For the engraving industry, CO2 lasers, named for the gasses used to create the light source, are the tools of choice. There are a variety of advantages to using a laser over other methods of engraving; first of all, because the tool is a beam of light, there is no product contact, which translates into less chance of product damage or deformation.
It didn't take long for the engraving industry to notice lasers and soon they were being used for a wide variety of industrial applications including welding, heat-treating, etching and engraving.
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It was in the early 1960's when scientists first discovered, that they could create a light source, focus the energy and have a tool powerful enough to affect certain materials.
The name of the light source – LASER, is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Sometimes laser marking is referred to as laser etching; unlike conventional etching, laser etching needs no masks or chemicals.
Laser etching is basically just another name for laser engraving. Almost all materials can be laser engraved/laser marked.
A laser works well for cutting acrylic (Plexiglas), PETG, thin polycarbonates (Mylar), styrene expanded PVC (Sintra), wood, paper and fabric. Laser etching provides a permanent message on an in-process or finished component. Laser cutting adds high precision, reduced contamination or warping, and a quality finish to industrial cutting applications.
Laser etching is the process of marking the material without cutting all the way through using reduced power. It can be done on many materials including slate, granite, stainless steel, leather, arborite, glass, mirrors, and premium hard woods.