What can you do with Laser Engraver?

Since the appearance of the laser engraver on the market, the art of engraving is now at your fingertips. You can use it to make very original personalized objects without wasting time. With this comparison, you will find the machine that best suits your needs.

How does a laser engraver work?

Laser engravers, regardless of the model, work on the same principle. They must be powered and then connected to a peripheral device: PC, tablet, or smartphone that contains the pattern to be printed via a USB port or Bluetooth technology.

A laser engraver can only print in two dimensions (2D). If you want 3D printing, you can opt for a 3D pen or a 3D printer.

The next step is to place the media to be burned on the device platform. The latter may or may not be mobile.

Finally, set up its anti-light beam bezel then install your laser engraver. Printing time varies from a few seconds to several minutes depending on the type of media and the pattern you want to make.

What are the different types of laser engraving?

The type of laser engraving possible is limited only by the imagination of the sponsor. Here are some examples of the most common uses.

Advertising laser engraving: The laser engraving of advertising media (notebooks, pens, key rings, etc.) offers accessories subtly marked with the company logo.

Industrial laser engraving: All parts of the same series can be numbered and marked by laser engraving, whatever their material.

Personalization laser engraving: Laser engraving also makes it possible to obtain unique objects to offer during an event such as a price reduction for example.

The advantages of laser engraving:

Like ancestral techniques, laser engraving works with wood and other materials by cutting through the material. The advantage of the laser is the application of an indelible coloring, the result of the heating of the material on its surface.

A process that guarantees high-end personalization even on the finest and most fragile objects that can be used as advertising media such as pens or USB keys.

The resulting marking is durable and resistant to the wear and tear of time, as well as to any deterioration linked to its use and its environment.

Thanks to an inkless process, laser marking is an ecological personalization solution. Inks and their variety of colors generate a significant amount of consumables.

Indeed, printing ink is not only pigments but also packaging and cartridges or vehicles, not to mention the additives from the petrochemical industry to improve the quality of printing.

However, on the market, not all inks are created equal and there is no shortage of green alternatives: vegetable-based offset inks made from renewable resources or mineral-based UV inks without solvents.

How to do laser engraving?

Obtaining a laser engraving on support is very simple:

- Create a pattern or text using design software

- Transfer the file to a USB stick or open the file directly from the control software of the engraving machine

- The laser system determines the power and speed be applied based on the information provided by the user

With high power, the laser operates deeper into the selected medium. Similarly, the slowest speeds imply a prolonged contact time between the beam and the material leading to more intense marking. Conversely, fast markings at low power tend to reveal texts and patterns with a light imprint and rather light shades.

The different types of laser engraving machines:

The CO2 laser engraver:

Also called gas laser engraver, it is the most popular model on the market but also the cheapest. It uses carbon dioxide to write on media. Its use is recommended on non-metallic substrates such as leather, fabric, wood, and plastic. Some machines can also make a cutout. You will surely appreciate its high precision, efficiency, and flawless rendering.

Fiber optic laser engraver:

Very powerful, the fiber optic laser engraver is highly recommended for writing on resistant materials such as gold, silver, stainless steel, ceramics, thermoplastic, etc. 

It uses a laser seed to produce intense beams. The particularity of this machine is that it has a small spot. The work done is therefore clean and precise. The MOPA laser engraver is the best-known in this category.

The crystal laser:

This laser machine is renowned for its solidity. It allows you to make engravings on reinforced materials: metal, ceramic, plastic, etc. The lifetime of its diodes varies from 8,000 to 15,000 hours.

What materials can be laser engraved?

Many materials can be engraved with more or less convincing results depending on the compositions and characteristics of the initial project.

Laser engraving on metal:

Raw or anodized, metals are an excellent medium to engrave. Raw material slabs may however require further processing. Metal engraving is most often carried out on aluminum or brass supports.

Laser engraving on wood:

Veneered or solid wood materials are just as suitable for marking by laser engraving with more or less impactful results depending on the species: balsa, oak, beech, poplar, ebony, birch, fruit tree... The softest woods are engraved quickly at low power with rather a light marking, while hardwoods call for higher handling power with a much more contrast effect.

The case of cork: cork strictly speaking is a bark, that comes from the cork oak. Around the tree, the cork forms a homogeneous fabric that is both waterproof and insulating. Properties that have earned it growing interest in the thermal renovation of buildings and long-lasting success in the development of all kinds of accessories: coasters, pinboards, etc. Cork engraving offers particularly sharp and contrasting texts and patterns.

Laser engraving on plastic supports:

The laser engraving of plastic works on several compositions: polycarbonate appreciated for its thermal properties, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), and its high impact resistance or even the very resistant poly methyl methacrylate.

Leather, paper, or glass are also possible supports for personalization by laser engraving. Carrying out a test engraving on a sample remains the best way to ensure the quality of the engraving on a series of supports.

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