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What is Laser Engraving?

With today's constantly changing approach in the business world, producers and manufacturers face challenges in looking for new ways to create or design products that can attract customers and that will give certain uniqueness on a certain item or product. Laser engraving is one of the approaches or ways that can meet the challenge and give new possibilities.

Engraving gives a personal touch to a certain item or product and has been used more on traditional gifts but nowadays, lots of items can be engraved from wedding rings down to shot glasses.1 With this new approach in engraving, this will surely give a different look and effect to consumerís eyes.

What Is Laser Engraving?

Laser engraving is the process of using laser to place a mark or engrave on any surface of an object.2 This type of method does not need the use of inks and can be very useful for many applications. When compared to other engraving methods, laser engraving has many advantages. 2 The use of laser engraving is usually dependent on the production of a particular design. The methods that can be used for engraving can differ and it is mainly dependent on the type of material and in some cases a different type of laser engraving equipment is needed to make the work done.

Advantages of Laser Engraving

Using laser engraving gives many advantages not just to the consumers but to the producers itself. Aside from being a fast and perfect way of engraving items, here are some basic facts about laser engraving:

Accurate for Engraving

Laser Engraving is the most accurate method of engraving and scratch free process. 3 It does not involve any adjustment or contact with the materials to be engraved.

Flexible Tool for Many Types of Materials

Laser engraving tools are fit for all types of materials such as metal, wood, glass and plastics. 3 It is also flexible to different batch sizes and can be used reasonably for either small volume or mass production. 3

Fast Engraving

Lasers machines give the highest speed on engraving market and it delivers better production and output over traditional systems.3

Types of Products That Can Be Laser Engraved?

There are lots of materials that can be laser engraved and here are some of those on the lists: Acrylic, anodized aluminum, bamboo, carbide, ceramic substrates, cloth, coated metal, composites and crystal. 4

Fabric, fiberglass, foam, glass, Kevlar, laminated plastic, leather, marble and matte board can also be engraved.4

Stones, glasses, metals, plastics and other natural materials can also benefit from the method of laser engraving. Laser engraving is the main way of marking these materials for any purpose.

There are harder materials like stones and glasses that are usually hard to engrave using other methods of engraving. For example, the laser crystal engraving depends mainly on the use of lasers to make images inside of a hard, crystalline material.2

In industrial type of engraving, it has to use large machines in order to mass produce a single laser engraved product while the professional engraving, it relies on using small machines to customize products based on the clientís needs.2 With all these differences, the hardware use in laser engraving is usually similar.2

What Is The Traditional Way of Engraving?

Since the beginning of time, traditional engravings are the way engravings started. Old engravings were commonly made after a painting, watercolor or drawing. 6 The usual subjects during the 18th and 19th century engravings are based on the lives of middle and upper classes of the people during that time. Both engraving and etching methods were used and usually on the same material. 6 With engraving the artists uses burin to carve the lines directly to the product. 6 Burin is either square or elongated diamond-shaped tool that is used for cutting straight lines while other tools like mezzotint rockers, roulettes and burnishes are used for texturing effects.5

In the beginning, the method was only engraving using a hand. With this type of process, the burin is being held by the hand with the handle in the palm of the hand. 5 The point of the tool being used is snapped off to a length just to be longer than the engraver's fingers. The actual engraving on a certain material is done by a combination of pressure and manipulating the work piece, and this type of method is still being used until today.5

Nowadays, modern technology has brought numerous types of methods which mechanically helped improved engraving systems. With the different processes being introduced right now it has greatly lessens the effort in traditional engraving.

References:
1. http://www.articleclick.com/Article/Engraving-Intro/948607%26opt=print%26opt=print
2. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-laser-engraving.htm
3. http://www.troteclaser.com/en-US/solutions/Pages/LaserEngraving.aspx
4. http://www.signwarehouse.com/engravers/info_01.htm
5. http://www.larsonjewelers.com/blog/?p=130
6. http://www.traditionalart.com/engrav.html