Laser engraving metal is a durable and legible way of marking many metal materials. Different processes are used depending on the type of metal being engraved.
For photographic images, the laser reads the tonal qualities of an image much like a printer. Black areas receive maximum laser power, white areas do not get engraved, the shades between the two get a varying amount of power. You can achieve some stunning results where we can engrave photographic quality up to 1200 DPI on many different materials.
3D Laser engraving is a fantastic process that really pushes the boundaries of laser technology.
It works in the same way as laser engraving, but when using the 3D setting, the laser will also adjust the power it applies to the material based on the tonal quality of the drawing (lights and darks). The black areas receive maximum power while the white areas do not get engraved. All of the shades in-between get a varying amount of power giving it a true 3D appearance. The laser then adds sloped edges to the engraving at varying depths. It’s a stunning process.
If the metal has been pre-treated or coated the laser will engrave away this top coating to reveal the metal finish below. Different treated metals will produce different metal engraving effects.
If we are engraving a non-treated metal, the C02 laser will not mark the surface well. In this case we use the compound marking method. A chemical layer is sprayed onto the metal. When the laser comes in contact with the chemical it is fixed to the material resulting in permanent black marks. See examples.