Whether you need to imprint your logo, label parts, or put the vin number, serial number, or part identification number onto your product, then which option is right for you – laser marking, engraving, or cutting?
What difference does it make when you choose one over the other?
While the terminology can be a bit confusing—especially since it seems like laser marking, cutting, and engraving are all doing very similar things—each process is actually quite different, which means some processes may not work as well for your project. This could depend on the nature of your project, but it also largely depends on what material you are working with. For certain materials, engraving is no big deal; however, for others, cutting into the surface of the material can damage the integrity of that material—it could lead to oxidation, which may be a big problem. It’s important to know the differences between each technique so you can make an informed decision about which marking process will be best for your project.
Engraving is one of the most commonly used methods of marking products and materials. If you bought yourself a school ring at graduation, then chances are you already own an example of engraving. During this process, the material is removed in order to create depth. This form of marking is much more permanent and is commonly used on metals and plastics; however, in some cases, removing surface material can lead to oxidization or rusting, which could create an undesired effect—or it may create exactly the effect you had in mind. There are many different methods of engraving, but laser engraving heightens the amount of fine detail that can be included in the engraving process, making it perfect for labeling or engraving serial numbers on small parts, or for including detailed logos, inscriptions, and images that will last.
Laser engraving is a form of laser marking; however, it isn’t the only form available. If you do not want to damage the longevity, integrity, or the appearance of your product by cutting into its surface, then laser marking might be a better option. Instead of cutting into the surface of the material, laser marking enables the surface to stay intact. The heat from the laser redistributes the carbon without damaging the surface, leaving marks. This process can also be achieved in some cases by introducing the surface of the material to various chemicals that will react to cause a color change as well. Because the process features surface disruption merely at the micron level, the final product won’t oxidize or rust, making this process perfect for marking things like surgical tools.
Laser cutting is quite different from engraving and marking. Laser cutting involves sectioning a piece or cutting shapes through materials like metal and plastic. If you want to create that silhouette look or create a design that does more than simply leave a mark on or engrave a mark into the surface of your material, consider laser cutting so you can cut through the surface of your material.
Are you ready to get started?
If you would like to get started with laser engraving or marking of metallic or non-metallic surfaces, or if you want more information about which method will provide the best results for identification, then contact us at HeatSign today.