6 Facts About Laser Engraving

From jewelry and keychains to cutting boards and clothes, countless products support laser engraving. As the name suggests, laser engraving involves the use of lasers to engrave the surface with a custom design. It doesn’t require ink, paint or pigments. Instead, it leverages the heat-generating properties of lasers. Below are six fun facts about laser engraving and how it works.

#1) Laser Engraving Is Easier and Faster Than Other Engraving Methods

Although there are several ways to engrave objects, laser engraving is often preferred by manufacturing companies because of its speed and simplicity. When compared to other engraving methods, laser engraving is both easier and faster. A laser engraving machine can quickly and precisely engrave objects.

#2) The Laser Point is Focused to Just a Fraction of a Millimeter

Laser engraving machines are equipped with an optical system that’s designed to focus the laser beam onto a small area of the object. Depending on the wavelength used, the laser point may be just a fraction of a millimeter small. Of course, only the area of the object that’s struck by the laser point will be engraved. Therefore, laser engraving allows for the creation of highly intricate designs.

#3) Laser Engraving Only Heats Surfaces

Contrary to what some people believe, lasers themselves don’t produce heat; they only produce heat on the surfaces to which they are exposed. It’s not until the laser strikes the surface of an object that it produces heat.

#4) Lasers and Workpieces Can Be Stationary or Moving

There are several types of laser engraving machines. Some laser engraving machines feature a stationary laser and a moving workpiece. Other laser engraving machines feature a moving laser and a stationary workpiece.

#5) Most Metals, Alloys, Wood and Plastics Can Be Laser Engraved

Laser engraving supports a wide range of materials, including most metals, alloys, wood and plastics. For metals, a special type of high-density laser must be used. Metals are naturally resistant to heat, so conventional lasers won’t work. Instead, a special high-density laser must be used. The high-density laser creates radiation on the surface of the object, thus producing significant heat that melts the object. Wood and plastics, on the other hand, can be engraved using conventional lasers. Wood and plastics aren’t resistant to heat, so they require less energy to engrave than metals and alloys.

#6) Ventilation May Be Required

Laser engraving machines often feature a ventilation mechanism to capture and filter potentially harmful fumes and gases. If the surface of an object is vaporized, it will produce fumes and gases, some of which may be toxic. A ventilation mechanism controls these fumes and gases to ensure a safe working environment.

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