How Does Laser Engraving Work: The Ultimate Guide (2021)

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In this article, I’m going to introduce you to the complete technique of engraving focusing especially on laser engraving.

It would possibly look like a complex, in-depth, hyper-worried technique, however, it is in reality very simple.

I’ll speak the fundamentals of Laser Engraving and display to you why they make each present a lot greater special.


What is an engraving?

Engraving is the technique of slicing or carving a layout right into a tough material.


An Incredibly Brief History of Engraving…

Way again when engraving changed into the approach used to begin the complete technique of reasoning as one stone changed into used to mark every other stone. The globule’s oldest engraving, in reality, dates again 500,000 years in the past to a doodle!


Fast ahead to 3000 BC, the Sumerian and the Hittite elite commenced engraving complex seals in stones and valuable gems. Much like today, engraving with inside the historic global changed into used to beautify and layout.


In the 1400s the technique of engraving have become indispensable to recreating files and artwork as portions of wooden had been carved, the raised quantities had been covered in paint or ink and pressed into paper or material to copy an image.


(The Printing Press changed into basically an entire bunch of small engravings organized into sentences and pressed onto pages. Huzzah for Gutenberg!)


Add in more than one predominant technological leap and the discovery of the computer…and engraving moved again into the area of adornment from its predominant stint because of the supply of printing.

So what does engraving appear to be in our contemporary-day global? Let’s communicate approximately lasers…


Aren’t lasers simply something from Star Wars?

Obi and Qui-Gon place the harm on Darth Maul

Like me, whenever someone mentions the word “laser”, my first thought is either a light saber from Star Wars or James Bond’s Q-constructed machine watch.

While the ones movies make lasers appear to be truly cool and perilous weapons (and a few lasers can be dangerous, so be careful), they may be greater frequently than now no longer simply beneficial equipment appearing a gaggle of simple, innocent tasks.

You do not should be 007 to have a laser; we use them each day!

They’re in particular accurate at popping balloons; however, you should not strive for the stuff you see on this video at home. Of unique hobby to us, however, is a laser’s potential to cut, etch, engrave, or mark numerous materials—this is to say, its cap potential to customize and beautify.


But how do they work?


How do lasers work?

Lasers in more than one color

Light Amplification through Stimulated Emission of Radiation is actually what the word laser stands for. Verrrrry simplified…mild is focused time and again to create an effective beam. There are 3 predominant elements to how this works: Concentration, Energy, and Direction.



Light actions in waves—up and down, to speak.

A regular mild has a gaggle of different, various wavelengths (the gap among the peaks of troughs of every wave) which go over every other.

Now, consciousness all the wavelengths so that they do not go over every other, however as a substitute line up flawlessly with every other.

The awareness of mild wave’s cuts out all of the greater waves that go over every other, and it is what makes that cool, enchanting beam of (usually) pink mild. (You can see the complete beam in case you crank up a smoke machine; otherwise, it is simply that little pink dot that cats simply NEED to catch.)

This additional manner that laser mild can come to be extraordinarily effective and may be centered on a unique point.



Chris Woodford has a super explanation:


You’ve in all likelihood observed that in case you circulate your fingers to and fro with inside the tub you could make pretty robust waves. If you preserve transferring your fingers in keeping with the waves you make, the waves get larger and larger. Imagine doing this some million instances with inside the open ocean. Before long, you would have mountainous waves towering over your head! A laser does something comparable with mild waves. It begins off evolved off with susceptible mild and maintains including increasing strength so the mild waves come to be an ever greater focus.

How long does it take to Laser Engrave?

The easy answer: Laser engraving takes about 3-5 minutes.

The real answer:

Laser Engraving can take anywhere from 5 seconds to multiple hours. Quite a few factors need to be taken into account such as the material being engraved, the size of the design, and the power of the laser to name a few.

Ultimately, if you are having an item laser engraved, it is always best to check with the company doing the engraving to see what their timeline is for engraving.

Though the actual process of engraving may be relatively quick, there may be multiple, longer steps involved in preparing the engraving such as rendering the design into the computer software, prepping the material being engraved, and removing any unwanted residue after the engraving process.

What kinds of things can be engraved?

Pretty much anything can be engraved.

  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Glass
  • Plastic
  • Leather
  • Fiber

As long as it’s a hard surface, there’s a good chance it can be engraved.

What has to change across different materials is the power of the light and the number of pulses of light per inch (PPI).

Softer materials like wood or plastic need less power and less PPI for clear marking. Using too much power can burn through the thing you’re trying to customize; using too much or too little PPI can leave an ugly burn.

Tougher materials like steel require a bit more power and PPI in order to leave a mark.

What you want is a balance between power and PPI which are optimized to the characteristics of the material so that the burn comes out clean but also doesn’t damage the integrity of the object you’re engraving.

But there’s also a lot of wiggle room for the power settings of a laser engraver so that you can really hone in on the quality of engraving that works for you.