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About Laser Engraving

When people hear the word "engraving" they probably think about deeply etched marks that can be felt with your fingertips. Depending on your age, that might convey an image of a plastic pet tag, a silver name bracelet, or the tablets from the ten commandments.

In the modern age, mechanical engraving is performed with machines that use high-speed spinning metal bits to cut into materials like metal, plastic, wood and stone.

Towards the end of the 20th century, as lasers moved from science fiction weapons to commercial applications, laser engraving machines were born. As they evolved, lasers using tubes filled with CO2 gas were able to be used in most environments - only requiring venting.

With the exception of wood, materials that are marked with a laser engraving machine only have a few 1000ths of an inch of material removed. Typical materials for laser engraving are: acrylic, wood, plastic, marble, and glass. Due to the wavelength of the laser light from a CO2 laser, these machines could not mark raw metal, as the light bounced off the material. However, anodized aluminum would show white marking when used with a CO2 laser, so metal products made of anodized aluminum became prolific.

In the early years of the 21st century, experimenting with laser tubes containing different gases led to the development of a new class of lasers - ones that could mark raw metal. Generating shorter wavelengths of light, the metal would absorb the light and the properties of the metal at the surface would be changed, leaving a permanent mark.

Each class of laser has its strengths and limitations. That's why LazrArt uses both types in order to offer its customers the best of both worlds.