How Engraving Works

laser engraving machine

Laser Engraving Machine in action

Everybody enjoys engraved products. Most of the printing we see on promotional products is done through laser beams. This is what is commonly referred to as laser engraving. Lasers aren’t applied in the printing industry only. Almost every aspect of our daily lives utilises lasers in one way or another. From the manufacturing sector to the retail and even the medical industries, lasers are all over planet earth.

Generation and Utilisation of Energy

Laser is a short form which stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The laser equipment used in the process is usually hooked to a source of energy such as electricity.

The energy passes through the specific material causing its atoms to undergo rapid movement discharging extra energy. The additional energy released as a result of rapid atom movement is mirrored inside the laser equipment to produce a concentrated beam of light which is usually referred to as a laser beam.

Finally, the energy is converted into heat and used to decorate an item. Essentially, the process involves the careful burning of the surface of the item to produce the desired results. Computers are used to calibrate the temperature of the laser beam ensuring that only the area covered is engraved.

Engraving on Special Materials

Engravers don’t use the same chemical to produce a laser beam. We have CO2 lasers and Nd: YAG lasers. The CO2 engravers are the most common and they contain chambers which are filled with carbon dioxide gas. They utilise minimum energy, and they are suitable for printing materials such as fabric, glass, wood, and lightweight plastics.

On the other hand, the Nd: YAG engravers usually contain solid materials referred to as neodymium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet. These are high-energy engraver machines that are used on heavy materials such as high-grade plastics and metals. However, they are not supposed to be used on PVC or any other types of plastics that contain chlorine since the results can be disastrous.