser moves as the item remains stationary. This is called an XY laser, suggesting that the controller moves the laser in an XY fashion along the plane of the table. When the material is vaporized through laser engraving it can turn the material a different color, remove a coating to reveal another color underneath, or burn a blackened engraving into the surface. See the figure below for examples.
What Materials can be Laser Engraved?
Most natural materials can be laser engraved. This includes all types of woods, antlers, most polished rocks and stones and other earthy materials. This is due to the fact that the organic material burns really well, and leaves a stunning and unique look behind. Besides organic materials, most plastics and metals can also be laser engraved. Adjusting the power and focus when using a laser allows the technician to ensure the plastic won’t melt under the heat of the beam. Coated metals remove the upper coating to reveal the underlying metal, and non coated materials can be laser engraved by applying a temporary coating to the metal that leaves a black burned look after being struck with the beam.
Laser Engraving on Wood
Wood burning or laser engraving on wood is a great way to provide a rustic, one of a kind look. Due to different wood grains and styles, laser engravings come out different on each item. This creates a unique look that most of our customers love.
When laser engraving on wood, a nose cone is added to the end of the laser to prevent smoke from entering the laser tube and damaging the laser. All types of wood can be laser engraved; however, the engravings show up better on lighter color woods such as cherry, alder or pine. Engravings on dark woods such as walnut tend to be harder to see.
As you can see from the engraving above, soot lines are often left on the edges of the engraving. This can often be removed by rubbing alcohol, or lightly sanded off to clean up the edges of the engraving.
Laser Engraving on Glass
Most people agree that the ability to engrave on glass is the highlight of having a laser engraver. Though this can be done with traditional diamond engraving, the width and design is more easily controlled using a laser engraver. When glass is engraved, the polished surface frosts over to leave a striking and classy image. This provides a great look for Glass Trophies and other awards. Our custom Globe award and Crystal Pyramid trophies have become very popular.
Laser Engraving on Metal
Laser engraving on metal for plaques and other awards has become very popular in the Awards and Personalization Industry. It produces a traditional look, much like diamond engraving. When lasering metal the engraving is made one of two ways:
1. The top coating of a material is removed to expose the underlying material. The engraving is revealed in the color of the underlying material. Usually gold or silver depending on the item.
2. A temporary coating is placed on the exposed metal to burn the engraving into the metal. The coating is then washed off, and leaves a black engraving behind. See the following info graphic.
As you can see, the result when laser engraving in metal is beautiful, and hence why it’s so popular. The engravings come out clean and clear both on engravable stock and on bare metal items.
Most people associate laser engraving with wood burning, and though it does produce beautiful rustic looking plaques and wood engravings, it can be used for so much more. Laser etching on glass and acrylic awards produces beautiful retirement and recognition awards as well as other corporate awards. The versatility of the laser allows most materials to be engraved. If you’re wondering if your item can be laser engraved, leave a comment below or contact Gem Awards for more information.
Laser Engraving in Utah
We’ve been the premier laser engravers in Utah for the past 20 years. Being one of the first engraving shops in Utah to get a laser engraving machine we’ve learned the ins and outs to laser engraving. We don’t just service Utah, but engrave specialty items nationwide. For more details please contact us.