Even though both of these two processes may seem like they are the same and shares some common factors, they are both however completely different from one another. Understandably, these two terms may confuse people sometimes but it’s important to know that these two terms refer to two completely separate processes that utilize different methods. When it comes to utilizing lasers to make images, markings or design in a particular material chosen specifically for the project, the engraving and etching techniques both have different benefits. Laser engraving and laser etching are unique examples of the applications of laser technology that has their risks, the profile of requirements, applications as well as characteristics.
What is the Difference between Laser Engraving and Etching?
The Way Etching and Engraving Works
Laser engraving makes a cavity through the surface of the material which will leave a cavity that will uncover the writing or image that can be seen with naked eyes and can be touched. On the other hand, laser etching removes the upper layer of the material without needing to cut directly into the material as well as making any openings. Laser engraving is done by utilizing a beam of laser with high intensity and heat to make the surface of the material to vaporize whereas the machines that are used for the laser etching process are much less powerful as it only provides a small percentage of the cutting capabilities.
The Flexibility of the Materials
Laser etching and laser engraving have a wide variety of applications in real life and they may be used by using many kinds of materials. It’s important to know the fact that laser engraving is highly effective on almost every material that you choose to use and that includes materials like plastics, metals, wood, acrylic, leather, glass and even materials that are soft such as paper. The laser etching method may have some effects on the materials’ surface as it may change the enhancing contract and reflectivity of the material. Some of the best materials that are highly recommended for the laser etching process are anodized and bare aluminum, stainless steel, plated metals, ceramics as well as polymers.
The Level of Laser Intensity or Power
The machines that are usually used for the laser engraving process are controlled by a unique software that enables the user to adjust the settings of the laser. In the laser settings, the user may adjust everything about the laser from the movements speed of the laser to the number of times that the laser will pass onto the surface of the material or also known as the frequency of the laser may be adjusted by the user at any time that is needed. The laser experts may also change the power settings of the laser to switch from laser etching to laser engraving as both of these methods have different laser power.