In the world of printmaking, different methods are used to come up different images from a flat surface, a hard surface and even a metal plate. Laser engraving and laser etching are unique applications of laser technology with their distinct profile requirements, benefits and characteristics. They refer to a different process when it comes to creating images, markings or designs on a selected material with a laser.
Here is a list of our main differences that distinguish between these laser methods.
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.
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.
The etching is suitable for small projects and thin materials. On the other hand, the engraving can be used for large materials.
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.
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.
Although these processes are used for the same purpose, the etching and engraving process is different, each with a special process. The method to be chosen mainly depends on the type of metal to be used, the availability of expertise, the preferred result and the possibility of using a physical or chemical process.