When people talk about laser marking, the picture they have on their mind is most time, 2D laser marking. However, nowadays, 3D laser marking is becoming common in marking 3D pictures, names, etc., on products and materials due to the introduction of depth into marking and the process’s accuracy, precision, and speed. This post will discuss the process, how it works, its advantages, machines you can use, and more of the application industrially.
What is 3D marking?
Before discussing 3D laser marking, it is important to understand the notion of “3D marking” and the difference between 2D markings.
On the one hand, 2D markings have different widths, lengths, and constant depths. Therefore, when you see them at any point, they seem flat. On the other hand, 3D markings have different widths, lengths, and heights. Therefore, it is correct to say that they are 2D markings with varying heights.
Furthermore, the variation in height makes the process suitable for marking products with different shapes, such as products with conical shapes, indentation, etc.
How does 3D Laser Marking work?
The procedure surrounding the use of 3D laser marking depends on the chosen laser technique. The most common process is 3D laser engraving, with the steps below showing how the process works.
· Designing the 3D laser marking
Design the markings as photos or text and model them into a 3D design using computer software such as Adobe and Autodesk. Ensure the proper definition of the dimension for accurate marking.
Choose a 3D laser marking machine depending on materials, speed, power, etc. The general mechanism of a 3D laser machine is to mark the workpiece by plotting some points in the 3D design of the workpiece. Afterward, the machine makes inclusion with high power (dark coloring) and low power (low coloring) depending on the height definition of the design till the marking process is complete.
Post marking process depends on the workpiece and involves cleaning the material surface after engraving. In addition, some machines do not need post marking due to the presence of a fume extractor.
Why is 3D laser marking important?
3D laser marking is important industrially and commercially as 2D laser marking. Below is some importance of the process above the 2D marking.
· It is very flexible
3D laser marking is more flexible as it is suitable for different surfaces and shapes. For example, you can use it to mark products having round, cylindrical, conical, concave/convex, or triangular shapes. This is possible due to the 3D laser machine’s ability to adjust the laser beam position and focal length.
· Ideal for deep engraving
3D laser machines are also more suitable for deep engraving due to their height control. This is unlike 2D laser machines, where a sharp drop in energy can occur as the laser shifts position leading to less marking quality.
· Multi-color Markings
3D laser marking machines are more suitable for multi-color marking. The difference in height and laser intensity leads to an improvement in multi-coloring. This is an important aesthetic parameter that occurs via the process.
· Better personalization
3D laser markings have better aesthetic value than 2D markings. The markings stand out, making them unique and beautiful. Although making the 3D markings might be challenging, designers can let their minds run wide to create a perfect 3D gift.
· Quality marking
3D laser marking is better than other 3D marking systems because it delivers high-quality marking. However, this depends on the type of machine you are working on. If you want to know more about the machine, you can contact us.
Suitable Materials for 3D Laser Marking
Unlike 2D laser marking, not all materials are compatible with 3D laser marking. For example, the process is unsuitable for stone because of its hardness. Below are the best materials for the process
There is the most common 3D laser marking materials. It is well-suitable due to its aesthetics. While the material is burnt during the process, cleaning is easy using water.
This is the second most common material for the process. It is harder than wood. However, it has a good impressive melting point. As a result, it is capable of 3D laser marking.
· Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)
MDF is the perfect material if you are looking for a material you can mark and paint later. It is soft, affordable, and accessible.
Metals such as aluminum, stainless steel, copper, etc., are also compatible with 3D laser marking. They are the second most common 3D laser marking materials.
How to make 3D laser marking easier
3D laser marking might be a challenge. However, you can use the following to make the process easier.
· Buy the right laser machine
Buying the right laser machine is the key to successful 3D laser marking. The machine must be able to interpret color shade and have a quick pulse duration. Furthermore, you have to look at the laser power and other parameters.
· Get the appropriate depth of the engraving
Ensure that you use the appropriate depth. This depends on the material you are using. For example, it is easier to mark wood than other materials. You can ensure you have the appropriate depth by using design software that you perfectly understand.
· The artwork should be perfectly designed
Designing the right marking is the most challenging part of the process. It is time-consuming and brain-racking. Nevertheless, ensure that the design is clear and well-shaded for accurate depth rendition. Common software includes Photoshop, CorelDraw, and Adobe Illustrator.
· Be patient
During the process, you need to be patient. The process’s completion time depends on the laser machine, resolution, and size.
Get the Best Laser Marking Machine and Laser Accessories
Introducing depth into markings provides designers, manufacturers, etc., a way to improve their markings for personalization and identification. However, 3D laser marking is not as simple as 2D marking. This article talked about 3D laser marking machines and how the process works.
Are you looking for a 3D laser marking machine or laser accessories? Please go through our recommended machines or contact us.