With the advent of low-cost laser machines, engraving with a laser is now very popular among hobbyists. These machines are easier to use than the other methods I mentioned.
But to engrave metal, you need to invest in a specific laser machine: a fiber laser engraver.
They work on the same principle as other laser types, but use quartz glass to emit the beam. Fiber lasers are more powerful than toasters and require no more energy.
While a fiber laser engraver is highly recommended, you can also use a diode or CO2 laser.
Follow these steps to engrave metal with a laser:
Setting up LaserGRBL
LaserGRBL is a free laser engraving software supported by most laser engravers. So install it on your computer and start sculpting.
Upload the design you want to engrave and make the necessary settings. You have to choose material, size and laser mode, among other parameters.
Put the metal inside the laser engraver
Next, place the metal object in the engraving area. But before that, it is recommended that you clean the metal with isopropyl alcohol and let it dry.
Once the metal is properly positioned, the engraving process begins. Make sure to wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from harmful rays.
A laser engraver will engrave the design in minutes.
How to make engraving stand out on metal?
Engraving metal is different from engraving other materials like wood or acrylic. This is partly because of the hard surface. So you may not get the same contrast or complexity.
But there are several ways to make engraving stand out on metal.
The easiest way to enhance metal engraving is to engrave the surface twice. Run the engraving tip through the design twice. This will result in deeper grooves and better contrast.
Enhance with color
Carving with a tool will not add any color to the metal. But you can add it later to enhance its overall look and feel.
Antique is a popular method of filling engraved designs with color. Many jewelers use this method to beautify their jewelry pieces. You have to apply the antique formula on the metal surface and let it dry for a few hours. It creates a dark and clean look after drying.
Another procedure for adding color and enhancing metal is glazing. You need to enamel the engraved area and let it dry. You will be amazed at the results!