Laser engraving and laser etching are unique applications of laser technology with their distinct profile requirements, benefits and characteristics. Have you ever wondered about the differences between laser engraving and etching? Although all of these terms are used interchangeably, they all refer to a different process when it comes to creating images, markings or designs on a selected material with a laser.
It is essential to update your terminology and understand the practical and technological benefits of these different laser applications. This way, you can determine what setting you should prefer for your next laser project. Here is a list of our main differences that distinguish between these laser methods.
Laser engraving is an ideal method for marking parts and objects where high wear is to be expected. If you engrave a jewelry design with a laser, it will fade quickly if the piece is touched frequently, as the depth is only 0.001 inches. The deepest cuts in laser engraving are ideal for creating permanent markings on a variety of materials. Laser engraving is not appropriate for safety-critical parts since the etching process can structurally damage or damage the engraved part. A Laser-etched markings are less durable and are suitable for surfaces with little wear.
The etching is suitable for small projects and thin materials. On the other hand, the engraving can be used for large materials.
While etching is the art of creating an image using acid that removes metal, engraving is a printing method in which an artist uses a pointed and sharp tool to cut lines on a metal surface.
Physical effort required
Etching requires less effort because the etcher pulls the design through the wax. On the other hand, more physical effort is required in engraving because a tool has to be used to cut the metal.
Laser engraving and engraving are versatile and can be used with many different materials. Laser engraving is suitable for almost any material of your choice, including metals, wood, plastics, leather, glass, acrylic and also soft materials like paper. Laser etching influences the surface of the materials changes the reflectivity and improves the contraction. The best materials for laser etching are anodized aluminum, stainless steel, coated metals, ceramics and polymers. Laser marking is widely used in the industry to come up with permanent markings without causing any damage on the materials.
Effect on materials
The laser engraving creates a conical depression on the material surface. Laser etching creates a high-contrast marking on the surface of the material by evaporating only the surface layer of the material.