How to Laser Etch

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Laser etching is done with a laser engraving or cutting machine. It is a very simple process to learn and can be done on a variety of materials. Some examples of possible materials include wood, plastics, metals, coated metals, stone, and glass. Laser etching is a very quick process allowing for production at a high rate.

Things You'll Need

  • Laser Engraving or Cutting Machine
  • Computer
  • Image File

Laser Etching Steps

  • Start by making a vector or pixel based artwork. A bmg, jpg, tif, or dxf file will work. The higher the resolution the better your final outcome will be. A vector image allows for much finer details. A vector image can be made with Adobe Illustrator or a similar program. A pixel image can be made with Adobe Photoshop or any similar program. There is also the possibility of finding a picture on the internet that you would like to use, however remember that a picture with poor resolution will not come out well.

  • Find a laser cutter or engraver. Each machine has different setting based on how deep you would like the engraving to be and what type of material you are engraving on. Read the manual of your machine to find the correct settings. Laser etching works with a high power laser that is programed by a computer. The material that you put under the laser to be etched then either melts, burns, vaporizes away, or is blown away by a jet of gas. This process leaves you with a very high quality finish compared to other methods of etching. Because you are using a high powered laser it is very important that you read all the instructions carefully!

  • Allow the machine to run and hopefully you will have a beautiful outcome in minutes...if not, try and try again!

Tips & Warnings

  • Please read the instruction for your machine carefully and use the correct settings.
  • Laser Machines can cause fires.
  • Do not etch materials that can not be used with your machine.

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