Laser engraving involves using a light beam to remove the surface of a material, leaving the surface hollow. The amount of material removed from the workpiece depends on the type of laser marking machine you are using, and the process is controlled to ensure that the hole does not become too deep.
Laser power is important and can lead to deep laser engraving when properly controlled. Deep laser engraving makes it possible to mark metals and plastics, leaving a deep marking that is visible and highly readable. This article will introduce deep laser engraving and how you can apply it to your project.
What is Deep Laser Engraving?
Deep laser engraving is a type of laser engraving that involves a higher penetration of the material’s surface by the light beam produced by a pulsed fiber laser. The process is like conventional laser engraving. However, from the name, deep laser engraving is deeper, takes longer, and has a few other requirements.
Deep laser engraving requires skilled and experienced operators as the process takes a long time. You also need the right marking machine. Pulsed fiber laser markers are the only machine you can use as they are the only ones that can produce the necessary laser power to make deep marks.
· Aim of Deep Laser Engraving
Deep laser engraving enables you to easily mark different types of materials to provide highly visible, readable, and permanent markings. The method commonly applies to logo marking and stamping, especially those used in unfavorable conditions. It is also appropriate and in high demand for products like equipment, jewelry, and sizable industrial equipment.
· What is the Deepest You Can Laser Engrave?
Before you go deep into deep laser engraving, you should know the answer to this question. However, like most things in marking, there is no direct answer to the deepest you can laser engrave a material.
Marking enthusiasts will say this is acceptable as much as the product suffers. However, we urge you to mark with readability and the nature of the material in mind.
· Do I Need to Deep Laser Engrave A Product?
Laser engraving a product should consider the type of material you are working with; deep laser engraving is no exception. No, not all products are compatible with deep laser engraving. For example, deep laser engraving is not the best laser marking process for materials that rust when exposed to wet environments, e.g., iron.
It is also unsuitable for materials with protective coatings such as stainless steel. Stainless steel is a popular iron-based alloy unaffected by corrosion. This adaptable material is strong, lightweight, and has different colors. However, it is unsuitable for deep laser engraving. While stainless steel is markable using laser beams, the process must be performed carefully to protect its ability to withstand corrosion.
Deep laser engraving is unsuitable for stainless steel because it leads to the removal of the outer layer responsible for its corrosion resistance. The outer layer is chromium oxide formed when chromium reacts with oxygen. Due to the formation of the oxide, oxygen cannot access the steel beneath, making it corrosion resistant.
It would be best if you were cautious when marking stainless steel. It is also essential to note that when the outer coating is removed, you will need to use another method such as painting to avoid corrosion. Therefore, unless you have a post-process finishing option for the product, you should consider it.
What You Need To Consider About a Deep Laser Engraver
Deep laser engraving has a few requirements. Below are what you need to consider when getting a new marking machine.
· Laser Power
The laser power is a key factor when selecting a laser for deep laser engraving. Many marking enthusiasts recommend a minimum laser power of 100W for such demanding marking tasks.
The result produced depends on the laser power employed. However, you should also consider the materials you are working with. Engraving metals, for example, usually take more power than plastics. A higher laser power should be used to cut a thicker material to obtain deep and good marks.
The laser power is not the only important factor to watch out for. Aside from that, most marking enthusiasts would look for a deep laser engraved with the most compatible lens. The lens is highly relevant here as it determines the engraving rate because it controls how the laser beam is focused. The right lens should lead to a highly focused beam to attain the intensity needed. With the right lens, the engraving rate increases.
· Material Temperature
Another important factor you need to consider is the material’s temperature. When heated, some metals and nonmetals such as plastics are easily engraved. Therefore, there is an increase in speed and depth of marks.
· Hatch Width
A laser beam travels across a line before switching to a new one. This distance is referred to as the hatch width. There is usually a delay before the laser begins another line. This delay is roughly 0.03 seconds. Although this break appears negligible, it counts.
The time lag of the delay can account for over half of the marking time when the hatch width is less than 1mm. It might only contribute up to 10% for a wider line of 50mm.
· Scanning Speed
Scanning speed refers to the speed of the laser beam when marking a material. A low scanning speed will lead to a slow marking process as the laser beam stays longer in the same section. However, this can lead to deep engraving because of the energy in a particular area increases. Nevertheless, ensure that you are not focusing too much energy on that part, as it can lead to overheating and discoloration.
· Safety Considerations
There are two things one should be aware of when it comes to safety. Laser beam protection is an important requirement for workers regarding necessary rules and regulations. So, you must provide a Class-I laser safety system that meets international standards and regulations.
Also, engraving wears off the exterior layer of your materials, which causes dirt and fumes. Because the process produces many byproducts, you might need a laser fume extractor system to ensure your employees can breathe clean air.
What HeatSign Can Do for You
Deep engraving is a time-consuming procedure with special requirements. At times, these can be a huge challenge. However, what you need is to get a very good deep laser engraver. Talk to our professionals at HeatSign about your demands and achieve your next project without any cause for alarm.
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