As a laser engraver, you are used to creating detailed designs and words on the surface of any material that is compatible with the technology. The use of laser engraving leaves images and marks at high resolution with fine features. The use of laser engraving has made it possible for many people to give gifts to their friends, employees etc.
A laser engraving machine is a versatile tool that works on different materials. However, these materials react differently to the process of engraving.
Laser Engraving On Wood
One of the initial uses of laser engraving was burning designs on wooden surfaces. The good thing with wood is that it requires low wattage to create the designs you want.
To get the best designs though, you need to use hardwood such as mahogany or oak. Softer woods can also produce the results you want, but they won’t be as high resolution as the ones you make on the hardwood. This is because they produce inconsistent depths and can even ignite if you don’t regulate the beam properly.
Hard paper and fiberboard also work well with laser engraving. However, newsprint and linty papers respond like soft wood.
The most common plastic that is used in laser engraving is acrylic. This plastic holds the etch well and gives a high-resolution finish. Other similar hard plastics also produce a good piece.
Softer plastics like styrene might melt around the mark, producing a deformed or softer look. If you are working with such plastics, you need to be careful so that you don’t deform the surface.
The good thing is that special plastics have been developed with the main intention of use for laser engraving. These materials keep the heat from melting any excess material.
Don’t use some plastics such as silicone or vinyl that won’t work. Instead look for another method.
Metals require specific lasers to get the right mark. This means that you need to find a specific laser for this task. You can get the right laser from Needham Coding. For standard lasers, you can opt for coated metals that can perform well. Rather than vaporizing the metal, the laser only vaporizes the surface coating, revealing the underneath metal. Some of the common metals that you can use include anodized aluminum and painted brass.
Glass and Stone
These materials are difficult to engrave using lasers, but with the right technique, you can nail the look you are looking for. When used properly, the technique creates a distinct pattern that produces long-lasting designs. Granite is one of the best stones to use since it produces perfect results when done properly. The durability of granite makes it last for decades. Laser engraved granite can be used for various applications including floor tiles.
You can use sub-surface laser engravers to create designs in glass. This equipment creates a design under the glass surface, often in 3D, creating stunning gifts that other laser techniques cannot create.
Other Material that Can Be Laser Engraved
Laser engraving can also be used on leather, and it produces a burned look. The engraving procedure can also be used on latex rubber to create rubber stamps.
All in all, you need to make sure you choose the best material for a given project. Usually, clients come to you with a project idea and require that you advise them on what kind of material to choose from.
Once you decide on which material to use for the laser engraving project form the client, you can produce the best results. However, you need to understand how various types of materials react before you make the final decision.