Metal engraving is the process of removing material from a solid metal surface. Manufacturers use high-intensity laser beams from engraving machines to vaporize substrates such as steel, titanium, aluminum, and many other metals. Besides laser engraving, there are other metal engraving methods, their prospects and limitations.
What is metal engraving?
Metal engraving is the process of marking words, logos, numbers, pictures, QR codes and other things on metal. This logo/character processing technique involves the use of cutouts to create lines, letters or designs on a metal surface.
How does metal engraving work?
The metal laser engraving process is usually carried out according to the principle of sublimation. Sublimation transforms a material or substance from a solid state to a gaseous state. Unlike vaporization, sublimation goes directly from solid to gas, ignoring the liquid state.
Relatively high temperatures are required to change it from solid to liquid. The laser beam supplies high energy to the surface it contacts, thereby converting solid matter directly into gas or vapor. The relatively high temperature of the laser beam turns the surface of the material into vapor.
What kind of metal can be engraved?
Different engraving techniques work better on different kinds of metals. However, it must be noted that each metal has unique properties that make it suitable for certain applications. While aluminum is a popular and common metal for engraving, manufacturers also engrave on many other metals. The following are the most common engraved metals:
Anodized or coated aluminum is a great material for trophies and plaques. Machine-grade aluminum is suitable for the manufacture of control panels, industrial applications, and interior and exterior signage. Permanent and high-contrast engravings can be made on all types of aluminum, from raw to aluminum and coated.
This metal works perfectly with a variety of engraving techniques, including laser engraving and rotary engraving machines. Thus, deep aesthetic engraving on aluminium is possible. In addition, laser-engraved aluminum parts are resistant to high temperatures and other surface treatments, such as shot peening.
"Engraved Brass" is a soft and readily available engraved metal. Commercial brass is unusually thick and difficult to carve. For deep engraving, 0.040 to 0.060 inch thick brass is best. This type of metal is best filled with paint for a high quality contrast between the background and sculpted features.
3. Stainless steel
Stainless steel has many benefits, although it is more difficult to carve. It is moisture and corrosion resistant and extremely durable. The collet spindle is the primary tool required for cutting stainless steel. The collection spindle with split collet provides deeper cuts and produces less chips due to its extra rigidity.
Laser engraving is sometimes not suitable for cutting stainless steel because its laser may remove important protective layers. Therefore, manufacturers use laser annealing as an ideal alternative.
4. Silver, Gold and Tin
These are soft metals that are easy to cut. They are ideal materials for making gifts in most engraving applications such as jewelry personalization. Diamond drag engraving provides the best results using these materials. You can make deep cuts in these materials with the same tools you use to cut brass. In most cases, you will not need cutting fluid to cut silver, gold or tin.
Considerations for Laser Engraving on Metal
Laser engraving is widely used. Here are some tips to help you get the best results from the process:
●Be sure your metal is clean before laser engraving. You can also clean metal with a clean cloth and denatured alcohol. Engraving dirty metal is more error prone.
●Apply an appropriate amount of laser engraving spray on the metal, which is enough to prevent the metal from transmitting light. Too much spray may require you to sculpt multiple times.
●When you engrave a substance for the first time, you need to test it. Metals have different engraving settings. This test allows you to discover its optimal laser speed and power settings.
● Use raster settings for all images, graphics and text. Turn on the autofocus settings or focus manually for a better position.
●When the engraving is washed off, please reduce the engraving speed. Slower speeds generate higher thermal energy, allowing for better fusion.