While both of these two techniques may look like they are the same process, in reality, they are two completely different processes. The thing that makes laser etching and laser engraving different mostly linked with the fact that the effects that each process has on the surface of a certain metals or any other materials that the engraver or etcher might be using and also the level of depth that the cut made by the laser beam goes into and the way that it alters the overall look of the final result. Even though laser engraving and laser etching share a common factor which is both of these methods removes the top layer of materials’ surface that has been marked, the one thing that makes both of these methods different is that the level of the deepness of the cut of the laser in each method differs. Each of these processes has its unique characteristics and applications that are going to determine whether it is suitable to be used for your projects or not.
The Laser Engraving Method
The engraving process made by laser is a type of technique used where a laser beam with a high intensity gradually eradicate the materials’ surface physically to uncover the cavity that can be seen at an eye level. The way this works is that the laser beam will create a high temperature during the process of engraving which consequently will make the uppermost materials’ surface to be easily vaporized. It is a very fast process as the materials’ surface will instantly be vaporized after each pulse. For the engraver to make deeper marks by using the laser engraver, he or she will need to simply repeat the process for a couple of times.
The Laser Etching Method
Laser etching can be considered as the child of the laser engraving and it works when the heat that is produced by the laser beam makes the materials’ surface to be melted. Initially, the laser beam will be adjusted in such a way that it would be able to generate a high amount of heat and the heat generated from the laser adjustment will be used for the etching process. After that, the material that has been melted will then continue to expand and will cause a raised mark. The depth of the cut in the etching process is much lower than that of laser engraving as it only eradicates the materials’ surface somewhere not higher than 0.001 inches. Since laser etching alters the metals’ surface finish, laser etching enhances contrast as well as changes the reflectivity of the metals as well.