Laser engraving is the art of engraving an object using lasers. A machine that engraves is a laser engraver. Laser engraving creates incredibly detailed designs in a material. Although there are other machines called laser cutters, the names laser engraver and laser cutter are simply a function of the major use of the machine. Machines that are used mainly for engraving are laser engravers and those that are mainly for cutting are laser cutters. This article is a laser engraving guide. Hence, it will discuss what laser engraving is, what people can make with laser engravers, the materials for laser engraving, and how to use a laser engraver.
In the past, laser engravers were mainly used by big industrial manufacturing firms and corporations. However, laser engravers are no longer used by these industrial firms alone, but also by smaller firms, designers and even people who consider engraving a hobby.
How does a laser engraver work?
A laser engraving introduction requires knowing how this technology works. A laser beam is focused on a point on the surface of the desired material. The amount of material that is melted and vaporized is predetermined via the controls on the laser engraver. It is simply the reflection of light through mirrors, this light is concentrated into heat. The depth of the engraving is varied by the adjustment of beam intensity. At the end of the process, the change in the surface of the selected material is not just visible but can also felt. After engraving is done, the areas might become black. For people that wish to have a different color, multi-layered materials with different colors are employed.
It is a great method of design and it guarantees consistency in look and design.
What can you make with laser engraving?
Laser engraving is a very versatile technique that opens the door to so many opportunities and designs. The uses and application of this technology are seemingly endless. This computer-controlled machine works autonomously as soon as a design is specified. For manufacturing purposes, laser engravers are used to add serial numbers, logos, images and other customizations to parts.
For most DIY enthusiasts, Laser engravers are like the ultimate plaything. With it, they can customize virtually anything from phone cases to wallets to wedding rings. Employing the relief engraving technique, users can create 3D structures. This is one of the most impressive and creative ways of using laser engraving.
What are laser engraving materials?
There are so many materials that can be engraved on. Some of the most popular materials are; stone, paper, acrylic, glass, wood, leather and so on. It should be noted that not all materials should be engraved. For example, engraving some types of plastics can be dangerous. Polycarbonate materials produce fumes that can quickly corrode the laser engraver and is even very harmful to people. Other materials that are not good for engraving due to their qualities and health hazards include; Lexan, ABS, HDPE/milk bottle plastic, polystyrene foam, Polypropylene foam, epoxy, fiberglass and coated carbon fiber.
What software is used for laser engraving?
As it is computer controlled, the laser engraver can work autonomously. But without software, it is as good as useless. Here are some of the recommended software for a laser engraving machine.
This software is frankly one of the best for engraving. It is the most feature-rich software for engraving. Used by professionals and beginners, Adobe Photoshop is a great tool to enhance the quality of work.
One of the most versatile software programs ever made, AutoCAD helps you work smarter. With its large feature-set and its propensity of saving designs as vector files, this software is great for engraving.
Another software from Adobe, Illustrator is THE graphics software. As a vector graphic software, its plethora of features is arguably the largest. Although it can be a bit more difficult to master compared to other software, Illustrator makes the training process worth it.
What machine should you get for engraving?
In this section of this laser engraving guide, the factors that influence the type of engraving machine to be purchased will be highlighted.
The first thing that should be considered before purchasing a laser engraving machine is the application. What will the machine be used to engrave? For example, small laser engravers are great for people who do not want to engrave materials industrially.
A major advantage of this type of engraver is the cheaper price. The disadvantage is the processing area is quite small.
Another type of engraver is the crowdfunding laser engraver. Although cheaper than others, this type of engraver is usually of poor quality and is a high-risk investment.
Industrial grade engravers offer great quality but are expensive to buy and might even be more expensive to maintain!
Apart from size and application, other factors come into play when choosing a machine for laser engraving. These include:
- a. Safety
- b. Cooling
- c. Power supply
- d. Exhaust air
Multifunctional machines offer a range of functions. From laser cutting to laser etching to laser engraving to 3D printing to CNC carving, these machines are incredibly handy to have. There is no need to buy specific machines for specific jobs when a single machine can do the jobs of others.
With its plethora of features, Dobot MOOZ meets these requirements and more. As a result of its great design, assembling takes only 10 minutes making it portable. It has a 3D printing mold that can mix colors to provide a colorful design. With a repetitive positioning accuracy of up to 0.02mm this machine satisfies requirements. It is safe to work with as it comes with protective shield box and safety glasses. It's compact design means there are no naked wires which ensures safety from electric shock and leakage.