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In the past few years, laser etching has gained some serious popularity. Now that you can buy a laser for etching, marking, and engraving online, a lot of people have taken advantage of the ability to do it at home. 

You’ve probably seen videos on youtube of people who have lasers in their garage or small business. While watching the process is satisfying, it may leave you wondering what exactly you’re watching. 

Would you like to know more about laser marking vs etching vs engraving? Keep reading to learn the difference between etching and engraving and marking with a laser. 

What is Laser Etching?

To help you understand etching vs engraving vs marking, we’ll give you the run-down on each before we compare them. They each have their similarities and differences, so we’ll start by explaining laser etching. 

When you etch something with a laser, that laser needs to be at extremely high temperatures. This heat from the laser will cause the surface of the material you’re etching to melt. 

When the melted material melts it then expands, causing a raised mark in the material. This process can be done to bare, adonized, or plated metals, as well as polymers and ceramics.  

What is Laser Engraving?

What is the difference between laser etching and engraving? Like etching, a laser used to engrave also needs to be very hot. 

Instead of melting the material, engraving involves vaporizing the material with the laser. When the material is vaporized, it leaves a cavity in the marked areas. 

For a deeper engraved design, you can pass the laser over the same spot multiple times. Laser engraving can be done on any type of metal, wood, leather, glass, or thermoplastic.

What is Laser Marking?

Laser marking vs engraving and etching requires one main difference. With permanent laser marking, the laser is powered much lower than with laser engraving and etching. 

This low powered laser uses a method called discoloration. The application of this method results in the creation of highly contrasted marks that don’t disrupt the material itself. 

There are four main types of laser marking. These include coloration, annealing, carbon migration, and foaming and can be applied to many materials. 

Laser Etching vs Engraving vs Marking

Now you know the basics of each method. You may be wondering what the best uses of each method are. 

Laser marking applied by machines from places like https://www.lasitlaser.com/ is great for bar codes, UID codes, QR codes, logos, and other identification markings on products.

Laser engraving is really common for serial numbers and jewelry. It’s also a common crafting process used on wood and leather items like wallets. 

Laser etching is popular on ceramic mugs and other metals. It’s also common to use it for acrylic art pieces. 

Final Thoughts 

Now you know the ins and outs of laser etching vs engraving vs marking. Now it’s time to choose the best process for you. 

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